With "Juarez," ABC and Columbia Pictures Television were figuring to appeal to the same nationwide audience that made last year's crossover sleeper, "La Bamba," into a hit in movie theaters. They set up a bilingual simulcast for "[Juarez]" and hired Carlos Santana, who scored "La Bamba's" original music, to create the music for the cop show. And they talked [Benjamin Bratt Banda] into adopting his Peru-born mother's last name, Banda, to appeal to Hispanics.
Bratt, lanky and boyish, relaxed in a small Studio City bistro recently, reflecting on the abrupt cancellation of "Juarez" in mid-January. Jeffrey Bloom, executive producer, phoned with the bad news on a Sunday night. Bratt had just returned home to San Francisco after spending the weekend skiing.
Even then Bratt was only willing to compromise so far. "I didn't plan on keeping `Banda' for long. I had a fear of the limiting capacity of the name `Banda' itself in this business. I am Hispanic-looking, but I can look Italian, Greek or Mediterranean. I never wanted to limit myself as an actor, to be limited to just playing Hispanic roles. Even then I thought the name would do that to me."