Gerard Cordero knew at a young age that he wanted to be an actor.
The Astoria resident grew up watching movies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Ghostbusters” and “Scarface” and thought it would be fun to immerse himself in these worlds. He studied acting at Rockland Community College and after school briefly took classes with acting coach Stuart Barney and Casting Director Workshops.
But Cordero decided to put his passion on hold went into general contracting.
“I did some acting briefly after college, but the timing didn’t work out very well [due] to personal things that I had going on in my life,” he said. “Securing a steady income was more important at that particular time.”
With his tall frame and husky voice, Cordero said he often gets type cast and plays roles such as cops, hit men and has even played a district attorney.
“I guess I wanted to challenge myself,” Cordero said. “I did a lot of physical things – [I played] a wrestler, [mixed] martial artist. I wanted to try something different and see if I could challenge myself. I get to see different situations, the world through someone else’s eyes and how that goes up against what I’ve been through.”
Cordero, who cites Taverna Kyclades and Bohemian Beer Garden as some of his favorite spots in Astoria, also wrote his own web series titled “Demonico.” The series follows Cordero, a man who was left for dead by his employees, and his 12-year-old daughter as they seek revenge. It took him three and a half months to write the nine episodes, which all range from 5 to 10 minutes each.
“The War Within,” a short film that he wrote and shot in Queens, tells the story of a soldier coming back from war in Afghanistan who is suffering from PTSD. Cordero has submitted it to 35 film festivals so far.
He has worked with actors such as Vincent Pastore, Denzel Washington and Frank Vincent. He has also shot a pilot with Method Man, Ice T and Mike Epps. Based on a true story the series is titled “South Side” and Cordero said the series has allowed him to play one of his favorite roles. He plays Detective Jerry Rothman, the man who helped take down the “supreme team,” a gang that sold crack in Jamaica in the 80s.
Cordero said he enjoyed playing a real person and adding some of his own personality into the role. He also enjoyed working with rappers Method Man and Ice T.
“They’re awesome,” he said. “They’re cool guys. The way you see them on TV is pretty much how they are in person.”
The Parmeter Group, Cordero’s agency, has been encouraging him to audition for a larger variety of roles such as father figure characters and comedy roles in shows like “Brooklyn 99.”
“I generally get cast in a lot of action roles, whether it’s the good guy or bad guy, militia, cops, hit men. I get stereotyped,” he said. “Recently, my management team has been pushing me more to go outside of the box.”
Though Cordero loves his job, he acknowledges that it is not always easy.
“This industry is so unstable,” he said. “It’s something that’s not quick. It’s 24/7, seven days a week of grinding. Once that fire goes out you’re better off throwing the towel.”