Are This Fool’s Luis and Leonard Payne Based on Real People?

‘This Fool’ is a comedy series created by Pat Bishop, Chris Estrada, Matt Ingebretson, and Jake Weisman. It tells the story of Julio Lopez (Estrada), a thirty-something man from South Central Los Angeles with co-dependency issues. He works at a nonprofit organization and helps others with their problems while ignoring his own.

The heartwarming and feel-good series is loosely inspired by the real experiences of Estrada and has a grounded approach to storytelling. Therefore, viewers must be wondering whether the characters of Luis and Leonard Payne are based on real people. In that case, here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Is Luis Based on Real Person?

No, the character of Luis in ‘This Fool’ is not based on a real person. It is a fictional character created by the show’s makers. In the series, Luis is the cousin of protagonist Julio and acts as a foil to the main character. The duo have contrasting personalities and are forced to live and work together after Luis is released from prison. Through Luis, the series explores the important theme of redemption. Luis attempts to get his life back on track after serving his sentence.

Image Credit: Gilles Mingasson/Hulu

In an interview, actor Frankie Quinones who essays the role opened up about playing Luis. Quinones revealed that he is friends with Estra and the other creators of ‘This Fool.’ They approached him to play the part of Luis, and he agreed because the character resonated with him. While Quinones likely drew from personal experiences while essaying the role, the actor did not mention any real-life people who influenced the character’s story. Hence, it is safe to say that Luis is a fictional character with a relatable storyline and emotional conflict.

Is Leonard Payne Based on Real Person?

No, Minister Leonard Payne in ‘This Fool’ is not based on a real person. The character is a fictional entity that exists within the show’s narrative. Payne is the head of the nonprofit organization Hugs, not Thugs, which works to rehabilitate ex-convicts and gang members. He is Julio’s boss and often takes advantage of his employee’s empathy to get more work done. However, Payne truly cares about the cause for which he opened the NGO.

Image Credit: Gilles Mingasson/Hulu

In the series, actor Michael Imperioli (‘The Sopranos‘) essays the role of Minister Leonard Payne. The actor described his character as a socialist who believes in giving back to the community. However, Payne also has a dark past and is trying to right his wrongs by doing social work.

According to co-creator Chris Estrada, the character’s roots lie in the concepts of Unitarianism and Liberalism. Estrada wanted to break the stereotypical portrayal of liberal characters in mainstream media. Hence, he gave the character of Payne a dark past and a complex emotional character arc. Moreover, Imperioli hasn’t stated any real-life people who influenced his performance as Leonard Payne in the series. Hence, it is safe to say that the character is fictional.

Ultimately, neither Luis nor Leonard Payne is based on real people. Both characters represent certain ideas and themes that the show’s makers wished to explore in the series. Therefore, the storylines of Luis and Leonard Payne resonate with the viewers and ground the narrative in reality.

Read More: Is This Fool Based on a True Story?