Who is Jeffrey Wahlberg? Meet Jeffrey Wahlberg, the 23-year-old Dominican-American actor who plays Diego in ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ The Wahlberg family has another big name that branched out of his tree.
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The Wahlberg family still has a big name that branches out of the tree. Jeffrey Wahlberg – son of Jim Wahlberg (this makes Mark and Donnie his uncles) and a Dominican mother (who isnot really known in the media) – brings Dora the Explorer character Diego to life in Dora and the Lost City of Gold this summer. He is an ambitious and enthusiastic 23-year-old whose first major film debut will take place when the film airs on August 9. Wahlberg will star alongside iconic Latino actors such as Danny Trejo and Benicio Del Toro, who have an all-new, slightly more mature but a wondrous and exciting take on one of Nickelodeon’s most popular children’s franchises of all time.
Wahlberg’s acting chops extend far beyond the credit of his uncles or his last name. Last year, the young actor led a cast with Rashida Jones and James Franco in the eerie, emotional drama of the small town Don’t Come Back from the Moon; the actor also starred as the prince in the sci-fi film Future World. His work book shows that he is no stranger to the world of fantasy and action. This, plus a mix of charisma and willingness to jump into the fray of a new project for the first time, is what sets Wahlberg apart as he continues to chop out his own path as an artist.
In Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Wahlberg’s take on Diego, a children’s cartoon character, expands into the story of a teenager who just wants to impress his friends and keep his reputation under control. All this becomes unbalanced when his cousin, Dora (Isabela Moner), leaves the jungle to stay indefinitely.
“I’m so lucky to be able to play him,” Wahlberg said in an interview with Remezcla. He described nephews Dora and Diego as “inseparable” young adventurers who remained best friends until the age of 6 when Diego and his family moved to the city. After Dora’s parents (Eva Longoria and Michael Peña) have gone on a mission to the fictional ruins of Parapata, Dora is sent to stay with her cousin’s family until they return, which is her first time leaving the jungle.
Isabela Moner and Jeff Wahlberg in “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.” Thanks to Paramount Pictures.
“Diego is just insecure and focused on being Mr. Cool, so they’re kind of ruining what he’s got going on at his school.””
In addition to the culture shock, our heroine must repair a strained relationship with Diego. The two cousins, after more than half a decade apart and grew up in very different societies, struggle to rekindle their friendship that they have to work out over the course of the film in order to achieve mutual goals.
“Diego is just insecure and focused on being Mr. Cool, so they’re kind of ruining what he’s got going on at school,” Wahlberg explains.
The two cousins, with their friends, their animal companions and the mysterious newcomer Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), go on an adventure to discover new things and save the day. This is, according to Wahlberg, where we’ll see the real Diego shine again.
“We see him change a lot in the course of this film, and he really begins to learn how he can get in touch with his family and his home in the jungle… it’s all a part of him,” he adds. “It’s where he was raised, so he needs to reconnect with it to move on.” There’s a sense of familiarity in this story for many Latinx people, especially first-class people and immigrants. There is always a sense of disconnect in situations such as Diego’s, either through long distance movements or by assimilating into other cultures.
The film brought the actor to Australia all over the world, which Wahlberg said was an “adventure” and a “thrill” to experience. “I’m a secret natural boy, so I can have fun with flowers and beautiful trees and the sky,” he adds.
Madeleine Madden, Isabela Moner, Jeff Wahlberg and Nicholas Coombe in “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.” Thanks to Paramount Pictures.
But no jungle comes without its difficulties. For all its beauty, surviving in the humid and often unexplored parts of nature can be a bit risky on a live set. “You need to know where you’re going, what you’re leaving,” Wahlberg says. “But it was fun – it’s like an adrenaline rush and it was beautiful.”