Eric Winter: 20 Years in La-La Land

Eric Winter has delved into a lot of stuff in the past two decades, from modeling and acting to doing voiceover for video games and writing a book. So, what’s next for the multitalented actor?

Shirt by Oren Kash
Shirt by Oren Kash

American actor Eric Barrett Winter originally studied psychobiology and planned to become a doctor. It wasn’t until he took an acting class as one of his electives that he fell in love with the art of acting. During his medical school days, Winter also had a successful modeling career where he was featured in the campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger and Britney Spears’ fragrance line. It was during this period that he delved deeper into acting and eventually took the leap to become a fulltime actor.

So far, the father of two has appeared in various TV series and movies—of various genres, too. Winter has been in hit TV series like “Days of Our Lives” and “The Mentalist” as well as feature films like “Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay” and “The Ugly Truth.” His current acting gig sees him as Officer Tim Bradford in ABC’s crime drama “The Rookie,” a show about a man who becomes the oldest rookie cop in Los Angeles—a city notorious for its crime and one that Winter is all too familiar with.

Apart from being acting, Winter has also produced several movies including “Death of a Vegas Showgirl’ in 2016 and co-wrote a children book titled “Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha’ with his wife Roselyn Sánchez. In short, Winter is best described as a versatile and multitalented actor.

Find out more about Eric Winter in our exclusive interview below:

DA MAN: You have a lot of acting roles under your belt, with the most recent one being as training officer Tim Bradford in ABC’s “The Rookie.” How did you get there?

Eric Winter: This is a role I had to fight for, and it was a tough role for me to get because it was so against type for me. The funny thing was that I knew a lot of people involved with this project—I knew the director and producers of the pilot because I did my last pilot for ABC with them, but I had to prove myself all over again, to them, to the other producers, to the creator Alexi Holly, and to the network and studio who I had worked with in the past. It was a role very against type for me, which made it exciting, but it was also an uphill battle for me to climb. Thankfully, I was able to show everybody how versatile I am as an actor and knock it out of the park in the audition process. It was hard-earned.

DA: Did you get to train with the Los Angeles Police Department in preparation for the role?

EW: I did a lot of training and prep with the L.A.P.D. for the show. We have an amazing tech advisor, Chic Daniel, who took us to the shooting range and taught us tactical techniques and how to make arrests and clear rooms. He also set me up with three different ride-alongs: I did one with West L.A., one with the Rampart Division, which is a very tough division, and one with Southeast, which is also very tough. I was able to get out there on the streets for quite a few hours and see how they handle tricky situations and respond throughout the whole process.

Shirt by Soulstar
Shirt by Soulstar

DA: Season two of the show is set to air this September. What can you tell us about the upcoming season?

EW: Season two is going to be very exciting. You’re going to get a lot of the fun and fast-paced storytelling that we did in season one but even more so in season two. You’re going learn a lot about the characters and who they are behind the badge, how the job affects them, how they operate outside of work and what makes them tick as people, which I think is super exciting to watch.

DA: The show is set in Los Angeles, where you live. It’s also a city notorious for its crime rate. Does it scare you that what happens in the show could possibly happen in real life?

EW: You know, I was raised in L.A. and have been around a lot of crazy things. I grew up in an area that wasn’t the best, and we had a lot of problems in my hometown. So, to that end, the show doesn’t scare me with the things that are out there. We do tackle a lot of extreme circumstances on the show because we want to keep things exciting for the viewers, but I think the show has helped me understand how to read environments and observe my surroundings better to keep my family feeling safe. I honestly love L.A. I always feel safe in L.A., and the L.A.P.D. does a great job here, so I love my city.

DA: Besides TV, you’ve also worked for movies like “Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” “The Ugly Truth” and “Fire with Fire.” Which movie do you find most memorable? And are there any specific genres you’d like to tackle in the future?

EW: In film, I would say “The Ugly Truth,” because it was such a big film for me with a great cast, and it was just so fun to be involved in that project. But there’s also “Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” which leads me to the genre I want to do more of: comedy. I love comedy. I do a lot of dramas, and I have done some comedy, but I would love to dive in and explore the genre even more. I have such a great time doing it.

Jacket by Paraval, shirt and pants by William Lei
Jacket by Paraval, shirt and pants by William Lei

DA: You were also involved in a video game project, “Beyond: Two Souls,” where you lend your voice to one of the characters. How was that experience compared to the other projects you’ve been involved in?

EW: This was by far one of the unique projects I’ve ever done—and one of the most difficult. We used full motion capture for every aspect of my body—not just my voice but my likeness as well. And in doing that, we captured so many incredible moments. We were in a tiny room with 36 cameras on you at all times. There were no real props or wardrobe, just your acting ability and scene partner. It was one of the greatest learning experiences ever, as a true acting class. I also got to work with Ellen Page, William Dafoe, and Kadeem Hardison, which was incredible. That project is very special to me.

DA: If we can go back to the beginning of your career, you graduated with a degree in psychology from U.C.LA. What was it that made you decide to be an actor and not a psychologist?

EW: I was actually a psycho-biology major and I wanted to be a doctor. While taking some drama classes as an elective, I started falling in love with the creative arts. At first, it was something that was a bit of a sidetrack, and my family was confused because they were paying for me to go to college and become a doctor. In the end, I still graduated and got my degree, but I think the curiosity of the arts is what turned the tables for me and made me want to explore that more. I also had a modeling career for quite a while, thankfully, one that I made a good living at. And while modeling, I started studying even more acting outside of school. That really helped me transition from school and took the true leap into acting.

DA: As a model you were involved in several high profile campaigns such as for Tommy Hilfiger and for Britney Spears’ perfume campaign. Can you tell us more about that phase of your life?

EW: Modeling was an incredible time for me—did some great campaigns with Tommy Hilfiger and the Britney Spears “Curious’ campaign. However, modeling, more than anything, allowed me to travel the world, and that’s one of my passions. I was able to live in Europe, New York and all over the world and really experience what it was like to be on my own and accountable for myself in my early 20s. The gift of travel was one of the greatest things modeling ever gave me.

DA: Is it true that you were given an English Bulldog by Sharon Osborne? What’s the story behind that?

EW: That is true! This is an incredible story. I was on a guest on her talk show discussing my previous role on “Days of Our Lives” and in my pre-interview for the show, they asked me if I had any pets. I told them that I had just bought a house but was very excited to get my first dog and I love English bulldogs just like the ones Sharon has. While I was on the show, her crew brought out and gave me a little English bulldog puppy, which I eventually named Lily. At first, I thought it was a joke, but it was really a gift from Sharon to me for my first dog, and it was incredible. Lily gave me 13 amazing years, so I’m eternally grateful and thankful for what Sharon did for me. Lily was a huge part of my life.

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DA: You and your wife Roselyn Sánchez starred alongside each other in Hallmark’s “A Taste of Summer.” What was it like working along with your wife on set?

EW: We had previously produced a TV movie for Lifetime called “Death of a Vegas Showgirl” together, but “Taste of Summer” was the first time we ever acted opposite each other in a project. It was so much fun and we had a great time. At first, we were nervous because we had no clue what it was going to be like; but luckily, everybody seemed to love it and our real-life chemistry played well on screen. We had a blast, laughed a lot and learned how each other works on set. We were also able to have our kids there the whole time. It was just incredible to do something sweet and heartfelt that our family was able to actually watch together on TV—and the kids loved it! It was a great experience and we’d definitely do it again.

DA: We heard that you also co-wrote a book with your wife that was inspired by your daughter. Can you tell us a bit about it?

EW: We wrote a children’s book together called “Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha,” inspired by our daughter and her love for dance. It was something we thought the market was lacking. Most dancing books for girls are about ballet, and ours is about Latin rhythms and ballroom dancing, which really is for both boys and girls and speaks to my wife’s Puerto Rican culture. This book is a fun, imaginative story about a little girl who goes into the Land of Cha Cha Cha and learns dance, like the Merengue and the Samba. It’s a really cute book that was made with a lot of love, so go check it out if you haven’t!

Shirt by Soulstar
Shirt by Soulstar

DA: You’ve been acting since 1999. In your career’s 20-year span, what do you think changed most about the industry since you first started?

EW: I have been acting for 20 years; it blows my mind, and I’m thankful that I’m still able to do it and be successful. The industry has changed in a lot of great ways to where there’s so much crossover now. People are doing anything and everything as far as actors crossing mediums, which I love. It’s definitely a more competitive business now because I’ve seen more film actors doing television than ever before. It’s pretty insane, but there’s so much room for creativity now with all the platforms out there that it makes for a very fun time to be an actor. So, I’m looking forward to what the next 20 years bring!

 

Outfit by Oren Kash
Outfit by Oren Kash
Blazer by William Kei, shirt by Soulstar, pants by Oren kash
Blazer by William Kei, shirt by Soulstar, pants by Oren kash
Hoodie by Oren Kash
Hoodie by Oren Kash

 

Photography Jonathan D’Ambrosio

Grooming Natalia Malova

Stylist Alex & Anakin

U.S.-Based Creative Director Mitchell McCormack

 

 

 

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