Even at his young age, Raphael Alejandro is no stranger to performance. From currently starring in the Disney Channel sitcom, Bunk’d, to voice acting on the upcoming Boss Baby sequel, and fantasy drama like Once Upon a Time, Alejandro is well versed in the industry.
The Canadian actor got his start at the young age of 5, starting with commercials, and has been expanding his resume ever since. Even outside of the entertainment industry Alejandro already pursues his passions—he works to expand breast cancer research and is passionate about environmental issues.
The Young Folks caught up with the young actor to find out a little bit more about his upcoming projects, what his experience has been like working during COVID-19, and what he looks for when pursuing a role.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
You’ve been very busy despite COVID-19 and the pandemic. What’s it been like working in the new conditions?
Well, particularly, let’s say in Bunk’d, it was different because everybody was wearing masks and we had to test three times a week. But it was also kind of the same, because we still had the same schedule. We still had to do a table reading, which we would do on zoom now. And then we would still do our run throughs and shooting. So, it was different and the same, at the same time.
In Bunk’d you were passed down the torch from the original cast members from Jessie. Did that present any challenges for you as an actor?
We had so many cast changes and every cast change that we did, we all tried to feel like a family. So, when they passed down the torch to us, it was like we had a whole new family to experience all these crazy adventures and storylines with. Passing down the torch was … it was hard to say goodbye to all the original cast, but when everybody came in, we all tried to be friends and we’re still really good friends to this day.
Bunk’d is currently airing its fifth season. Is there anything exciting or fun that you want to tease or talk about?
Well, something that I think everybody’s going to be really excited about in the new upcoming episodes are the road trip episodes that are gonna happen. Noah, Matteo, and Lou go on a little road trip, I can’t reveal too much about it, but it was really fun, action packed, of course comedy packed, and I think the fans are really gonna like it.
You also have a role in the upcoming Jungle Cruise. What was it like switching from the younger Disney Channel type of environment to this big budget movie production?
I had done like natural acting before. I was on Once Upon a Time for a long time—like three seasons. So, I had worked with like big budget actors and things like that. So, when I went to Disney Channel and then came back to Jungle Cruise, it was like the same transition back to what I used to do in Once Upon a Time and movies such as How to be a Latin Lover. So it was really a smooth transition back.
Jungle Cruise filmed both in Hawaii and Atlanta. Which set did you get to film at?
I got to film in both. I filmed in Hawaii, which was amazing. I got to film a month and a half. And then I was called to shoot in Atlanta in a big studio.
You also worked on the upcoming Boss Baby sequel. How do you like voice work compared to camera work?
I think that there’s a comparison and not a comparison at the same time. It has a comparison because for me, as an actor, whenever I’m in the booth, like, I act out the things. Voice acting is just like acting on screen because you really should like act out and really feel what the character is feeling. Even if your voice is the only thing that’s portrayed on screen. So, it’s really almost the same. I can’t choose from one another because both are amazing. Of course I did on-screen acting first, but voice acting is just as fun.
And is there anything you can tease about your character in this project?
Unfortunately, no. I can’t tease a lot. About all I can say is that he’s a boy in Tabitha’s class. I can’t talk about the storyline, but my character is confidential at the moment.
You’re bilingual—more like multi-lingual. You speak several languages and you’ll be starring in Acapulco, a bilingual comedy. Can you explain what that looks like, a bilingual comedy?
It’s kind of like based off How to be a Latin Lover and in that movie they did speak Spanish because of Eugenio Derbez and Salma Hayek came from like a Latino family. And so, in this TV show, we’re really using Spanish when they’re talking between each other, like as friends and then while they’re—I can’t reveal too much—but while they’re in their workplace, they speak English. And so, it’s really using both cultures to merge into one, to make a family-oriented show and a bilingual one.
And a lot of your work is in the comedy genre. Are there any other genres that you are looking to expand to or you want to take part in?
I mean, I love comedy. I love comedy. Yeah, of course, I do it all the time, but I love drama as well. Like I said, I did drama before I came to the Disney Channel. And you know, it’s not a particular genre I’m interested in. It’s just what might push me to go beyond like my limits as an actor and make me think outside the box for this character and really put myself in the shoes of this character. So, it doesn’t matter if it’s comedy, drama, horror, action, whatever, as long as it really interests me and makes me think outside the box. If I really enjoy the character, I don’t care what genre I’m doing.
You also are involved in some philanthropic work. You’ve helped raise awareness for breast cancer research and you also want to one day become an environmental lawyer. So what inspired those interests for you?
Well, when I was really young, my mom had breast cancer. Because of that we, we fought through it as a family and to this day is just, it just makes our family much stronger as a whole, because we don’t take her or anything for granted. That really inspired me to pursue breast cancer research and breast cancer awareness because it’s for my mom and for all the other people out there that have it.
And you want to be an environmental lawyer?
Well, ever since I was young, I hated litter bugs or littering, and I just hated seeing trash on the road and especially in our beat beaches and coastlines … I just like, I hated it. And when I heard about coral reef bleaching, oil spills, and Sea Marine animals getting trapped in plastic containers or things that people throw away in the ocean—it really inspired me to think about our environment, not just about us.
Jungle Cruise is in theaters July 30, The Boss Baby: Family Business is in theaters July 2. Bunk’d airs on Disney Channel on Fridays at 8/7c.