If you watch USA's “Graceland”, you know it's an intense show full of twists and turns, and Jamie Gray Hyder says things are only going to heat up this summer on the gritty crime drama! On the series, which kicked off its second season in June, Hyder plays the role of the formidable Lucia Solano, a graduate student attempting to live a traditional life while her brother Carlito (Erik Valdez) runs the cartel stateside. However, things get complicated rather quickly for Lucia as she finds herself torn between her loyalties to her family and to the life she wants for herself. In a new interview, the former “True Blood” actress shares why she enjoyed playing the complex situations her character is put in, why this season of “Graceland” will leave viewers surprised and much more!
Congrats on joining “Graceland”!
Jamie- Thank you so much! It's been a blast. I'm really excited for the season to get going.
What are you most enjoying about your role? What most appealed to you about her?
Jamie- I felt like she was like a real person. A real, complicated person. She had such a back story. And as you'll see with her her arc is throughout the season – there's a lot at stake for her. And so I was really excited to take on a character that had a lot of depth. And of course, all kinds of crazy stuff happens to her throughout the season, so it's been really fun to kind of embrace all of that.
What kind of you preparation did you do to get into her world?
Jamie- I booked it and then less than five days later had to fly to Fort Lauderdale to start shooting, so I quickly watched the show. I watched the first season to get an idea for the style of the show. Then I really just kind of explored the binds that Lucia is in. She wants to be a good person and have a productive life, but is constantly being caught up in the trouble that her brother and her family cause. It's very much a struggle of loyalty to her family and loyalty to herself, I would say. So I just kind of explored that: you do things for people you love that you don't want to do, and why do you that?
She seems like she's very torn between trying to be a normal grad student, but she keeps getting pulled back. That's gotta be interesting for you to play someone who is so conflicted and torn between two different worlds.
Jamie- Yeah, as an actor these are the kind of roles that are really great to get into because there's so many different motivations for this person, and trying to decide what's most important for her each step of the way requires a lot of contemplation.
Is there one storyline that you had with her that really stood out to you that you can give us a sneak peek to?
Jamie- I think you're going to really see my relationship with my brother develop and we go through a lot of challenges. I'm not going to say too much more because I'd like you guys to kind of watch it unfold. But she definitely finds herself in a lot of difficult situations and tries to handle them as best she can.
What can you preview about this new season? Are viewers going to be surprised about anything ?
Jamie- I think this season, we really hit certain issues really hard and we don't shy away from them. We're going to cover a lot of controversial topics throughout the season. I think the show does a great job of really embracing all these different causes that are going to be coming up. I think for the audience they're going to see a lot of things that resonate socially with what's going in our world, and that really raises the stakes this season. It's really intense; there is not a down episode. I'm excited for the audience to jump on that roller coaster and stay with it.
Having been on HBO's “True Blood” for a couple of seasons prior to this role, did you bring anything with you to the set of “Graceland” that you had learned from working on that show?
Jamie- Definitely a sense of ensemble, because on “True Blood” I worked with the same people all the time - the werewolves. Every time that I was on set, we all worked together. So in this case, working with Eric Valdez, who plays my brother Carlito; working with Manny Montanna, who plays Tuturro- we all really have developed a sense of ensemble and rhythm between the three of us and our characters both on-screen and then off as people. I think from “True Blood,” that kind of carried over - really developing that sense of ensemble with the few people that you live in that world with.
If you could pick any show on television right now to guest star on, which would it be?
Jamie- I think like everyone else in the world right now, I would love to be on “True Detective.” The show's creator and writer is just incredible, and it's just such an amazing show, and has such a style that I think it would be amazing to get a chance to work on it.
If you could travel back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Jamie- I think I would love to go back and experience the life of someone like Gilda Radner, when she was performing in her top. I think that she's just such an interesting person and I am very fascinated with her, so to go back in time to be able to do some of the things she did in her craft would be really amazing.