When Jorge Lendeborg Jr. learned he would be cast in Bumblebee, he didn't hestitate to accept. “I’m a huge fan of the franchise,” the Love, Simon actor tells HOLA! USA. “I really enjoy the movies and the cartoons when they were on Cartoon Network.” He and co-star Hailee Steinfeld, both born in 1996, stepped back in time for this Transformers prequel that also features Justin Theroux and John Cena. The 22-year-old Dominican-born actor had a blast working on a film set in the '80s, but he prefers all things present and future.
And it’s certainly understandable – after the December 21st release of this movie where he plays Memo, he has a jam-packed 2019 with Alita: Battle Angel and another project with John Leguizamo. Keep reading to find out what the Miami native learned from Hailee, how his family will support him no matter the role, and the actors’ footsteps he wants to follow.
Jorge, Hailee and John filmed Bumblebee around California
HOLA! USA: In the movie, you play the best friend to Hailee’s character, Charlie Watson...
Jorge Lendeborg Jr.: “I'm kind of like a stranger to her at the very beginning of the movie, and I'm trying to be more than friends with her the whole time. I'm vying for her attention, and before we get to figure out where I land, there's a big space robot…”
What was it like working with her?
“Dope. She's a total pro. We're the same age, basically, and I feel like I learned a lot from working alongside her – how professional she is and the questions that she would ask the director. For example, she knew what type of makeup worked for her for certain looks. So, that was cool, and that's something I've taken to the last show I just did.”
What was that?
“Critical Thinking. It's a movie directed by John Leguizamo, and it's based on a true story from 1998 in my hometown of Miami. It’s the first inner-city team from the poorest neighborhood of black and Latino kids that win nationals in chess.”
The 22-year-old is about to have a nonstop 2019
Working with John must have been awesome, too…
“Oh yea… I know him as Benny Blanco from the Bronx… when he played really intense roles. His one-man shows are great too. I saw him in Latin History for Morons. It talks about revisionist history, and Latinos and their place in history. Coming from the Dominican Republic, you feel like this country is not really mine. Then you realize that there were people here before Columbus and whatnot. Those people are where at least my heritage is from. So, I'm entitled to feel like America is my country as well.”
Thinking back to growing up in Miami, what was your first role?
“Ninth grade, that's when I first thought about acting, and I never really looked back. My first role was Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol. My family was there, but they didn’t like it that much. I think they always thought I had talent, but maybe not at that specific moment.”
The Dominican-born actor with his Bumblebee co-stars including Dylan O'Brien, Justin Theroux and Angela Bassett at the L.A. premiere
Whose career would you love to emulate?
“It's tricky because I feel like there's never been a career like I want just yet. But something like it... Maybe like a mix between Oscar Isaac and Leonardo DiCaprio."
Bumblebee comes out right before Christmas. How are you spending the holidays?
“I'm going back to the DR with my parents to go visit my grandma. New Year’s… I gotta get back. After that, just go back to my own house and sleep a day and get back into a normal schedule."
With 2018 coming to an end, is there anything you learned about yourself this year?
“I'd say I learned just growing up. I'm still 22, so I'm just maturing, just finding better ways to operate.”