In the few years Rhenzy Feliz has been acting, he’s worked on the popular series Casual and Teen Wolf, and now is back as Alex in Runaways. All of this has left him with financial security unimaginable when he was a child.
Only 21, those years of struggle are still fresh. Feliz lived in the Bronx until he was about 5, when his single mother moved them to Florida. They lived in sketchy neighborhoods, but she was determined that her son experience the world beyond.
He recalls how she somehow got him into another, better school district, and drove him 35 minutes to school, then an hour to work, and repeated the trip in the afternoon. “She knew that if I just stuck around in that neighborhood, I would never see something better. She made sure I did, and I really appreciate it, and I love her so,” he says, after answering our “7 Questions.”
Have you had any other jobs besides acting?
The only one I could classify as a job was at 18. It was the summer after freshman year. I went with my dad, who is an electrician. He redoes the electric circuit in hotels. We went up to Tampa (from Orlando) and redid this entire hotel. He taught me how to put the lights in and how to put the outlets in the room. And, he paid me $200 a week, which blew my mind. I had no idea that kind of money could be made.
What three items always have to be in your refrigerator or pantry?
Always butter. Anything I make, I put butter in the pan first. Pasta. I need to have some sort of pasta. And eggs. I can put eggs in just about anything.
What movie can you watch repeatedly?
There aren’t many. Whenever I see a movie, I don’t go back. I have rewatched Titanic and Shutter Island. Leonardo DiCaprio might be the running theme. I went to the theater and rewatched Get Out, and I just saw A Star is Born for the second time by myself.
If you could invite anyone (dead or alive) to a dinner, who would you have?
I would love MLK to be around that table. I want to talk to Michael Jackson — I used to idolize him as a kid and I learned all the dances. I would need Leo. We are on a nickname basis right now. He calls me Ren. Christopher Nolan, my favorite director. I love anything he is a part of. I would play a tree in his movie. And Lin-Manual Miranda.
Tell us about a time you were starstruck.
Normally if I am going to an event where I know I’ll see celebrities, I am mentally prepared. The only time I have ever been starstruck I was walking into a bagel store in Santa Monica and out walks Leslie Odom Jr., who played Aaron Burr in Hamilton. We lock eyes for one second, and he knows I know who he is, and I can’t breathe for the next 30 seconds. My friend asked “What’s wrong?” I was freaking out for 20 minutes.
What was your biggest splurge?
Technically, my house.
What is your prized possession?
I guess that would be my car, that’s the one thing that would hurt me the most if someone took my car or my dog — a Sheepo — Lola, who can’t be more than 10 pounds. We paid money; she is here, and not a possession, but part of the family. I got a BMW and I always wanted a nice car. It’s not a Bentley or anything. In my life, we didn’t grow up with too much; I had a Honda Civic from the 1900s.
Season 2 of Marvel’s Runaways is available on Hulu