As we've reached the end of the famed drama This Is Us, Jon Huertas, who played Miguel on the show, is comparing the ending of that series with his time on the procedural drama Castle, where he played Javier Esposito, alongside Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic.
“I felt bad for our fans because they were hoping and expecting another season, and they were expecting a great ending,” Huertas told Yahoo Canada. “We thought we were going into Season 9 but that's also the difference between the two types of shows, the two genres.”
“With a procedural it's a standalone episode every week,...so they're not as concerned [from] the studio level that this show needs to end on a note.”
While Huertas agrees that the show certainly ended abruptly, which at the time (and still to some respect today) created a frenzy among fans of the series, he did say that if the cast could get back together, he would revive Esposito for some sort of reboot content.
“That show to me was some of the most creative fun that I was able to have,” he said. “A lot of the stuff that we did was because we wanted to have a different take on a procedural, and so the collaboration between Nathan [Fillion] and myself, Seamus [Dever] and Stana [Katic].”
“They started taking these like little ideas we had and creating actual stories and episodes out of it, like the fact that I was eating a donut when Ryan was on a cleanse, that was taken directly from actually me being on a cleanse and him eating some trash, and I was like, 'what are you doing man, eating that,' and the writers heard that.”
'We have our insecurities'
Ultimately, when Jon Huertas is looking at roles he really wants to take on, he likes developing “more positive characters,” with a mix of comedy and drama.
“I'm not really looking to ever like play a narco kingpin or drug dealer or a gangster,...unless there's something different to it,” he said. “I think now I look for stuff that’s got the spirit of collaboration built into it,... then you can build on that with the writers and you can help infuse a lot of yourself into the character.”
“You are getting your own validation because if you're infusing a lot into the character and people like character, then they're liking you, and as an actor, that's what you want… I don't love the celebrity or the hoopla or anything like that…but as you can see, the people who are in our business, we have our insecurities that need to [be] met.”
The story behind being cast in HBO miniseries 'Generation Kill'
While Jon Huertas has created iconic characters in Castle and This Is Us, the role that’s made the most lasting impact on him is playing Sgt. Antonio Espera in the 2008 HBO miniseries Generation Kill. The series takes place in the first 40 days of the Iraq war, from the perspective of U.S. Marines, based on real stories. Huertas himself is an Air Force veteran.
“Being able to tell the story about the military that is true and honest, and the depiction is not swayed in any direction when it comes to politics, when it comes to what's right, what's wrong, it allows the audience to make their own decision,...the experience was amazing,” Huertas said. “We were so, I think, dedicated to telling the story with integrity, telling it right, and all of us shared in that, and all we had was each other while we were over there.”
“To be sent away to shoot this thing in Africa for eight months with 30 other men and to meet some of your best friends, that was 15 years ago and Alexander Skarsgard, I was just hanging out with him at the premiere of The Northman because whatever he does, I'll support him because he's one of my best friends.”
Interestingly, Huertas had done a film for HBO years before Generation Kill when, as the actor describes it, “HBO wasn’t really making the best stuff.” It was a military film that he believes didn’t hit the mark in terms of authenticity.
Having “PTSD” from that experience, when Huertas got the sides for Generation Kill he was initially quite critical.
“I was like, first of all this doesn't happen in the military, secondly, nobody talks like this who's from this background, his name was Rodolfo Reyes, he’s obviously Latino, Latinos aren't like this,” Huertas revealed. “I didn't give a crap, I had all that attitude and I read my scenes, and there was some anger."
A year later, he got a call saying HBO wanted to meet with him, wanting to offer him a spot on the cast but he had one day to meet with executive producer/writer David Simon. Huertas said it sounded familiar, with HBO clarifying that he read for the project a year ago, for a different character, but they want him for Antonio Espera, describing him to Huertas as an “angry Mexican.”
“Basically, because I went in and read angry, and not liking and loving what they put on the page, they were like, ‘Oh, he's angry, he's great for this character,’” the actor said, adding that he was then given the book with the real stories that are the basis of Generation Kill.
“When I was on my way to Africa, on the plane, this guy walked up from behind me and asked me, he said, ‘brother, are you working on Generation Kill?’... And it was Rodolfo Reyes. He is genuine and he is this guy who speaks exactly like that character,...what he did in the tent, he did, he blew up the coffee maker,...he's a character in himself.”
“I go through things with a fine tooth comb but I'm glad I did on that, and I was wrong, too. I was wrong with my assessment,...but it got me the job. So now I know to always go through things with a fine tooth comb.”