Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
August 29, 2007.
Had things broken a little differently, Amaury Nolasco might still be living
in his native Puerto Rico telling patients to turn and cough.
After all, that was always the plan. His family was made up
almost exclusively of doctors, and when he was growing up in an
upscale area of the island (New York Yankee catcher Jorge Posada was a
schoolmate) he always just assumed he’d follow in their
Instead the 36-year-old is now entering into his
third season of playing the vital role of Fernando Sucre in the fan-favorite
Not only that, he played a significant supporting part in the summer
a Hollywood career that is barely a decade old, Nolasco has proven that
talent and a positive attitude can take you far in Hollywood.
Shortly before the
third season debut of Prison Break – as well as the DVD release of
season two – Nolasco sat down with us to discuss his career and his series.
I read that when you
were growing up in Puerto Rico, you had no intention of becoming an actor;
in fact you were probably going become a doctor. How did you make the leap
It was a mistake. (laughs) I had no idea. And it was a good
mistake. I was my second year of college in Biology. My mom is a doctor.
My dad is a doctor. My brother is a doctor. So, it runs in my family. I
was at the beach one day and somebody asked me if I wanted to do a
commercial. I just thought it was a Candid Camera show. I figured
it was a big joke. Turns out it was true. So, I got the commercial. And
that commercial led to another one. To another one. To another one. It
eventually led to a TV show. That never aired, it was a pilot. The
producer encouraged me to start taking acting lessons, to sort of loosen me
up. Okay, why not, you know? It was fun. Girls were looking at you. You
were making money and I thought, hey, that’s good. I thought it was a good
decision to make. So I did it just for the hell of it while I was finishing
my college degree. It was then and there – my first acting class – I fell
in love with it. I said, ahhhh, this is what I want to do. So I
finished my degree in Biology, because I was already halfway through it. I
decided to finish it. I minored in drama. Then I cut my stakes and left
for New York. My parents were not happy. But, now they couldn’t be more
Not too long after you
moved up to New York to become an actor, you were guesting on some of the
biggest shows on TV, like
Early Edition, ER
CSI. Soon after
that you were in films like
Fast 2 Furious.
Were you surprised
when it took off like that?
There is this thing called “The Secret.” I don’t know if
you’ve heard about it. It’s going around. It’s this thing about putting
out positive energy. It’s called the secret, but I don’t think it was a
secret to me. I’ve always known that if you believe in yourself, you’ll be
able to. There was never a doubt in my mind I was going to make it. I just
didn’t know when or how. I remember I had a girlfriend at the time. One of
those years of struggle, she asked me, “What’s your plan B, if this thing
doesn’t work with acting.” I said, “My plan B is to make plan A work.”
So, I always knew that this was the only thing that I had to do and was
going to do. I just didn’t know when. I was very surprised it took off
that fast. My very first audition when I got off the plane – because I
studied in New York, but I wasn’t allowed to audition – it was all study,
study, study. That’s why I came here after three years in New York. My
very first audition was for a pilot for Jennifer Love Hewitt. It was called
Time of Your Life. My very first addition I got a callback. Then
another callback. Then at the studio. It ended up being me and some other
guy – all the way to network. He was the guy who got it. I remember
saying, ‘It can not be this easy!’ I just got off the plane. Sure enough,
(laughs) it wasn’t that easy. I didn’t get it. But I got my very
first part after that within four or five months. I got an Arli$$,
which was my first guest star on my first show. From there on it’s
been an uphill battle, but a good one. It wasn’t that easy – and I thank
God it wasn’t that easy, because it would have not made me appreciate it the
way that I appreciate it now.
How did you get
Like a gazillion actors, I was called to do auditions. I got the script. I
fell in love with it. I said I’ve got to do this. This is something that
I’ve never seen before. There are so many TV shows and pilots that are out
there to do and only three get picked up. But I just knew this was
something good and different. So I went and auditioned. I had to audition
about four or five times before I got the part.
So many of the new
serial dramas never last long enough for people to know what is happening.
Why do you think
caught on with people the way it did when other acclaimed shows like
The Nine or
make it through a few episodes?
You ask a very good question. I have to say… I’m not saying
that the writers on the other shows weren’t good… but I have thanks and I’m
blessed that I have a group of writers keep this thing going in such a way
that pushes the envelope. I think one of the reasons also; people got
invested in our characters. You know how this business is – get the ratings
the first two or three episodes or you’re done. That was the key. The
writers did a nice enough job to get people invested. The whole prison
thing was something that was completely key. Everybody loves movies like
Shawshank Redemption and The Great Escape. The heroes – well,
what would you call them, maybe antiheroes? – they are completely normal
people with faults and yet they are our heroes. People fell in love with
these guys. Everybody is rooting for these characters to eventually break
out of prison. I think a lot has to do with the premise of the show.
The second season of
the show sort of spread out a bit away from the original concept – going
from the actual breaking out to having them traveling all over the world,
trying to stay free. Did this branching out make the show more interesting
One of the things is, the show was never intended to last
long. So there was never a plan. When we saw the ratings – all the writers
saw the ratings, the producers – we knew we would keep going with it. So it
was the normal thing. It was funny, because people would say, “okay, this
show is going to last four years and they’re still going to be in prison.”
It was a slap in the face from our part to everybody, to all those critics –
saying, really? Here we go. We’re out of prison. Now watch! Then it was
like, “okay, well, what are you gonna do next? Okay, now that you did it,
what’s next?” What we did was the normal thing to do for a show. There was
a show back in the 60s called
Basically, it was the same thing: a similar character. Not only that,
instead of one, we had eight running for our lives. It was a very difficult
task that I think they did a phenomenal job with. Now, on our junior year –
because that was our sophomore year – our junior year we are really pushing
the envelope. These guys, their season takes place in a lawless prison…
Yes, I had heard that
it would mostly take place around the Sona prison in Panama…
Yes. Sona prison. It goes in the realm of
This prison makes Joliet look like a five-star hotel. So, again, we’re
pushing the envelope. You’ll see it at the first…
Again, we’re talking about how you grab people – you start with a bang.
When I go to a concert, the opening act has got to be good. Otherwise I’m
gone. I have to say these guys are – again, I keep repeating myself – but
they are pushing the envelope. They’re really making suspenseful shit.
Got to make sure they earn their money.
At the end of last
season, your character was sort of left in a bind. You were in Panama. You
had been stabbed and you were bleeding out. Your fiancée had been kidnapped
and the police were holding the kidnapper. So without giving away any big
secrets, what kind of things can we expect this season?
He’s thrown into the world of all these… what am I trying to say without
giving it away? He’s got to eventually find out what’s going to happen with
his girl. And he’s also caught up in the predicament of “do I help
Michael?” as well. There’s a friendship, but everybody has to take care of
his own first. We’ve got to figure out if we’ll see that. We’ll see that
develop in the first show. By the way, what’s going to happen with him and
Maricruz. What about the baby? Then does he do the right thing
to help his boy? His best friend right now. Those are the
friendships… I love how they’ve become very good friends over the course of
Also, he’s thrown into a whirlwind – will he be able to cope with it?
Yeah, it’s so difficult to talk about what’s
happening with my character without anything away. Everything is so
crucial. I just have to say him and Link are on the outside finding a
way to get in. You’ll see the relationship between Sucre and Michael
is not the same as with Link. You will see completely a different
story here. Completely different, which is amazing to watch. See
how these two work together to help Michael.
Do you have any sort
of fantasy storyline you’d like to see Sucre involved with?
Eventually I would love to see how its going to turn out – the whole
Maricruz thing and the baby. Then again, I don’t want to say much because
you’ll see that in the first two episodes. But I would love to see how it’s
going to end up, because that’s his baby. That’s what he lives for. I
think the only purpose of living is that girl.
Some main characters
were killed of or done away with in season two. As an actor, how surprising
is it when a friend is written off the show and do you worry about it
happening to you?
Yes, always you worry about yourself. But like somebody said, we were
supposed to last only thirteen episodes. Here we are in season three. So I
am very blessed. The show has given me notoriety in the outside world.
I’ve been able to work with Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay. And all these
actors like Keanu Reaves and Forest Whitaker. I thank the show for
everything. Of course I worry every time I open a script (laughs) I
get candles and I pray. But in that sense, everybody says everything good
has to come to an end. Who knows when it is? In the meantime, you don’t
look at that. You’re taking it day by day. In terms of working with other
co-stars, like anything, you work with them for a certain time and you enjoy
them. You learn through them. There is a relationship going. Then – it
was a pleasure and until the next job.
You were also in one
of the summer’s big blockbusters –
How did you get that role? What was it like being part of a blockbuster
First of all, working with Spielberg and Michael Bay is something that every
actor [imagines]. I mean, it takes a lifetime to get to the point to work
with these guys. In my short professional life I already have it on my
résumé. I grew up watching
who would have told me when I was twelve years old that you’re going to be
in a movie about Transformers. Yeah, right! So for me it
definitely was a win-win. It’s something I’m very proud of,
being a part of this movie. I mean, we’re talking about a movie that
broke a lot of records. It’s one of the biggest movies in the summer
blockbuster [season]. It’s a movie that, your kid is going to go, “Oh,
dad was in this.” You look back and I remember when I was a kid
that type of thing. It’s going to stand for a long time because of the
special effects as well. It won’t be one of those movies that you’ll forget
on the DVD rack. It’ll definitely stand on its own for a long, long time.
There is a certain
amount of debate as to whether or not your character survived. He was last
shown as injured.
That was so funny, because originally my character dies. I was shot and
just died. But it ended up in the cutting room floor, which actually helped
me, because my character has taken off. A lot of people, especially Latin
American people, loved my character. It was a character that took off. It
was very charismatic and in the little time that I was there, I made a
footprint. I got a call from writers and producers saying, your character
was loved and it seems like he might come back. You know, that’s one of
those things that you pat yourself on the back – good one! You took
whatever they gave you and you made the best out of that and leave it up to
I heard you also have
a new movie in the works called
with Keanu Reeves and Forest Whittaker. What is that like?
Oh, it’s such a
thrill. Again, working with Spielberg and Michael Bay was great. It was a
blockbuster. It’s a cool movie. But, you take it for what it is – a
popcorn movie. You’re not going to get an Academy Award for it. I’m not
saying that I’m going to get an Academy Award for this one, but it is
definitely something that as an actor I’m very proud of. It’s an amazing
script by David Ayer and James Ellroy – the guy who wrote Training Day
and the guy who wrote LA Confidential. A great cast – an amazing
cast. It’s a low budget movie. I mean was made for less than 25 mil. So,
you know that everybody who came to the movie did it for the love of the
game. It’s amazing. Chris Evans. Keanu Reeves. Forest Whitaker. Naomie
Harris. Myself. Jay Mohr. John Corbett. It’s an amazing cast. This is
one of those movies that you feel very, very proud of, because it’s such an
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