Varela on 21 January 2013
23 June 1980|
|Other names||Louis Matias Padin Varela|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in)|
Louis Matias Karl Padin Varela (born 23 June 1980) is a Swedish actor.
Varela was born and grew up in Södermalm on the south side of Stockholm. Both parents are from Spain and he did not learn proper Swedish until he started school. During middle school a new friend was Gustaf Skarsgård, son of internationally noted Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård. Varela did not then know of the famous Skarsgård family because he mostly watched Spanish satellite television. When his friend Skarsgård applied to a selective upper secondary school, Södra Latin’s drama program near where both boys lived, Varela wanted to do the same. The elder Skarsgård gave the young Varela a few hours of acting instructions and he was accepted by the school. Varela said he was surprised, because he had shown up in a track suit and looked more like a homeboy/chav than an aspiring actor.
After a brief appearance in the soap opera Nya tider, he left Sweden for a while and on returning worked as a construction worker with small acting jobs for a sideline. After reading the bestselling Swedish crime novel Snabba cash and hearing that a production company was adapting the book for the big screen he set his sights on starring as the Swedish-Chilean drug dealer Jorge Salinas. Varela convinced the director Daniel Espinosa to give him a screen test. Espinosa, who himself is of Chilean descent, had stated he wanted someone with roots in Chile, and Varela would eventually land the role.
Easy Money was a success  and Varela went on to star in both sequels: Easy Money II: Hard to Kill (2012) and Easy Money III: Life Deluxe (2013). He also got the part of Police Detective Jorge Chavez in the big budget TV-series Arne Dahl. In series 2 Alexander Salzberger replaced him.
Varela had his first international role in an episode of Covert Affairs as a Basque terrorist. In 2013 he was in several episodes of Showtime's The Borgias in the prominent part of Ferdinand II of Naples.
Among 2015/2016 projects were Johan Renck's quirky crime drama Ettor och nollor alongside his old friend Gustaf Skarsgård (see above), the 2015 remake Point Break, and the video game adaptation Assassin's Creed, with Michael Fassbender.
In 2017, he starred as Jorge Salcedo, the head of security for the Cali Cartel in season 3 of the Netflix series Narcos. His performance was widely singled out by critics and fans alike as among the best in the show.
- Torén Björling, Sanna (August 10, 2012). "Det är inte synd om mig för att jag får etnoroller". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish).
- Lindblad, Helena (January 15, 2010). "Snabba cash". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish).
- Andersson, Jan-Olov (August 14, 2012). "Snabba cash II" – både rörigare och mer förutsägbar än ettan". Aftonbladet (in Swedish).
- "Malin Buska i Snabba cash 3". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). August 24, 2012.
- Euro TV Place: "Swedish Crime Drama Arne Dahl Returning with New Series". Accessed 26 October 2015
- "Covert Affairs". TV Guide.com.
- "Matias Varela till Hollywood". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). July 28, 2012.
- Magrath, Jordan (May 5, 2013). "The Borgias Season 3 Episode 4 "The Ball of Chestnuts"". tvequals.com.
- "Varela klar för Rencks thrillerserie". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). March 5, 2013.