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Diego Boneta

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Center Stage

By Carita Rizzo

Photography by Kurt Iswarienko

03.26.18

Actor Diego Boneta opens up about the role of a lifetime—portraying Latin legend Luis Miguel in the highly anticipated autobiographical series, "Luis Miguel: My Story."

Looking out over a crowd of 50,000, Diego Boneta couldn’t help but flash back to his youth. The Mexico City-born singer-actor, whose credits include TV’s Pretty Little Liars and Scream Queens, and film Rock of Ages, shot to fame at 12, when he beat out 40,000 kids for a spot on Mexico’s first televised talent competition, leading him to a role in Mexican soap Rebelde, and a world tour opening for Latin band RBD in venues like the Los Angeles Coliseum. Though he now stood there as a character—portraying legendary Mexican singer Luis Miguel—the return to the stage was not lost on the 28-year-old. “People say things happen for a reason, but I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before,” he says. Call it kismet—Boneta certainly does. “The first song that I ever sang on national television, when I was 12, was one of Luis Miguel’s songs.” When approached by producer Mark Burnett about an autobiographical series depicting Miguel’s life, the actor poured everything he had into becoming his childhood hero. “This is by far the biggest challenge I’ve ever had,” says Boneta. He recorded the soundtrack in San Diego with Kiko Cibrian, the S.D.-based musician-producer who has produced many Luis Miguel albums, including Boneta’s favorite, Aries. The biggest challenge? “The [songs] have to be right on [to match Miguel] in register and tone, so I couldn’t drink any alcohol and I had to eat at certain times,” he shares. “But I was working on my dream project. It doesn’t get any better than that.” Boneta still credits Rock of Ages co-star Tom Cruise for his work ethic. “He says if you have a movie that’s shooting in a year, take 45 minutes a day to [prep]. That’s really how I approached this—except 45 minutes turned into my whole day, because that was all I could think about.” The work paid off, with Miguel himself giving the actor props for authenticity. “Singing in front of thousands of people… there’s no other feeling like it,” says Boneta. “Miguel said, ‘I’m happy that there’s someone portraying me that knows what that feeling is like, because you can’t act that.’ It’s the best feeling in the world.”