TALE OF DISCOVERY. Actor Carlos Miranda chats about his character in “Vida” and his passion for directing.
Carlos Miranda plays as Johnny on Starz channel’s “Vida,” a show about two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other but are forced to return to their old neighborhood where they are confronted by the past and a surprising truth about their mother’s identity. His portrayal of a mechanic who runs his dad’s shop has mesmerized viewers and critics alike, with the first season of the show garnering high praise. As an actor known for movies such as “The Bling Ring” and “Warrior,” he’s not always a man of many words, but Carlos Miranda certainly has a tale to tell.
DA MAN: Hi, Carlos. Awesome to have you with us. How are you doing?
Carlos Miranda: Thank you for having me. I’m doing really well. Very blessed.
DA MAN: We’re all looking forward to your appearance in “Vida.” What, would you say, will be the biggest surprise waiting for us in this new series?
Carlos Miranda: The commonality of these characters to so many people, despite gender or race. I don’t know about it being a surprise, but I feel like the rawness and realness of the show is such a breath of fresh air.
DA MAN: Can you give us a brief summary of the show?
Carlos Miranda: It’s about two sisters, who basically discover, after their mother passed away, that she was a lesbian. Aside from that, she also left them a family bar that’s in huge debt. While being in town and trying to find out a solution, both of them are trying to face and deal with many issues like love, trust, betrayal, sexuality, identity, family, etc.
DA MAN: By the way, how did you end up joining the cast in the first place?
Carlos Miranda: Initially, I self-taped while I was working in Chicago. When I wrapped up out there and got back to Los Angeles, I was called in for an audition in person. Turns out it was a callback and suddenly, I was meeting Tanya [series creator Tanya Saracho] and Melissa [co-star Melissa Barrera]. All in all, it was an incredible week.
DA MAN: Can you tell us a bit about your character?
Carlos Miranda: My character, Johnny, is a good guy from the neighborhood. He’s a mechanic who runs his dad’s shop. He has a wonderful fiancé and baby on the way. But then again, he has a rich history with Lyn [Melissa Barrera], and it causes him to make some irresponsible choices.
DA MAN: Correct us if we’re wrong, but “Vida” seems to be quite complicated, what with the intricacies of family life, romance, careers, growing up, death and so much more. Did you find shooting particularly challenging? Or perhaps sufficiently different from your previous works?
Carlos Miranda: I loved it! Because it feels like “Vida” is the most real story I’ve had a chance to tell and be a part of, at this scale. Like it just made sense to me.
Shirt by Never Canary
DA MAN: Looking back, one of your most recognizable appearances was in “The Bling Ring.” How did you end up being cast for that one?
Carlos Miranda: I remember I went for the audition, but it was more, sort of. I believe it was like a general meeting with casting director Courtney Bright, Nicole Daniels, and Fred Roos. After that, I ended up being called back another day to audition for Sofia Coppola, and I guess that went well.
DA MAN: What is your fondest memory of being on that movie?
Carlos Miranda: Shooting in Paris Hilton’s house was pretty dope. She’s got f****n pictures of herself, everywhere. On her pillows, and also the club room. It was cool of her to let us shoot down there for real.
DA MAN: Back to the present, you’re also set to appear in “End Trip.” Can you tell us more about this title and your role in it?
Carlos Miranda: “End Trip” is a short film that I wrote, directed, produced, and featured in. It’s pretty much about a not-so-good rideshare trip and I play as a chatty passenger who opens and closes the story.
DA MAN: You also directed “End Trip.” Is this—directing—something you’ll be doing more of in the future?
Carlos Miranda: Yes, I did. And yes, I’d love to try my hand at directing more and more. As a matter of fact, I’m preparing for directing another short movie that I wrote, sooner than later, hopefully.
DA MAN: When you’re not working on a film project, how do you usually spend your day?
Carlos Miranda: I’m pretty laid back. I wake up pretty early in the morning and usually the first thing to do is knock out the gym, so I could have the rest of the day to do whatever else I need to get done. I take my dog, Bonnie, to the park so she could run. Also, I’m hiking at Runyon Canyon and I like it there. And now, it’s summer time, so I’ve had my kids with me while they’re on break. It’s great and we’ve been kicking it.
DA MAN: Besides acting and filmmaking, what else are you passionate about right now?
Carlos Miranda: Not so much, because this is all I wanted to do.
DA MAN: Personally, what is it that gives you the drive to get up and face each day as it comes?
Carlos Miranda: First of all, my kids. Knowing that I’m getting the opportunity to realize my dreams. Thinking about where I was, where I came from and where I am today. The haters. The real ones that always love and support. My mom. And just being blessed enough to wake up and see another one, gives me the drive and desire to get my a** up and seize each day.
DA MAN: Finally, what are you most thankful for in life?
Carlos Miranda: I’m just really thankful for “Vida” … pun intended.
Jacket by GAP
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