Are the days of Latinos in entertainment changing their given names to appeal to a broader audience long gone?
That's what it looks like now that former "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen has dropped his stage name for birth name Carlos Estevez for Robert Rodriguez's Latino-centric new action film "Machete Kills."
The film is second in a series after the 2010 film "Machete" starring Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez. In "Machete Kills," Trejo returns as ex-Federal agent Machete, recruited by the president of the United States, played by Charlie Sheen, asked to go on a mission to take down a madman revolutionary and eccentric billionaire arms dealer, played by Mel Gibson, who has come up with a plan to spread war across the world.
This second installment will star Sofía Vergara, Demián Bichir, Antonio Banderas, Zoe Saldaña, Edward James Olmos, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alexa Vega, and Lady Gaga.
According to Charlie Sheen's representative, it was Sheen's idea to use his birth name Carlos Estevez for the film. However, there's no confirmation on what spurred the decision or whether Sheen will stick to Estevez from now on.
Some call the change ironic in light of comments last year by Sheen about his heritage. "I don't wake up feeling Latino. I'm a white guy in America, I was born in New York and grew up in Malibu," he said in a 2012 interview with Univision.
"People are either going to see Charlie Sheen's move as pandering or as a smart career move considering the film's audience. I see it as him integrating himself into Latino culture," said Gabriel Reyes, president of Reyes Entertainment, a public relations and marketing agency.
"I'm sure he meant what he said in his interview with Univision, but that doesn't mean he's not Hispanic, so if he wants to acknowledge it now, I applaud that."
The film's Twitter page has also re-tweeted articles about Sheen changing his name to Estevez for the movie.
The movie's Facebook page posted a promotional photo of Sheen as Carlos Estevez with a caption that reads, "Call him Carlos. Charlie Sheen is going FULL Latino in Machete Kills. SHARE this to introduce Carlos Estevez to your friends."
On Facebook, Jessica Chrisman posted: "I love that he is using his real name," while Sasha Estella Videz disagreed, posting, "So, he's finally getting in touch with his Latin roots... Sorry, 'Carlos' you should've stuck with your brother Emilio who didn't deny his roots to get more work."
Michelle Herrera Mulligan, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for Latinas, said: "Hispanics might feel that his move might be a bit opportunistic on his part because he had many chances to embrace his Latino identity in the past. Especially since Sheen's brother, Emilio Estevez, has embraced his Hispanic identity from the very beginning."
The Sheen/Estevez family has been at odds over their identity over the years.
In a 2003 "Inside the Actors Studio" interview, Martin Sheen talked about why he dropped his birth name, Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez, but how he was always proud of his Hispanic heritage. He said he felt a "hesitation whenever he would give his name over the phone for a job or apartment" and by the time he would get there in person, "it was always gone" so he made up the name Martin Sheen.
"It's still Estevez officially. I never changed it. I never will. It's on my driver's license and passport and everything," Martin Sheen said to James Lipton. "In fact, one of my great regrets is that I didn't keep my name as it was given to me."
Martin passed on "Estevez" to his four children: Emilio, Ramón, Renée,and Carlos Estevez (Charlie Sheen).
Martin wrote a memoir with his son, Emilio, "Along the Way," covering the family's roots in Spain and their relationship as father and son.
"I chose to stay with my family name because, first of all, Emilio Sheen looks stupid. Right? And it's just not who I am, man," Emilio Estevez said in an interview with Latina magazine. "The Latino community has always been very supportive of that choice and very proud of me that I chose to go with that -- and honor my Latino roots."
But even then Emilio faced pressure from executives to change his name. He said his father's best advice to him was to not make the same mistake he made because he would regret it for the rest of his life.
"The gringos and the suits in Hollywood gave me some pressure to change it because it made their jobs more difficult to try and sell me, but I'm so proud that I didn't. And, now of course it's very fashionable to be Latino. I guess it was a good choice back then!"