If you were watching Disney Channel around 2010, actor Adam Irigoyen is likely a familiar face. Adam starred as ‘Deuce Martinez’ on Shake It Up, opposite Bella Thorne and Zendaya, for 3 seasons. Since the series ended in 2013, Adam Irigoyen has continued his acting career with stints on shows such as The Last Ship, 2 Broke Girls, Whitney, The Fosters and Major Crimes.
More recently, Adam currently recurs as ‘Isaac Rodriguez’ on the Netflix drama Away. He graciously sat down with Courageous Nerd to chat all about it.
Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Adam Irigoyen (AI): Oh yeah, no worries, man.
How has your experience been in the pandemic?
AI: You know, I’m doing everything I can to keep myself busy. Lately, I’ve been trying to do a lot more reading and writing. Just surround myself with great writing and great material for when this is all over and I get to go back to work. Got to stay sharp and ready.
Do you have any good binge recommendations from during quarantine?
AI: I was catching up on a lot of old movies that I haven’t seen. I hadn’t seen Giant with James Dean, old movies like that. I’m really into old movies. I just appreciate it. So yeah, I was catching up on a bunch of those.
You’re an actor with many projects under your belt. What do you most enjoy about your profession?
AI: Honestly, I enjoy the ability to be able to discover different characters. From project to project, no character’s really going to be the same. No character’s really going to have had the same life experiences or same things that affect them in the world we meet them in, right?
It’s always been the most fun for me to really distinguish: “How’s this person different from me? How’s this person different from the last character I played?” and so on. I think that sort of character study is unmatched to me.
A lot of your fans grew up watching you in Disney Channel projects – Shake It Up, Wizards of Waverly Place. How much earlier before that did you start your career?
AI: Not much longer, honestly. I moved out to LA when I was 11 years old. When I started on Shake It Up, I believe I was 12, about to turn 13. About a year-and-a-half prior.
Shake It Up premiered a decade ago. What advice would the Adam Irigoyen of 2020 give 2010 Adam?
AI: I would say never be complacent. I think especially in this industry, when you get a little work, you sort of tend to forget all the hard work that you put in to get there. Sometimes, not always. You can definitely fall victim to that. One of the things that I, the Adam of 2020, try to do is to never be really comfortable. Always know that there’s more work to be done and more goals to be accomplished. More things to do.
After Shake It Up ended, how important was it for you to do diverse projects in your later career?
AI: Oh, very important. That’s one of the things… not only being able to work but also to be able to create projects that inspire people, are thought provoking and really just make people think. Something relatable. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed to be able to be a part of projects that I would consider as such.
You’re playing the role of Isaac on ‘Away’. In your own words, maybe try to explain the show to those who are unfamiliar?
AI: Yeah, so if anybody hasn’t seen the show, it’s on Netflix so they can definitely check it out. As far as a synopsis and all that goes, the show centres around Emma Green, who’s played by Hilary Swank. This group of 5 Astronauts go on the first manned mission to Mars. The show follows their relationships, the relationships of those they leave back home, what brought them to be on this mission to Mars in the first place.
It’s this storyline in space accompanied by the storyline on Earth led by Emma’s husband Matt, who’s played by Josh Charles and her daughter, played by Talitha Bateman. It’s their life on Earth now that their maternal figure has left for 3 years and what that does to them. Life doesn’t stop for them like it doesn’t stop for Emma.
I play, like you said, Isaac. Isaac meets Alexis (Bateman) fairly quickly after her Mom leaves for Mars. They kind of grow a connection there and, you know, throughout the series, Isaac plays this emotional safeguard, if you will, for Alexis. He becomes her safe place, the person she can confide in. The person that makes her feel normal in these very not normal circumstances.
How have you found the experience of being on a show that people can binge compared to weekly network TV?
AI: Yeah, it’s definitely different. The work that goes into it is different, the outcome is obviously different. It’s fun, each has their own system. I enjoy both. When you do an hour-long drama like that, it’s really sort of a block and shoot. You show up to work and you’re already filming. When you film for sitcom television, there’s at least 3 days of rehearsal before you film for a couple of days. So, definitely different beasts, but they both have a lot of really great qualities in my eyes.
As an actor being given a new character to play, what aspects of the performance do you think about first?
AI: I touched on this a little but that idea of how they’re different from me or how they’re the same as me. When I start working on something like that, for me at least, I try to highlight the things that I have to put a little more work into. Maybe start to realise the things that maybe me and him have in common. Maybe I don’t need to put as much work into this aspect as I would, some other one, if that makes sense.
That’s where I start and really for me, it’s just about asking a lot of questions. Where do they come from? What are their experiences before we meet them, that have brought them to this point? You know, things like that just to start to get a feel for who he is.
In terms of your real-life personality, would you say you are similar/different to the character of Isaac?
AI: I’d say that we’re both very caring, especially for people that we hold dear. He does that really well throughout the season. Showing Alexis his love for her and his commitment to their relationship. I would say that I feel that in many ways, I could be caring like that.
Due to the close bond between Isaac and Alexis, did you have to audition with Talitha Bateman to secure the chemistry, or was it all separate?
AI: I auditioned initially by myself and when I got called back, I ended up having to fly into Canada for a day. I flew into Canada in the morning, waited at the production office for about an hour. Then, I tested with Talitha and we did our chemistry read. I hung out in the production office for an hour longer and ended up flying home the same day.
In the gap between Shake It Up and Away, you appeared in several other television series. Do you have a favourite or one that stands out in your mind?
AI: They all hold different places in my heart. The Last Ship is something that I felt was a really important part of my career. That was the first set I was able to be an adult on. Prior to that, I had to have my schooling – you know, child labor laws. The Last Ship was the first time where I could work as a full-fledged adult and I learned so much working on that show.
Centurion is a move that I did last year, a few months before Away. That’s another one that’s near and dear to me. Not only because of the content of the movie but just the experience I had and the people I got to meet. It was this independent movie we filmed up in Napa for about 30 days and we all got very close, very fast. It was a really great experience.
The world is obviously dealing with unprecedented circumstances, with the pandemic. If you could, what messages/sentiment would you send to fans of your work?
AI: Yeah, stay safe right now. Make sure you’re taking advantage of this time. There’s been a lot of bad to come from this pandemic and how it’s affected the world. I’m a big believer and there’s a silver lining in everything. You just got to find it. Take advantage of this time that we usually might not have and spend it with loved ones. As much as you can obviously, maybe not your grandparents. Spend it doing something that you always wanted to do. Spend it watching Away on Netflix.
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