Taking homeboy Rick Gonzalez out of Bushwick means bright lights and enthusiastic crowds outside the Chelsea West Cinemas for the Monday-night premiere of Illegal Tender, a Latino mob movie in which Gonzalez plays a straight-arrow college kid unaware of his family's drug-dealing past. Old Bushwick habits that will never leave the 28-year-old LaGuardia Arts grad include a love for one's mom and grandmother that trumps any urge to act crazy and play the spoiled movie star. "A lot of my friends from Bushwick came to the premiere, but I sat with my mom and my grandmother," Gonzales told us. "When the movie was over, I asked them if they liked [it] and they told me they liked it a lot."
Illegal Tender, directed by Bronx native Franc. Reyes, is a gangster thriller whose main character is Gonzalez's pistol-packing mother (Wanda De Jesus). Asked if he felt comfortable taking his mom and grandma to such a violent movie, Gonzalez laughed. "I think ultimately the film is really about a mother-son relationship," Gonzalez said. "I wasn't ashamed or worried that my grandmother or mom would feel uncomfortable seeing this film. The Charles Bronson movies we used to watch had more violence than this. They were cool." —Steve Ramos