I won't lie. I didn't watch Sex and the City in the '90s. I felt it portrayed a NY I didn't connect to. Gentrification was one of the reasons, among others. But my father (an older, a working-class Latino, English as a 2nd language) watched it - Spanish subtitles on. He freaking loved it. My dad? But he's NOT their target audience. LOL.
He'd call me and tell me about the deep meaning within each episode.. the moral. He even found spiritual meaning behind each episode. I was like: get me outta here, or I just need to give this TV show a chance. I caved in, watched it... and -- wow -- I liked it. A lot. It was another reminder of how pre-judgmental I can be.
As an actor I was like: I'm not their type. I'll NEVER get on that show! I hated that, it hurt me. It also made me secretly jealous of them. I won't lie! So when the show came back in its new iteration, and diversifying their casting, I was like --- can I get on it? Not because of who I am anymore -- again, their casting had grown, evolved. But I was now asking about me as an actor -- are my acting skills good enough for them?
I did my audition as simple & natural as possible. BANG! They called me. Working with them on set --they were ALL beyond pros. Plus playful, chill, fun. It made me want to play back and have fun with them too. They were supportive during my closeups, created a space for me to feel equal. I could fall on my face and it'd be OK to get up and keep going - like nothing. When you have that -- magic happens.
And in-between scenes we hung out. Niall Cunningham and I went to LaGuardia High School. Had some of the same great acting teachers. David Eigenberg is a gentleman - personally initiated introducing himself.. already knew my name! And we have a good friend in common - Jon Seda. Sarah Jessica Parker is a class act! We spoke tons about life. I shared an experience I went through as a BIPOC actor. She listened and a gave me a powerful new perspective I'd NEVER even considered before. For a white person to really hear you, then go deeper with you, I was moved. Cynthia Nixon -- I voted for her! Kill me for it! We spoke about deep and inspiring politics. John Corbett is down to Earth. The guy can afford to take cabs (even limos) wherever he wants to go to. Yet, he rides the MTA because -- he said -- he wants to be surrounded by the people. Now, that's impressive!
While on set, I made sure to stay focused on the work. We had fun... but we also worked. I was focused on my character and my circumstances. After my first episode was done - Michael Patrick King (the director) walked up to me and said -- "We definitely want to bring you back". Yep, I did 2 episodes! It was more than a dream come true, it was beyond any expectations I ever had. Oh, and the famous RADIO MAN was an extra one of the days I was there. Amazing! I hope to go back!
There's incredible TV shows every actor wants to audition for and, more so, book. For many NYC actors, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is such a show. For years, I auditioned for it. Thought I'd never get on it. Thank my lucky stars, I finally got on the show... booked a great role.. and it happened on the final season.
I have to say, it's a great episode. I don't just say that because I was on it... I'm talking as a fan of the show too. Daniel Palladino directed. He's a gem to work with! I loved every minute, including the table read. The reading was amazing, met the whole cast and creative team. I learned just from watching them work. A master class in acting and writing. And in my first scene - I brought the house down with HUGE laughter... amazing. And just as quickly as I rose... feeling the energy, I forgot my next line!! Daniel, the director, had to step in and say... "You have another line". It was a room of over 200 people. How embarrassing! After the reading, Daniel and I had a good laugh about my guffaw. On set, we reconnected... and I have to say... he is a class act! He elevated everyone on that set. He brought creativity, professionalism, fun and love to the work. I truly hope I get to work with him gain. Michelle Gritzer was the A.D. -- she's a wonderful director too, in her own right -- and I love her Groot story! She takes her Groot to every set she's on.
And I got to work with Alanna Fox!! Who I met when she was just a kid on a show my wife worked on: Baz Lurhmann's LA BOHÉME on Broadway. Alanna and I worked on this episode, and had a blast. Also, I worked with Pedro Saint Morillo and José Monge. I truly hope I get to reconnect with all of them soon again. Hope you can check out The Testi-Roastial episode - Season 5, Episode 6 - where I play the Head Chef!
Every now and then you get to work with a director you've been a fan of for years. SAINT X was incredible on many levels! It's a great script, with a GREAT director that I've been dying to work with!!
It was such an honor, creatively & personally, to meet and work with the wonderfully gifted Dee Rees. I was like a kid in a candy store, being directed by her. Wow!!! She's honestly a lovely, genuine and warm person -- all around. I truly hope to work more with Dee.
Working with Alycia Debnam-Carey was BEYOND fun. We had a great scene together, and in-between takes she was very warm -- we got to connect and talk about life. I truly hope I get to work with Alycia again.
Last but not least -- Josh Bonzie is a pro who brought the heat to our scene. 🔥 ¡Puro fuego! 🔥 Hope we get to do more scenes like that.
As a born and bread New Yorker who grew up with hip-hop, I've been a fan of Queen Latifah's since I was a kid. So meeting her -- and working with her -- was a dream come true.
After we shot our scene, I thanked her for being a positive influence to many people. I can say, she's extremely gracious. Also, in-between takes we shared a fun little inside joke about Public Enemy's 911 is a joke.
She truly is a Queen -- or as my mom would say... ¡una reina!
The director was Solvan "Slick" Naim, he's cool and fun to collaborate with. Plus, Slick is a very talented musician/rapper too! The man is a talent -- and he's nice! And from Brooklyn too. Hope to work with Slick again.
Catch Season 2 of The Equalizer on CBS and Paramount+.
To be 100% honest, I'm a working actor who auditions for tiny roles just to get my foot in the door. So, when my manager called saying I was being offered a role I didn't audition for I asked, "You sure they want me?"
After I was hired, Producer Camille Janiffa Bradshaw did a Zoom reading of the script... I showed up and nailed it. Yet, I was still unsure if they wanted me - because just getting offered the part without auditioning is new to me.
After the reading I spoke to Camille and I said: "There's another Johnny Sanchez in the industry. A stand up comedian. You sure it's not him you want?" She replied, "No, we want you. But even if we ever wanted the other Johnny Sanchez -- we want you now. Trust me, we want you." I was so grateful.
Bru's was produced by strong, smart, creative and dedicated black women. Director Mark Harris helmed the ship, a gentleman who gave everyone love. I also met writer Lamont Ferrell -- I said, Lamont, let's keep doing this. I want to be back on this set again. As for Bruce Bruce and Brely Evans they're BOTH incredible. First off, Bruce Bruce has been in the game a minute -- decades! A pro who treated each actor with love and respect.. and full of the fatherly advice we all need more of in our lives. Brely, wow, a queen!! She knows what it is to be a star! And brought the best of herself. Plus, we shot on location -- in Atlanta. I felt the LOVE and I hope to be back there again!
Working with director David Hollander was a delight. We got to the set and he was like... let's play.. let's find the creativity.. and let's really create the truth of the moment. Holy shoots, that's so rare -- and we created some magic.
SPOILER ALERT: It was a flashback sequence... and we recreated the 1980s. Wow, the streets, the cars.. the clothing of the era. So much fun. David is a real creative filmmaker. Hope to work with David again.
There's a reason why they say FBI: MOST WANTED is a solid team. They delivered the goods! The cast, director, writers, producers, crew -- everyone was so on top of it that I was like -- man, I better bring my 'A game' to this job.
I haven't done a scene like that before.. so getting to do it was loads of fun -- quick and fierce action. My character comes face to face with a dangerous and deadly killer. -- Yeah, fun is the operative word here. Fun to work on this.