November 22, 2000

Mario Lopez Returns to San Diego; reveals future plans

By John Phillip Wylie

Television and screen actor, Mario Lopez doesn't get back to his parent's Chula Vista home as much as he would like, but during a brief 48 hour visit last weekend he participated in a good cause and revealed his latest plans to return for a longer visit to work on an upcoming project.

Best known as "Slater" on the long running series, "Saved by the Bell," for his portrayal of Olympic diver, Greg Louganis in, "Breaking the Surface," and his more recent role as "Bobby Cruz" on the T.V. police series, "Pacific Blue," Lopez made a celebrity appearance at the Weisfield Works Wonders benefit Sunday night at Plaza Bonita.

For several hours Lopez posed for photos, signed autographs and chatted with a horde of adoring fans. Participants paid five dollars to get an early start on their Christmas shopping in a mall which was opened exclusively for their use. They also enjoyed a variety of entertainment and got an opportunity to chat with the personable Hollywood star.

The money raised by the well attended event will be donated to hundreds of local non-profit charities and organizations. After seeing the throngs of people who turned out to meet him last year, it was a no-brainer for event organizers to invite Lopez to return last weekend. And Lopez, who likes to do charity events, especially when they benefit children, was more than happy to attend.

Prior to leaving for the mall appearance he talked about an upcoming project that will bring him home. "In mid-February through early March I'll be working on my first producing venture," Lopez said. "It will be called, "The Courier" and it will be shot right here in San Diego." The project, which Lopez will star in as well as produce, is what he describes as, "an action-thriller piece something like "Three Days of the Condor". He will once again collaborate with director Mark Roberts who he met on the set of the critically acclaimed "Eastside" filmed last year.

In a career that began at age ten, Lopez has made the transition from a child actor to T.V. star and from a T.V. star to a silver screen actor. This latest challenge will tap into his creative and organizational skills as he learns the art of producing. Versatility and drive appear to be the keys to his success. That, and a willingness to take risks and continue evolving.

"I'm glad to be involved in the creative aspect of it. It will allow me to create more opportunities for myself and for my friends. It's a tough business, so the more you learn about the things that happen behind the camera, the more it will put you in front of it." Lopez's long-range plans are to stay as busy as possible. He hopes to continue acting in movies and T.V. series and he'd like to explore some additional producing opportunites.

While he describes his high powered existence in the entertainment industry as "tough" and one that sometimes makes him feel, "spread a little thin," Lopez has no regrets about a successful career that has spanned almost two decades.

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