Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado has had a long and storied career: He’s worked as a reporter, was a member of the White House Press Corps, served as city commissioner and was even a candidate for NASA’s Journalists in Space program.
But Regalado, 69, is still up for trying new things. On Sunday, he made his Hollywood debut on the second season premiere of HBO’s “Ballers,” which is shot in South Florida and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a retired NFL superstar who now works as a financial manager for professional football players.
At the start of the episode, Johnson is helping Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh open his new restaurant — Suh Casa — at a fancy VIP reception. While addressing the crowd, Johnson gives Regalado a shout-out. “Mayor Regalado! Thank you, Mayor, for everything!” The mayor flashes a thumbs-up.
Regalado says his professional acting debut is just his way of keeping his options open when his second and final term as mayor ends in 2017.
“I come from TV and radio, and since I’m term-limited, I have to be looking for the next thing,” he said, laughing. “I was very excited when they invited me to come, because The Rock and Andy Garcia [who plays a rival financial manager this season] have such strong connections to Miami. They were showcasing a new restaurant on the river, so I thought that this was a great opportunity to market Miami for free.”
Another perk of the cameo was getting to meet “Ballers” cast member Richard Schiff, who played White House communications director Toby Ziegler on “The West Wing.”
“I loved that show, and I got to sit next to Richard in that scene and meet him. It was a pretty great day.”
Regalado was told the entire thing would take two hours, but he wound up having to spend seven hours on the set, because the scene required 10 takes.
More importantly, he was not paid for his time.
“They didn’t have to pay me anything, because I didn’t have any dialogue,” he says. “Next time, I’m going to ask them to give me some lines.”