He also pays homage to diversity. His mother is Colombian, his father is Puerto Rican, his wife is Jewish and their kids go to a Protestant school. "We celebrate everything, even Ramadan," he says. His shows are rich with oral storytelling in the tradition of the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs. "It's fascinating that I'm going back to ancient things I had no idea I was tapping into," says Leguizamo, who has an Incan-symbol tattoo on his right arm.
He taps even deeper when he acts, says director Furman: "He has no fear about putting himself out there in a raw, unabridged way." As star of Furman's 2007 The Take, Leguizamo literally trashed the set during a scene in which the director challenged him to go for it, no holds barred. As requested, John "lost control emotionally. The pain was so deep it was evident," Furman recalls. "And as a result of being deep in the scene, he accidentally hurt himself performing — when he kicked a television."
But the most powerful scenes now playing out in Leguizamo's life are not on stage or screen. They're at home. "That's the big break in the cycle of things," he says. "I feel very close to my children. I'm a modern father, you know, one who changes diapers, feeds them, cooks for them. It's a much better life for a man to be connected with his children."
The Ghetto Klown has grown up.