Talk about sibling rivalry. Brothers Sebastian and Chris Martinez of Secaucus could try to “one-up” each other into the night about who has the insurance commercial, who has the TV series guest role, who has the movie part, or who has the Christmas Spectacular road tour.
But the boys, and the broader Martinez family; mom and dad, Yanina and Pedro, are instead support systems for each other, making sure that Sebastian and Chris are where they need to be on a given day, whether it be at an audition, practice, or just at home, tending to their homework for school.
It is a total team effort, and one that has resulted in positive challenges, rave reviews, and immense satisfaction for all involved.
“I think it opens up a world which they wouldn’t have experienced – and that’s invaluable.” – Pedro Martinez
Sebastian, 13, has had great success at a very young age, guest starring in two pilots for CBS, “A Gifted Man” and “Trooper,” as well as making a guest star appearance on the network’s 2013 police series “Golden Boy.” His movie resume is impressive as well, with roles in “200 Cartas” and as the young John Leguizamo in the actor’s biographical feature “Fugly,” scheduled for a late 2013 release.
Sebastian’s experience also includes several radio and TV commercials.
At only 9, Chris has already guest starred in two CBS series, “Blue Bloods” and “NYC 22.” In 2011 he was cast as “Little Man Pete” in a major online campaign for Mass Mutual insurance. That year he also joined the cast of the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular Tour” in the role of “Ben,” and went on to do more than 40 road shows. Additionally, he has done voiceovers for Nickelodeon, appeared in an online ad campaign for Zyrtec allergy medication, and did a print ad for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The brothers generally work on different projects, but Sebastian and Chris have also had a joint venture, hosting a website called iKidsNow.com, where they appear as entertainment reporters. Their list of celebrity interviews includes Zendaya, Selena Gomez, and Ryan Seacrest.
Runs in the family
Pedro Martinez, a cameraman for Telemundo network in New York, thinks his sons’ proclivity for the arts may just be hereditary.
“I went to the High School for the Performing Arts [in New York],” he said. “It didn’t pan out for me.” Pedro did have a couple of stints as an extra on the soap opera “One Life to Live,” but aside from that, he said, “Nothing ever happened.” He is content, however, on living vicariously through his sons’ performing careers. “I look at it as though I prepared for them,” Martinez said. “And all their accomplishments I relish.”
Sometimes the boy’s successes can be taxing though, with as many as three- to four-times-a-week trips into the city for auditions. Sometimes Pedro and wife Yanina will split up into pairs with the boys to get them where they need to be.
When Chris was selected for the Christmas Spectacular road show, his partner was mom, and they together endured 4 a.m. wake up calls each day for several weeks. Not only that, mom had to watch as her little boy was strapped to a harness and hurtled through the air on pulleys as part of his role.
“Having gone through it myself to a certain degree, I think it opens up a world which they wouldn’t have experienced – and that’s invaluable,” said Mr. Martinez of his sons and the theater arts. “Each child should take an acting class. That allows them to discover themselves, and it allows them to experience different emotions and express themselves.”
As long as boys are happy
But the Martinezes agreed that they will not be the parents who push their children for stardom at any cost.
“We’re willing to go as far as they’re willing to go,” Pedro Martinez said. “The day they don’t want to do it anymore – the day they’re bored with it – we’re done.”
So far that’s not even close to being the case, according to the boys.
“It’ great,” said Chris. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Movie premiere this weekend
The big news for the family right now is Sebastian’s appearance in the motion picture “Tio Papi” which opens Friday, Sept. 6, at select theaters nationwide. In the film, Sebastian plays one of the major roles, and is actually seen on the movie’s promotional poster. The movie stars Kelly McGillis of “Top Gun” and “Witness” fame.
It opens locally at the Clifton Commons AMC Theater on Route 3, the AMC Theater at the Cherry Hill Mall, and AMC Theater in Times Square in New York City.
The boys are represented by Cunningham Escott Slevin and Doherty of New York and Los Angeles and managed by Bercy Talent Management of Marlboro.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.