John Huertas He was in Puerto Rico when he learned he was suddenly unemployed – the series he starred in, fortIt was just canceled by ABC after eight seasons. As an experienced actor, he knew this was par for the course. But he did not know that what would happen to him next would change his life and career. Huertas went on to land the role Miguel Rivas hit on NBC this is us Across the show’s six seasons, and through that new opportunity, he was able to make his dream of becoming a director a reality.
How was the audition process like getting the role of Miguel in it this is us?
When I came home from Puerto Rico, I auditioned for potential roles in OzarkAnd the One day at a time And the this is us. casting directors for this is us He loved me for the role of Mike, who later became Miguel. I met with [creator] Dan Fogelman and his team read on Paramount for a chemistry and I remember choosing the token because the character was originally written as a white man. So, I thought that made me the person auditioning so they could say, “Oh, we tried a variety one and it didn’t work.” It was like that scene in “Miguel” when he went for a job interview. We recreated this scene from my audition for the episode. I left Paramount and about 15 minutes later I got a call that I got a recurring role on the show as Jack [Milo Ventimiglia]best friend.
Did you always know how important Miguel is in the show’s story?
A week after being forced, I was asked to go to the valley for a life story, which is when they use silicone and plaster to clone your head. I asked why I was doing this, and they explained that I would need it when I was growing up and playing Rebecca [Mandy Moore]Husband. I thought they got me confused with Milo Ventimiglia because he was her husband, but they quickly corrected me, “No, Miguel is going to marry Rebecca.” I have no idea. Dan later clarified that this would be a major development: Rebecca is marrying her husband’s best friend. I immediately asked them, “How will people react to this?” Their reaction was as expected, they thought horrible things about him for a long time. As the show became more popular, they upgraded me to series regulars, and the rest is history.
Were you involved in Miguel’s evolution?
When thrown, Miguel was a raw piece of clay. The producers invited me to sit with them every season to help shape it. What I loved most about working on this show was that they allowed me to participate in its development. I’m proud of the way Miguel shaped us into this highly successful character with a unique background and story. We slowly sowed little seeds about the guy Miguel passed through each season. And that culminated in the episode “Miguel,” which was born out of the conversations we had each season.
She made her directorial debut in the fifth season episode “The Ride”. Is taking out something you’ve always wanted to do?
I’ve been wanting to take out since I was in fort. [This Is Us EP] Ken Olin somehow got a wind that I wanted to direct. He sat me down in season one and told me he’d take me to the director’s chair at some point. The show was so successful that everyone wanted to direct the show from the cast to the film directors. I had to take my time while the opportunities for these amazing creators were. Then it was my turn. It was really a dream come true. This was the best way for me to get my first experience in the director’s chair because I already had a talented cast and crew supporting me, who trusted me. You quickly learn that you are responsible for every word on that page, not just your dialogue, and for every aspect of photography. This was the most satisfying experience of my professional life. From the moment we started filming the episode until presenting the director’s version, I felt the most accomplished, even more so than I did as an actor. Well, that’s until we made the “Miguel” episode.
Planning to focus more time behind the camera now?
I’m hoping to strike a balance because I don’t think I’m ready to hang my hat as an actor just yet, but I’m definitely inclined to direct now. There are plenty of opportunities in this field, and I’ve already booked two directing jobs for Network TV. I’ve been working for 15 consecutive years as an actor kill generation Uninterrupted, so that’s what I focus on. When considering future roles, I need to make sure it’s the right job and that it ticks all the boxes for me in terms of the quality of acting for Latinos.
How do you feel about the end of Miguel’s story?
What I think was cool about holding back from revealing more is that we got this sweet gift from an episode about Miguel that might not have happened otherwise. The effect of the episode on people made it worth the wait. The feedback we got from the caretakers, the immigrants, the people who feel trapped between two worlds, the Afro-Latino, and the Latino community who felt like seeing them was amazing. Make it all in one episode even more impactful. There were even people who hated Miguel before who reached out to apologize. Lots of apologies! I tip my hat to Johnny Gomez who wrote the episode that influenced so many people from different walks of life who found themselves somewhere in the episode.
Currently this is us It’s over, was it hard to say goodbye to Miguel?
I’m not the type to cry while watching the show, but this character has been a part of me for six years. We say goodbye the way we said it was so beautiful that I got revenge. I think Miguel’s last episode was so powerful, it sparked an interest in folks in the studios and networks that hopefully will provide more opportunities for someone like me to be at the center of a series.
What do you take with you from your work experience? this is us?
Working on the show taught me the value of being a great scene partner. The cast consistently gave 100 percent to each performance even if they weren’t in front of the camera for a particular scene. So, when Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley or Mandy Moore put on strong performances, the rest of us supported us and would do the same for us with the same energy and respect. This experience lifted me up, because as an actor, this is something we forget sometimes and it’s important to keep the feelings going. Going forward, this is something I will be aware of.
The show leaves a strong legacy in its wake that has been further expanded with the launch of Somos Nosotros Scholarship. How can this be achieved?
The scholarship is one of the most special things I’ve seen the cast come together to do. The legacy of the scholarship shares the true meaning of this is us, including everyone. We are creating parity and equality by supporting Latin designs – because of my background – so there will be more characters like Miguel on TV.
You have such a long list of credits, where is Miguel’s place in your favorites list?
I would say Miguel is my favorite so far. Thanks to him, there is a lot of conversation about the importance of telling stories that span a wide range of life in the world. I hope to see new shows like the new Quantum leap With an Asian Championship, which was defended by Lisa Katz in NBC and who was the hero in publishing Miguel’s story there. Also on NBC is Grace Wu, who prioritizes diverse storytelling and personal casting. They both said they were inspired by the episode “Miguel” and how it represented the kinds of stories they wanted to see. I am very proud of Miguel’s legacy and hope he continues to inspire viewers and CEOs to push for credibility in storytelling.