[eltdf_dropcaps type=”normal” color=”” background_color=””]O[/eltdf_dropcaps]f the celebrated Bichir Nájera brothers, Demián is the middle child. He knew early on that he could do anything in life. He was born August 1 1963 in Mexico City. Son of Maricruz Nájera and Alejandro Bichir, a stage actress and stage director respectively; brother of Bruno and Odiseo, with whom he has shared the Mexican stage on several occasions.
By age 3 he graced the stage at Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts). From a nest of artistic culture, it’s only logical that Demián Bichir would develop as an actor, jumping from character to character; his ingenuity, creativity, commitment and preoccupation for the expanded and common life of his country consolidate his role as a chronicler of time in cinema.
With a childhood spent in theater and television, in Azcapotzalco, Tlatelolco and the State of Mexico, Demián Bichir has worked and learned among the greats, juggling his school performance and his art. At age 13 he was already a member of Mexico’s National Theater Company and at 15 he was performing lectern theater on Canal Once, along with actors like Joaquín Cordero.
On the stage he’s been in several plays under the direction of world-renowned masters such as José Tamayo, Clifford Williams and José Quintero; also starred in Eugene O’Neill’s Ah Wilderness!, Peter Shaffer’s Equus, Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound and The Odd Couple, and Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata.
With his brother Bruno he starred in Rojo amanecer (Red Dawn) (1989) a tale about the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, which gave his career a push. In 1992 he fought for the lead role as Mauricio in Fernando Sariñana’s Hasta morir (Until Death), for which he won the Ariel and a long friendship with the director. In 1994 he moved to Los Angeles. His first part in American television was in the film En el tiempo de las mariposas (In the Tim of the Butterflies) (2001) next to Salma Hayek. He later made his US stage debut with By the Waters of Babylon at the Geffen Play House in Los Angeles.
Epigmenio Ibarra found in Demián his commander Alfonso Carbajal for his soap opera Nada personal (Nothing Personal), a character that later appeared in Demasiado corazón (Too Much Heart). With a performance by Bichir that was nominated for the Ariel, Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (Sex, Modesty and Tears) broke box office records in 1999 and became the highest grossing Mexican film in history at the time.
In the last few years, his face has been known for important film and television productions in Mexico and Hollywood. Demián Bichir has played a town hero in Fuera del cielo (Out of the Sky), Miguel Hidalgo in Hidalgo, and even Fidel Castro in Che (2008); another revolutionary in his filmography is Emiliano Zapata in Zapata: amor en rebeldía (Zapata: Love in Rebellion) (2004). He dressed up in the suit of Esteban Reyes, the Tijuana politician from TV’s Weeds; and into the skin of Carlos Galindo, the gardener in A Better Life (2011) in a performance that got him an Oscar nomination in 2012. After directing him in Machete Kills (2013), Robert Rodríguez recommended him to play Bob The Mexican in The Hateful Eight (2016), Quentin Tarantino’s most recent film.
There’s an intention behind every play and film that Demián Bichir performs, and he’s learned to play in a way that his games become his work. He’s an actor with a talent to behold who is constantly inventing possibilities; he chooses his roles because of the challenge they represent, but also through a set of principles, a political consciousness and endearing care.