Actor Marc Fajardo is popping up all over the small screen these days. Most recently, he appeared on the uber-popular ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars” and he’ll soon be showing up on the brand new HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley.”
Marc’s previous television credits also include: “Sleepy Hollow,” “Sam & Cat,” “The Neighbors,” “Desperate Housewives" and "General Hospital."
In addition to acting, Marc is also a skilled hip hop dancer, earning the top prize at the Bay Area’s Battlefest Hip Hop Dance Competition with his former team Haluan. This Los Angeles native from a Filipino family graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a double major in Film and Community Studies.
We recently caught up with Marc Fajardo to find out about his time on “Pretty Little Liars,” “Silicon Valley” and more.
Tell us about your recent role on "Pretty Little Liars".
MARC: I played LEON, an awkward teenager working at Mrs. DiLaurentis’ fundraiser. It was so awesome because I had the opportunity to see and meet most of the cast during the table read at Warner Bros. Studio, as well as the E.P./Director/Writer, Oliver Goldstick.
What was it like working on such a fan-favorite show...any extra pressure?
MARC: Haha, so funny you ask because I didn’t realize how popular the show was until I was on set. I heard one of the A.D.’s randomly say, “10 million viewers, gentlemen”. She was leisurely addressing it to the cameraman and crew, while I was on the side overhearing them. I started feeling the frog in my throat thing whenever I got nervous. I refocused and suppressed that thought so I can pay attention to the work or whatever else that was needed from me on set. I mean, I knew the show was popular, I just didn’t know exactly HOW popular it was until I heard that number. I was like, geez, why you gotta say it right now. Ugh.
You must have at least one juicy story from the set you can share with us, right?
MARC: Oh but of course! Well, I was in two scenes in the episode. In the last scene, I back up a Mercedes SUV into Mrs. DiLaurentis’ mailbox and I run out of the car, freaking out, and my line is “Dude, what the hell!” and I address that line to Travis, Luke Kleintank’s character. Well, of course in TV land we have multiple takes, so the cameraman and the rest of the crew started playfully mocking my line because I somehow was reminiscent of Ashton Kutcher in “Dude, Where’s My Car” so they started saying my line in different renditions of how a ‘bro’ would say it. It was awesome because it made me feel like I was part of their family with the playful tease and banter.
Another fun story was that I made Ashely Benson laugh during rehearsal and for picture, and for her to say ‘This is my favorite scene’, I couldn’t be anymore happier. She even took over the boom pole after the boom operator accidentally sneezed during my line, so during our last take, for my coverage, I was nearly thrown off when I saw her in my periphery holding the boom pole that it almost took me out of character. I think her welcoming spirit was the highlight of my time on ‘Pretty Little Liars.’
What can you tell us about your appearance on HBO's new series "Silicon Valley"?
MARC: I played a waiter opposite Christopher Evan Welch and Amanda Crew. It’s a funny moment because I ask Peter Gregory, played by Chris Welch, if he’s enjoying his asparagus. He responds back in a really awkward way, in character of course, but the thing is that his character in the show is somewhat of a socially awkward, Asperger type. And I had to focus really hard not to laugh because it’s utterly genius how he plays the character, especially watching the other takes opposite the other characters. I definitely learned a lot from watching him.
It looks like such a smart & funny show...any fun story about working on that set?
MARC: I have to say Amanda Crew was so sweet to me. She gave me a compliment for one of the takes I did and even in the car ride back to base camp she acknowledged how weird or awkward it can be for a co-star to come in on their first day, not knowing anybody. And meeting an entire cast and crew for the first time when they’ve all already developed a relationship. I have to say she was very nurturing in that regard.
Do you still dance? What's your best move?
MARC: I definitely do still dance. I always practice my robot/pop & lock. I have been booked straight for commercials as a robot, and I keep it maintained in case I get booked again. I usually practice House step or some breakdance moves when I’m at an open gym session. I would have to say my best move that I can do consistently is the crab/turtle walk. It’s where I walk on my hands with my upper body resting on my elbows and knees bent toward my body, just like a turtle. I rotate clockwise, counter-clockwise as well as move forward and backward. I’ve been doing it for years so my muscle memory is on point with that move.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
MARC: I love and admire the work of the legends like Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Gene Kelly, Marlon Brando. I’ve been dancing all my life in hip hop, breakdancing, and currently doing gymnastics and House step. I love reading fiction and graphic novels. My favorite writers are Neil Gaiman, Danzy Senna, Dave Eggers, and Brian Vaughan. I studied Film and Community Studies at UC Santa Cruz. I still love the art of filmmaking. I always dreamt of becoming an auteur like Coppola, Truffaut, Spielberg, or Michel Gondry.
My new dream is to be like Charlie Chaplin, to write, direct, and act in my own films, and have really cool physical comedy choreographed in it. In my day job, I teach kids video production at different elementary schools. I’m also a co-owner of a production house, Jive Duck Studios (www.jiveduckstudios.com) where we help actors and artists develop marketing materials like headshots, websites, business cards, logos, one-sheets, audition tapings, etc. I’ve booked 6 roles on network T.V. last year, and I’m excited where it takes me from this point on. And I love to do handstands.
And finally, how can we keep up with your busy career?
MARC: I usually post my updates on my website: www.marcfajardo.com
or on Twitter: @TheMarcFajardo
Thanks, Marc – you keep dreaming and we’ll keep on watching!