Antonio Jaramillo Snags Guest Spots on GANG RELATED and DALLAS
On June 19, Jaramillo introduces Beto to audiences of Fox’s Gang Related and portrays the character through a two-episode arc. I spent a few moments on the phone with Jaramillo and got some insight into the role. “I play a guy named Beto, a childhood friend of Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez) who’s willing to risk his life for Ryan and for the family that he’s known since he was a child. Of course, he’s on the wrong side of the law, and Ryan is on the right side of the law.” Something goes awry, and viewers will have to wait and see if Beto remains loyal in desperate times. The final episode in the arc airs on June 26. Gang Related also stars Terry O’Quinn (Lost, Hawaii Five-0).
A Matter of Trust
Jaramillo will then return o the small screen around mid-August, when he has a recurring role on the ever-popular TNT series Dallas. Though he’s filmed 10 episodes, only three have aired to date. Jaramillo plays “a successful businessman from Monterrey, Mexico who’s crossed the border to Texas to do business dealings that put the family at risk. My character’s businesses are in trafficking product, which the family does not want to be associated with.”
Jaramillo loves building his characters and, though he puts a great deal of himself in each character that he plays, he doesn’t concern himself too much with that character’s likeability or redeeming qualities, leaving that up to the audience. “The challenge,” he says, “is to find the rhythm and the musicality of the colors of each show, within the parameters of that show. It’s the beating heart of the character you play, from the first word he says. Why does he say it, what does he say, what does he mean by it, is it a thread, how much weight does it carry? You have to create a whole background for your character and you have to build that character, starting with the first word. That’s not easy when you’re doing only a guest spot.
“I strongly believe that we all have these colors in ourselves, and because of this wonderful profession, we’re able to access those colors and those places that in real life we might not be able to do because we might get in trouble or whatever. It’s so much fun to do this job, because you can play people and all this stuff without the repercussions of real life. If you are truthful in playing a character’s actions in the circumstances he finds himself, people will relate to him. Say a person is being violent because a loved one has walked away from his life – sure, violence is not the answer – but, based on his upbringing, that’s how he defends himself. He’s always scared of losing the person he loves. I’m not condoning violence, but that’s how this particular character would communicate. He’s confused, and this is what he does. When he’s disciplining children, he’s yelling and hitting. That’s not good, but he’s doing what he knows. You try to find truthful channels in the actions and words of a character. You have to get inside his head, even if you don’t agree with him. And you find happy mediums in doing this on a show. Sometimes, you can go too far. Certain shows you can’t do certain things. There are limits as to how far you can go.”
To Act or Not to Act
Ad libbing becomes a way of life when Jaramillo builds his characters. “When a writer is top-notch, in the vein of Tennessee Williams, you just stick to the words, because the script is so good. They’re way ahead of you. But, sometimes in TV or film, you have to ad lib. You’re limiting yourself to the writers’ imagination if you don’t, and it’s like someone holding your hands behind your back. The script is just a sketch, a map if you will. But, you get in the moment of what’s happening and words just come out. If it doesn’t work, the words or actions can always be cut, which they are a lot of times.”
Coming up for Jaramillo, to be released next year, is Cardboard Boxer, with Thomas Haden Church (Wings). “I just have a small cameo where I play the abusive father of a little girl. The story is about a homeless person (Church) who tries to navigate his way through the world.”