Interview with Yara Martinez

Yara Martinez is currently recurring on TNT’s hit show “Southland”. Yara’s character in the show is dealing with the death of her husband in recent episodes and promises it to be really intense. She will next be seen starring in A&E’s upcoming drama “Breakout Kings” with Laz Alonzo (“Avatar”) and Dominick Lombardozzi (“The Wire”), which premieres on Sunday, March 13th. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Yara about her current role in “Southland” and her upcoming show “Breakout Kings”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about playing Mariella Moretta in “Southland”?
Yara Martinez: I play Kevin Alejandro’s wife on the show.  His character Detective Nate Moretta was killed on the show,s o my character has been dealing with his death and it has been really intense. Usually a death on TV lasts for one episode, but this is being carried throughout.  His partner Detective Sammy Bryant, played by Shawn Hatosy is staying at my house and helping me take care of stuff.  Instead of just dealing with the death, I am also dealing with the complicated emotions.  It comes to the line of what is true emotion and what is just comfort. It is really interesting to play that, I have never had to do that dynamic. I feel like it is more three dimensional then just like “Oh, I am sad”. It has been great to work on the show.

MG: Your character has some great episodes this season, what can you tell us?
YM: One scene that was definitely super intense actually didn’t have any lines but it was me finding out that he was dead.  I come out of the hospital room and I fall into Shawn’s arms and we are crying.  It was one of the most exhausting things I have ever had to do. It was very intense.  The cool thing about “Southland” is that they let the actors improv a lot. They let us do what feels natural and you don’t to hit every mark every time. It allows us freedom to do what feels right and let’s it just happen. It is really nice and a luxury for any actor, since a lot of real moments come out that aren’t planned.

MG: What stands out on this “Southland” that makes it different that other shows?
YM: The actors on the show are really amazing. It was originally on ABC and then switched to TNT after its first season.  It has actually been better for the show.  They have more freedom to do different things now and it feels even more real. Every actor on the show is just amazing. I am really proud to be a part of that show. I am just really excited for going to work everyday.

MG: Tell us about your upcoming role playing Marisol in upcoming “Breakout Kings”?
YM: I play Laz Alonso’s wife, who is a US Marshal on the show. Our characters have been together for a while and they are like high school sweethearts.  What is cool is that Laz and I are both Cuban and I have never acted with another Cuban actor.  It was nice since we had a lot of similarities, for example stories from growing up. They let us improvise in Spanish and come up with a few extra things. It was really cool. Laz’s character, Charlie Duchamp is really obsessed with work and I kind of bring him down to reality.  I am not sure how much more I can say though, since the show has not aired yet.  But I can say it is action packed show and there is a lot going on.  It is from the same producers as “Prison Break”.

MG: How did you becoming involved with the A&E show?
YM: I just auditioned for the show.  They actually shoot in Toronto, so I auditioned for one of the producers here in LA. That is just how I got it…good ole fashion auditioning.  I love being able to travel for work though…makes everything feel more glamorous [laughs].

MG: Last year you worked on both “CSI: NY” and “Chase”, tell us about those shows?
YM: Yeah “Chase” was really fun!  It was the first time got to shoot people and jump off a cliff and run around a lot.  I have never done that for any role prior. It was really physically active, but even though it was demanding…in a weird way I liked it.  Plus it was in Dallas, so it was like 100 degrees. It was nice be able to do that things, like I was hanging from a cliff.  It was totally safe but I felt like a real badass after doing it.  With “CSI: NY” was really cool because I got to work with Gary Sinise.  It was great just to get to see him work.

MG: What has been your favorite projects to date?
YM: I really like “Southland”.  I haven’t seen “Breakout Kings” yet but “Southland”, when I work on it…I get the rush like when I am doing theatre. Because of that I would have to say that that would be my favorite that I’ve worked on.

MG: When you are not acting, what are you doing?
YM: Well I read a lot…really exciting [laughs].  I grew up in Miami and constantly have friends visiting me, so I am always hanging out.  I go to a lot of live concerts. What is cool is that by my house, there are a lot of little movie theaters.  We like to go to the silent movie theatre.  This month they are showing some French films from the 60’s and 70’s.  We will go with some friends to dinner…take a bottle of wine…and watch French films [laughs].

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