The 23-year-old actor tells TooFab about the best advice his Oscar-nominated uncle has ever given him.
During an interview about Nickelodeon's live-action adaption of the wildly successful animated series, TooFab got the opportunity to ask the 23-year-old Miami native about the best advice his Oscar-nominated uncle has ever given him.
"In terms of acting, he hasn't really given me any," Jeff told us. "But in terms of business, just to never get comfortable and never lose my hustle."
"It's crazy," he added, looking at co-star Isabela Moner, who plays Dora. "Isabela actually worked with him twice, so when I met her, in a lot of ways, it felt like we knew each other already. It felt like she was my cousin."
But that wasn't the only "full-circle" moment Jeff experienced while working on the film; he watched "Dora the Explorer" as a kid and said getting to play the beloved character's equally adventurous cousin was a dream come true.
"It came full circle. It's crazy," he said. "For me, Dora was such a part of my childhood. And even shooting the movie, I feel like I really, in a lot of ways, got in touch with my inner child."
Jeff said his longtime best friend even flew with him to Australia, where the movie was shot, to spend the duration of filming with him there.
"[He] stayed with me and came to set for weeks, and it was like, 'Yo, this is crazy! It's full circle. It's weird,'" Jeff gushed.
Isabela, on the other hand, brought her mom, who kind of became like Jeff's mom, which isn't too far off from the pair's familial relationship in the movie: Dora goes off to live with her cousin and his family in San Diego after her parents (Eva Longoria and Michael Peña) come to the realization that their teenage daughter is better equipped to handle encounters with wild animals in the jungle than she is with kids her own age.
Peruvian-American Isabela, 18, said she also "grew up with Dora."
"I had the haircut growing up, so I was pretty much asking for people to call me Dora," she told us.
"You've been manifesting this for years!" Jeff interjected. She agreed, adding that the similarities actually caused her a bit of grief as a kid. Now, she's getting the last laugh.
"Everyone thought that it was an insult or something, or like they were teasing me or something, but now, I'm getting paid for it!" she said.
In the film, Eva Longoria plays Elena, Dora's mom. Isabela told us getting to work with the Tejano actress made the experience that much more unforgettable for her.
"She's always been this entity to me growing up," Isabela explained. "I'd always seen her on TV, and I knew who she was, and people said I looked like her. Again, like, full circle. I got to work with her! She's amazing. She's everything you'd imagine and more."
"Really, really fun lady and great mother and multitasker. Definitely," she added. "Showed me how to multitask; still can't do it, though!"
"Dora and the Lost City of Gold" hits theaters August 9.
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