The small screen adaptation of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film hits tonight!
Series star Wilmer Valderrama (Will Blake) spoke with members of the press recently to discuss Minority Report, his character, taking on more dramatic roles and the differences between this new series and his other show; From Dusk Till Dawn.
Though Valderrama is best known as Fez from the sitcom That '70s Show, he's been exercising his dramatic acting chops lately. This has allowed him to work with both Robert Rodriguez and Spielberg this year, which is like a dream come true for him.
Read on to find out what he had to say about all this and more!
I kicked things off by letting Valderrama know that I'm a huge fan of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. If you haven't checked it out, give it a shot.
After thanking me and telling me how much he loves the show as well, Valderrama said "I think you can tell, I have too much fun with that character."
That was the perfect segue for my question about the differences between the characters of Carlos Madrigal and Will Blake from Minority Report.
"The difference is one is ridiculously more angry than the other" Valderrama said laughing.
"They’re both pretty far removed from who I am, but it was exciting to play the good guy and the bad guy all in the same year, almost at the same time, its kind of thrilling. Not many actors get the opportunity to exercise their acting muscles on that level. So to me it was a blessing, it was super fun, and furthermore, working with Robert Rodriguez and Steven Spielberg in the same year is definitely a little boy’s dream."
When asked how he prepared to bring these two very different characters to life, Valderrama explained that Carlos was a collaboration between Rodriguez and himself.
"So I sat down with Robert, and I say Robert, what are we doing to do here? He says, well, he’s a 500-year-old conquistador, he discovered Satanico Pandemonium, which happens to be the Salma Hayek iconic character in From Dusk Till Dawn. He discovered her, he’s the owner and creator of the Titty Twister, so I immediately started thinking about his character traits.
So what I did was I figured for Carlos Madigral, he’s been alive for 500 years, so I felt like okay, well everyone is in a hurry, except him, so that gave me everything I really wanted for the character. He was just so calm and so relaxed about things, but I wanted to create a character that was terrifying, yet at the same time humorous and elegant. Robert really kind of empowered me to just kind of try things on camera."
Valderrama then went on to discuss Lieutenant Will Blake from Minority Report.
"I did a little research on what responsibilities a Lieutenant has and all that stuff, physical stuff, and how he carries himself, what kinds of words he uses when he talks to his personnel, when he gives speeches, and things like that. So whenever I’m light on my feet, and I’m improvising, then it comes from a natural place.
But with this character, I wanted him to be different. I wanted him to be like if there was one movie poster in his room, it’d be Sean Connery as James Bond. I wanted him to also have a sense of elegance and class because to be honest, I’ve never seen a character like this on television, but I’ve also never seen a Latino character on this level, too, so for me that was exciting because it was new. It was refreshing, and I was proud of that.
That’s kind of little bit of the notion of how I came up with both. I try to infuse a little bit of myself into them, but at some point the characters just go to all different places, and then I don’t recognize myself."
Speaking of Latino characters, Valderrama was asked if he was proud to transition from primarily Latino roles to roles that could be played by any race and here's what he had to say.
"That’s ultimately the goal, right? The goal is just to play amazing characters and amazing human beings that have a story, that have a history. I think that to me is the goal for any actor. I’m so proud of my Latino heritage, but I think as an actor, you want to be known as an actor, as an artist. You don’t want to be known necessarily as a Latino actor because I really feel like we, the Latino community, are performers that are for the world.
When it comes to Will Blake, Steven Spielberg created in the universe for Minority Report, that in the future we would be so diverse as a country, and as a world that all of our names would be somehow integrated into multiple cultures. So eventually, a Latino will probably have a very American sounding name, or an African American will have almost a very Latino name.
So I think that was actually a unique way of stating how diverse the future is going to be, that was kind of the statement there. But also, they weren’t necessarily looking for a Latino for my character, I’ll tell you that. So I was really proud that Steven Spielberg gave me the opportunity to bring this character to life myself."
Aside from that change, Valderrama also mentioned that he's brought a touch of humor to Will Blake while making the character his own. If you've seen some of the FOX promos for the show, you have probably noticed the jet pack sequence.
"There’s a clip that’s been going around, that I posted as well, where we fly in the jet packs, and we try to capture this guy, and then he commits suicide in front of us. Before that, Detective Vega had claimed, just face it Will, you’re not a closer. When she kind of lets this guy all of a sudden pull off his suicide, I kind of walk up to the poor guy, and I look at her, and I go, “Well, I would have closed him differently.” Little things like that makes it really fun for the camaraderie and a little bit of that competition between Vega and Lieutenant Will Blake."
If the future tech is one of the things that excites you about Minority Report, you're not alone. Valderrama shared this funny anecdote.
"That’s the one thing that I requested when I got the job. I called them, and I said please, oh God, please, tell me that I am actually going to be flying in a jet pack." The showrunners assured him that he'd get his wish because that’s one of the coolest parts of that movie, and they were including it in the show.
When asked about the VFX and technical aspects of Minority Report versus From Dusk Till Dawn, Valderrama explained that Rodriguez was working in a more physical and practical way. Sure, you've got visual effects like the fangs dropping down, but Minority Report is more effects heavy.
"There’s a lot of visual effects, and Steven Spielberg creates a world that’s so not only complex, but is full of depth. The visual effects are so exciting because you can really see how this can become a tool in the future.
So for us the only challenge is we have to create a dance. We have to create a vocabulary. We have to create the hand gestures that turns into a language and how you communicate with a computer. It becomes almost your best friend in the future. You speak to it. You talk to it. You roll up your sleeves, and the computer and you are basically, really handling things. So visually, it’s a little bit of a song and dance, but when you see it on camera, it’s ridiculously rewarding."
The FOX promos have teased the relationship between Will Blake and Meagan Good's Detective Lara Vega. Valderrama helped shed some light on their past and current working situation.
"I’ll give you a quick, little background. So he’s an ex-marine, you know, he’s a marine. He’s a guy who’s been around the world a couple times. The guy eventually went to the academy and met Detective Vega, and they may or may not have had something in the past.
Moving forward, they also became partners at one point, and then when they stopped being partners, he was assigned to a case. He got a promotion over her, and he became the lieutenant. He’s kind of the boss of the precinct that they work at. She’s now not only got to somewhat answer to her ex-partner, but at the same time, someone that she used to kind of see before.
Now at this point, she’s solving crimes; she’s very good at this. I think she has an informant, but she won’t tell me who this informant is and eventually it’s going to have to play into our dynamic because things are going to have to be more transparent. As they become transparent, they also become more complicated. So our relationship is complicated, but it is a supportive one, and professionally, they are brilliant together.
Minority Report Season 1 premieres tonight at 9/8c on FOX.