Birthdate: August 30, 1977
Birthplace: McAllen, Texas
Raúl Castillo is an actor and playwright who is part of the latest wave of Mexican American artists in U.S. cinema and theater. After acting in a string of short films, Castillo’s feature debut was in a supporting role in director-producer Matthew Bonifacio’s Amexicano (2007), which premiered at the Tribeca film festival.
Castillo was cast in his first major role in a feature by writer-director Aaron Katz in the nuanced indie film Cold Weather (2010), which premiered at the South by Southwest film festival and was released by IFC Films. After roles in several short films and a supporting role in writer-director Carl Franklin’s drama, Bless Me, Ultima (2012), with Dolores Heredia and Alfred Molina, Castillo was cast by star-writer-producer-director Ricky Gervais in the Netflix-released satire, Special Correspondents (2016), with Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga, Kevin Pollak, Kelly Macdonald, Benjamin Bratt, and America Ferrera.
Castillo’s work as an actor in American indie cinema continued in roles in writer-director Brian Crano’s Permission (2017), with Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Gina Gershon, and Jason Sudeikis; most notably in a co-starring role in writer-director Jeremiah Zagar’s film version of Justin Torres’ novel, We the Animals (2018), premiering at the Sundance film festival; in Steven Soderbergh’s Berlin festival-premiering Unsane (2018), with Claire Foy, Juno Temple, and Amy Irving; and a starring role in the first Chicano superhero movie, El Chicano (2018), with Sal Lopez, Kate Del Castillo, and George Lopez.
Raúl Castillo appeared in his first blockbuster hit in a supporting role in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019), with Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, and Christopher Plummer, and grossing $313 million worldwide. Castillo joined Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell in the IFC-distributed sci-fi drama, Little Fish (2020), and followed with a supporting role in Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man (2021), starring Jason Statham, earning over $100 million worldwide.
Castillo stayed in genre mode with a supporting role in Zack Snyder’s zombie heist movie for Netflix, Army of the Dead (2021), with Dave Bautista, winning the Oscar show’s “Oscars Fan Favorite” contest; Castillo stayed in horror mode for another Netflix-released movie, Night Teeth (2021), and finished a busy 2021 with another genre vehicle, Hulu’s post-apocalyptic thriller, Mother/Android, starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Algee Smith.
Castillo scored a major role in star-writer-director Cooper Raiff’s comedy-drama Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022), with Dakota Johnson and won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. Castillo joined Adam Sandler and LeBron James for Netflix’s basketball drama, Hustle (2022), released theatrically and streaming by Netflix. Later in 2022, Castillo scored the major role opposite Jeremy Pope in writer-director Elegance Bratton’s Marines drama, The Inspection, with McCaul Lombardi, premiering at the Toronto film festival.
Castillo returned to the near-future genre with Breathe (date to be announced), starring Sam Worthington, Milla Jovovich, Quvenzhane Wallis, Common, and Jennifer Hudson, followed by writer-director Roger Ross Williams’ true story biopic, Cassandro (date to be announced), with Castillo playing opposite Gael Garcia Bernal.
The diverse theater career for Raúl Castillo spans over two decades, including his own plays Knives and Other Sharp Objects (2009) and Between You, Me, and the Lampshade (2015), as well as performances for The Public Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater, Signature Theatre Company, and INTAR Theater, one of the oldest Hispanic theater companies in the U.S.
Raúl Castillo was born and raised in McAllen, Texas, by parents Raúl Castillo Sr. and Adela “Adelita” Rodriguez de Castillo, emigrants to the U.S. from nearby Reynosa, across the border from McAllen in the northeast Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Castillo has two siblings, a younger sister and an older brother Tony, who encouraged Castillo’s interests in acting and music. Castillo formed a punk band during his high school years at McAllen High School, where he was also involved in the theater department.
After graduating, Castillo attended Boston University College of Fine Arts, earning a degree in theater, emphasizing playwriting, where he wrote and produced his first plays. After graduation, Castillo performed on stage at the Austin-based Nushank Theater Collective and moved to New York to pursue acting and a theater career. Castillo’s height is 5’ 9”.
AKA: Raúl Castillo’s unfortunate childhood nickname was “Gordo,” since he was overweight.