September 8th, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE A MARTINEZ INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

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MICHAEL:

This week A Martinez returns to daytime! What prompted your decision to come back to daytime and to “OLTL”?

A:

It’s really an interesting show, and so many of the actors on there are actors that I have loved. When I was doing “GH”, I had met most of those actors around ABC functions and the Daytime Emmys. I got to go to a party once for Erika Slezak (Viki), who I think is the most remarkable actress. I have had such a high regard for her and the show. I had met Frank Valentini (executive producer, “OLTL) back in the day, and when you are in daytime, it’s really a small community. Even the people I worked with going way back to, “Santa Barbara” they are still working, and you feel like a connection to them even though months and often years go by, without any real conversations. It’s an interesting feeling to walk back into it. Going back to the set of a daytime soap felt so immediately comfortable. It was actually quite surprising.

MICHAEL:

How long can fans expect your stay in Llanview to be?

A:

I signed a five-week deal and I just finished my last tape day. I think the stories and the scenes will play out over 8 weeks.

MICHAEL:

Was the shows intention with your character, Ray Montez always supposed to be for a short stint?

A:

The character had various incarnations; I think he was originally thought of as someone who would be around for awhile, and then someone who was somewhat disposable quickly. I think, but you never know, but he may survive. I won’t say more than that. I think there is possibly a future for him. I hope so, because he is a lot of fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Is there a down side to only being able to explore this new character for such a short time?

A:

There is no down side. It’s a really fun character and the actors are wonderful to work with. At this point in time, it’s greatly pleasurable to spend time in New York City. We would have to think long and hard as a family if we make a decision to move here.

MICHAEL:

Vince Irizarry (ex-David) who recently left “Y&R” told me he was flying back and forth every week from his home on the east coast to continue taping his role on the west coast. Would you consider a set-up like that?

A:

The thing is, you can’t quite tell how you are going to respond to it until you try it. So far what has happened is, I came and when back to LA once, and did that again, and then my family came and visited me and we had our wonderful little August summer vacation. It’s been a great five weeks, I have to say.

MICHAEL:

What were the circumstances that led you to Llanview?

A:

My agent called me and said, “There is this thing, and would you consider doing it?”, and it was a little much to consider. It was sign on the dotted line and move to New York for two years, and that was a little too much to imagine. But then the showed changed the way they thought about it, and I looked at what was on the table and thought it would be great.

MICHAEL:

You are one of the most beloved and cherished actors the soap genre had ever had. Why do you think you work so well in this medium?

A:

I have always loved working in daytime, it’s certainly where I feel the most free of anything. Once you establish that in your mind, it’s hard to let go of it. Even though I am getting better,  and ‘god knows’ I should after all these years, I think I am getting better in film than I used to be. There is just nothing like it, the soaps….the freedom of being and performing live with live cameras. I love to play with good actors and it literally is fun.

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MICHAEL:

Why do you think some actors and characters transcend in this genre, while some do not?

A:

When I did, “Santa Barbara” I played Cruz for more than 1600 times. He took on weight in my emotional life that was shocking when he was gone. I had no idea for what it would feel like to say, “Goodbye” to that guy.

MICHAEL:

The fans weren’t either.  It was so hard to say goodbye to “Santa Barbara” and to Cruz Castillo. It’s such a testament to you and the character, and how you portrayed him. It is legendary!

A:

He is a great guy, and at the end of the day, it’s about the writing, and he was the best guy I got. There is just no getting around it. He was my teacher and he was my brother, and when he went away, he demanded he be mourned in my own personal architecture. All that being said, it was a nice day when I could finally let go of it.

MICHAEL:

From Cruz on “SB”, we next saw you return to daytime on “GH” as Roy Deluca. This week you come back to daytime as Ray Montez. What can you tell us about him?

A-look.jpgA:

He’s tortured and misunderstood. He’s not well-mannered, but he is capable of being charming. He defaults more often to certain rudeness. He is real different.

MICHAEL:

Is he a criminal?

A:

He is perceived to be a criminal, and legally he has been imprisoned, but it remains to be seen what goes on with his heart. The thing that is so great about him is he is really tortured. He is not a guy that has got the world on a string. He is struggling, and it’s so much fun to play. It’s hard not to root for somebody, if you have empathy for anyone who is struggling unless they are utterly irredeemable!

MICHAEL:

So he is not irredeemable and not a villain?

A:

No. I would not say he is a villain, but people do talk a lot of trash about him.

MICHAEL:

Who have you worked with at “OLTL”?

A:

First, I got to work with Jerry ver Dorn (Clint) immediately. Clint brought Ray to Llanview and Jared went and did the deed. So, then I met Brittany Underwood’s character Langston, and then that turned into the Clint/ Dorian feud. Then I got to do some fairly operatic stuff with Robin Strasser (Dorian).

A-jared.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell me about working with the amazing Robin Strasser?

A:

She is amazing, fearless, and brilliant and that is the heart of it. You go, “OK, this is a person who inserts her fangs and goes to work and attacks the work and has such high standards and a willingness
to take risks.”

MICHAEL:

She knew you were thee A Martinez? Right?

A:

We were aware of each other. We met, although briefly, at this party that ABC threw a few years back. We met across this big white table, and we saw each other, and acknowledged each other and expressed our mutual admiration for the work. I always thought she was fabulous. When you get to do a scene with someone who raises your goose bumps that to me is the thing I most feel and crave as an actor, and as a person watching the theatre.


MICHAEL:

The rumors are that Ray will be adversarial with Dorian, but that he could be a potential love interest for Dorian.

A:

Hmm. From the get-go and the way we worked with each other, it was really cool.

MICHAEL:

So there could be some sparks between them ?

A:

Yeah.

MICHAEL:

Many fans and insiders were swirling around in their soap fantasies, that perhaps when you were going to be brought on to “OLTL”, Marcy Walker (Ex-Eden, “SB”, Ex-Liza, “AMC”) would soon follow?

A:

It’s among my dreams. I work love to work with Marcy again, but I have not heard that rumor personally.

MICHAEL:

Have you stayed in touch with Marcy?

A:

I have not talked to her for several years.

MICHAEL:

Why was that such an unbelievable pairing, Eden and Cruz?

A:

A lot of it was dumb luck of having such a similar approach. We are cut from the same clothes as how we see the task. She is really committed and detailed oriented, and the thing I would always say, right? The one thing that stood out over time, depending if one of us had a bad day, is it would never happen two days in a row, it would never recur. And sometimes that’s hard to do after a time. After awhile it’s real, real tempting to mail this one in… and that was not going to happen with us. And that is what set us apart. We were ferocious about how we protected the quality of the work. I say this to my kids all the time, and I am so grateful about this in my life, and that is, “We knew how good it was, and how special the work was while we were doing it. “ It was utterly clear to us that we had something very special, and we ran with it as long as it was there to run.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Ray’s Llanview relative Langston, played by Brittany Underwood?

A:

She is great, and it’s a sweet group of young actors they have on the show. They have a sense of doing the work, and they seem to know how lucky they are to have the gigs and are committed to the work. Brittany is a strong worker.

MICHAEL:

Langston did not know she had an Uncle Ray.

A:

She did not know of Ray. Langston was looking for relatives when her parents perished.

jachendy.jpgMICHAEL:

Ray has wife, Vanessa!

A:

Yeah, Jacqueline Hendy is the actress that
I have done one scene with. She is very nice. Jacqueline plays my wife and somebody is a trouble maker in this group and that’s the big debate. Who is the most trouble in the marriage? We don’t really know.

MICHAEL:

Any other famous “One Lifers” we should look forward to seeing you on-screen with?

A:

I got to do nice stuff with Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio), and briefly got to work with Hillary B. Smith (Nora).

MICHAEL:

Well, I thought perhaps they would put Hillary and A together? The two Daytime Emmy winning dynamos, and that would really screw Clint for bringing Ray to stir up trouble in the first place.

A:

Hillary’s character, Nora just treated Ray terribly. He is apparently an easy guy not to like. I just knew Hillary from back in the day.


MICHAEL:

So how do we get you in a scene with Erika Slezak?

A:

She walked in the door today! Erika was on vacation the whole time I was there. I just got to say, “Hello” to her, and she’s Erika Slezak. I saw her in the hallway!

MICHAEL:

If you were to explain who Ray is, what would you say?

A:

He’s a tortured guy who is trying to crawl out from under a rock.

Double2.jpgMICHAEL:

So, you have completed everything with “OLTL” at this point?

A:

I filled my contract.

MICHAEL:

What do you think needs to happen for everyone at the show and ABC to commit to telling Ray’s story long term?

A:

I am sure that they have to reconvene and figure what they want to do next. It’s like so many aspects of this game. You don’t really know until you put it on its feet, and see how it stands up. They have to look at it on how it plays within the flow of the show, and then see how the viewers respond to it. I think as you mentioned and intimated, it’s sometimes difficult to separate me from Cruz. He is probably one of 150 people I have played and still he is that guy. I think it’s always questionable how people will respond to any actor, when they are expecting a certain thing and what they are getting is something else.

MICHAEL:

My thought was “OLTL” would be stupid if they did not try to keep you on the show, first of all, for your value?

A:

I think a lot depends on how people respond to it. I am very hopeful.

MICHAEL:

Was their one scene that you felt you got to “dig” into?

A:

There was one scene were Dorian got Ray to loose his cool and he become undone. She got him so mad that he started breathing heavy, and then he tried to get out of the room, and before he could get to the door, she jumped him from behind, and tore him up! It filled my eyes and gave me goose bumps.

MICHAEL:

There was a wonderful new Lifetime Television movie you just appeared in, “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story”. Tell us about it?

pow-wow.jpgA:

It’s a true story and it was a wonderful experience to get it. I was approached by a woman from the Native American Cultural Studies class at Cal State Dominquez Hills. They had used one of my earlier movies called, “Pow Wow Highway” on their syllabus. She called me and asked me, “If I would come meet her class?”, and I had not seen it in a long time, so I thought I would love to go, and I would watch it again. She let me come and see the movie. It was a joy to see it. I had an audition that same day. I am on this wonderful high from seeing the movie, and I am driving to Hollywood. At that point, my manager calls and says: “Well, there is good news and bad news. And bad news first… the interview you are currently driving to, they have decided to go in another direction. So you don’t need to keep driving.” I go, “Well, what is the good news?” He then says, “The good news is that Lifetime called and offered you this movie, “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story”. It was one of those great days.

MICHAEL:

The story is so moving. Did you know when you got your part in the film that this was going to be an incredible and powerful experience?

A:

Judy Reyes (Nurse Carla, “Scrubs) played this woman, Luz Cuevas. She busted us down at the table read, and when I saw that, I knew this was going to be something special. Usually, at the table read hopefully there will be hope for optimism on a project. She just killed. She turned to me at one point in time, and this woman thinks she has lost her baby, and thinks her baby is alive, and everyone including her father, and husband and the police are telling her she’s crazy, and she need to get a grip and get on with her life. Well, she finally comes to my character, who in the real-life true story, is the person she turned to, and in the table read she turned to me and said, “Do you believe me?” When Judy said that line to me… her face was pale, her eyes were wet, her lip was moving, and I was thinking, “Holy Moly! This is going to kill, and it did.” We went to the premiere in Hollywood at the Director’s Guild, and it tore the room up. Then the executive at Lifetime addressed the room and said, “I want you to know the real Delimar Vera is here with her momma. Here they are!” We all stood up and turned to her. The baby and she are now together. That is the baby that was supposedly dead in the film, and the entire room gave her in a standing ovation. They just bathed her with respect and it melted her.

little-girl.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell us about your role in the film?

A:

I play this guy named Angel Cruz, who is a representative in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who is out of Philadelphia’s 180th district. I think he may be the first Hispanic legislator to come out of Philly. I think he is in his fourth term now and made it possible for this woman to have her life turned back around, because when she came to him, he promoted himself as the friend of the common persona. When she came to him, he did not brush her off. He went out of is way to get her access to DNA tests which she could not afford under her own auspices and functioned as an angel in her life. So it’s really cool to say the least.

To read a write up and review from the Philadelphia Daily News about the background of this horrific yet triumphant story on Delimar Vera, click here!

MICHAEL:

Have you stayed in touch with Jill Farren Phelps (executive producer, “GH”)? I know she is one of your closest friends from way back to your collaboration with her, when she was executive producer of “Santa Barbara”.

A:

Yeah I have. She is as good of friend as anyone, and helps me with so many things in terms of a career. As a person, she is one of the wisest people I have ever known. Our family owes so much to her family, and the things they do instinctually is just wonderful.

MICHAEL:

When Roy Deluca wondered out of Port Charles and you left “GH”, did you and Jill feel the character had it’s closure?

A:

Basically, they sent him to Miami.

MICHAEL:

I got confused. I think he kind of felt shuffled off the canvas.

A:

There was a thing where he was trying to undo Sonny and then Alcazar came in. Then Roy went into ca-hoots with Sonny and went to Miami to cover some of Sonny’s operations. At that time, I got offered this Lifetime Series, “For the People”. That was a real sweet gig. I was hoping it would turn into something, and then in true show biz fashion, you walk away with another gig.


MICHAEL:

How was it working with heavy hitters… Maurice Benard (Sonny) Steve Burton (Jason)?

A:

They are wonderful, and the best thing for me is that I got to work with Tony Geary (Luke), because Roy and Luke were thick as thieves. It goes back to the very beginning of the show that relationship, and obviously it’s Tony Geary! It’s a wonderful group of actors. I got to do things with lots of people on the show, but most of the stuff, I got to do with the men was with Tony. There really is no one quite like him. You don’t know how much I respect him.

MICHAEL:

What is it about him that makes him so unique and special as a performer?

A:

Tony steps up on a daily basis. He explores these colors, and the palette he is using is just so huge. It’s so hard to pin that character of Luke down. There are things we have come to understand about him. The day by day exploration and wanting to try new things made it such a joy to work with that guy.

MICHAEL:

How was it getting to work with Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) when you were back in the fold with her? So many loved her, as Julia Capwell on “Santa Barbara”.

A:

We’re down. She’s awesome!

MICHAEL:

Also, I know there was a moment in time you thought was very special for Maurice Benard.

A:

When Maurice won his Emmy… it was long overdue. What a night that was!

MICHAEL:

We thought your Daytime Emmy was long overdue by the way!

A:

Oh bless your heart….

MICHAEL:

….I remember. I was there.

A:

The thing I will never forget about it was that afterwards, my wife, Leslie and I stood off one of those big ballrooms, because the show was inside the main Marriot Marquis ballroom in New York City. We stood there together shoulder to shoulder for three hours or so. We fielded a river of people coming to express their best wishes and their pleasure that I had been recognized. That’s a moment where you feel your whole sense of the world tilt a little bit. I mean… it was beyond. It was so genuinely generous from so many directions and gave us certain value to the work.

A-tux.jpgMICHAEL:

Where is the Emmy?

A:

It’s my living room. I will tell you what though, whenever we evacuate because of the latest fires or what not in LA, you grab your Emmy! At the end of the day one thing you can say about it is, “that they are very pretty items.”

MICHAEL:

I wanted to just go back to your “Santa Barbara” days with you. Give me a few words about some of your former female co-stars…Kim Zimmer (Ex-Jodie, “SB”, now Reva, “GL”)?

A:

She was profoundly energetic and fun.

MICHAEL:

Sydney Penny (Ex-BJ, “SB”)?

A:

Soulful.

MICHAEL:

Eileen Davidson (Ex-Kelly, “SB”, now Ashley, “Y&R”)?

A:

Beautiful and passionate.


A-Chains.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, as you premiere on “OLTL” this week, what can we tell fans to look forward to?

A:

The fans can look forward to that he is a real interesting guy. He got to do a bunch of real interesting things with a bunch of the characters. If people enjoy watching it half as much as I enjoyed doing it, then they will remember him fondly.

  1. Nelly Were Otube says:

    Hi, am Nelly,
    from Africa (Kenya) I have read this whole interview but with only one interest, Cruz and Eden..how is it possible that A has not talked to Marcy for several years? this is simply heartbeaking… I think. Their incredible perfomance on SB left many of us all over the world marvel at what real love should be, it was sort of a yardstich for which all love should be measured. The least they could have done for their fans, especially hopeless romantics like me, is to stay friends.. atleast… what happened? so heartbeaking. Yes we respect that they have separate lives now, but aleast remain in touch…. ooh! will always love these two forever!

    Reply

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