Photo: David Muller / Graphic: RPP
Rudy Martinez fell in love with acting at an early age. He laid the foundation for his craft by studying at UC Santa Barbara and The Margie Haber studio in Los Angeles. Martinez got cast relatively quickly, guest starring on TV shows like Disney’s Good Luck Charlie, Nickelodeon’s iCarly, and, most recently, The CW hit Jane The Virgin.
Martinez then landed his best gig yet, playing the determined intern Marty on NBC's drama Heartbeat. Unfortunately, after this interview was completed the show got cancelled, but thanks to On Demand you can still binge watch Martinez!
We caught up with him to discuss getting into the "medical mindset" on Heartbeat, his best acting advice and more!
RP: Thank you so much for your time, Rudy!
RM: You’re very welcome!
RP: I understand that one of your initial introductions to acting was paying Michael in a school production of Peter Pan when you were little. What acting advice would you go back and give your younger self then?
RM: Yes! I played Michael in Peter Pan and I got to fly. That was so much fun. If I could go back and give myself advice, I would encourage myself to follow my instincts. I honestly can’t remember a time when I followed a hunch that led me in the wrong direction.
RP: Did you go on to receive any sort of training that's really informed your acting philosophy?
RM: I got my BFA in Theater from UC Santa Barbara. They have an excellent acting program and I spent three years studying different acting techniques there. I also trained at a studio here in LA called The Margie Haber studio. That training resonated with me because it is tailored for film and television. I learned to use myself as a blank slate for every role. All of your quirks and the things you do that are uniquely you should be present when acting - after all, they’re what make you special.
RP: Flashing forward, you have guest starred on various television shows like Jane the Virgin, and iCarly. What has been your favorite experience so far and why?
RM: I really loved working on Jane the Virgin because it was such a diverse set. That’s very important to me. There is a lot of diversity in the casting and all of the episodes I was in were directed by women. And of course I got to meet Gina Rodriguez who has been a big voice for diversity in Hollywood.
RP: Speaking of TV roles - congratulations on being a recurring character on Heartbeat! What was the process like for nabbing the role of Marty?
RM: Thank you! At first getting the part was surreal because I hadn’t acted in TV or film for over two years but I felt this strong desire to give it another shot. My manager emailed me with this really awesome part in the Heartbeat pilot and I knew I had to give it my best shot. I went to the audition and within a week I was on a plane to Canada where we shot the pilot. I couldn’t believe I’d gone from almost giving up to nabbing a part in Heartbeat.
RP: Take us through the moment you found out that you got cast!
RM: The day I found out I got cast I couldn’t stop checking my email and texts because I knew I would find out any second. I decided I would go see a play that my friend directed, thinking it would help calm my nerves. Nope! My manager called during the first act and I bolted out of the theater; I felt so bad! He told me I got the part and I basically had to go home and start packing.
RP: Initially, how did you prepare for the role? Was it hard to get into a "medical mindset"?
RM: Once I put on my scrubs I immediately got into the medical mindset. The costumes, sets and props help you get there. It’s like a big game of pretend. We have so many cool props to play with, like stethoscopes, suturing tools and even a cranial drill. I also did a lot of research on the process of becoming a doctor. Marty is an intern, so I tried to always be taking notes, always listening, always eager to help.
RP: What has being on Heartbeat taught you as an actor?
RM: Heartbeat gave me a newfound respect for the art of making television. Really, everyone on set is an artist in their own way. I loved watching the director of photography set up a shot, and how the lighting was crafted to really make the scene pop. Then there was art direction, set dressing, props, the writers, sound… really everyone had a creative role and I have so much respect for the entire process.
RP: You work with some amazing talent like Melissa George and Dave Annable. I read that you are learning so much by simply watching them. Can you perhaps elaborate on some of the things they've taught you or advice they've given?
RM: I would watch Melissa and Dave film their scenes every chance I got. The same goes for Don Hany, Shelley Conn and D. L. Hughley; it’s really an all-star cast. Sometimes you could barely hear them when they were filming, but when you watch the playback the intensity is all behind their eyes. They put so much work into creating an inner life for their characters and it comes across so well on camera.
RP: What's it been like seeing your character evolve over the season and what do you hope for him in the future?
RM: It’s surreal to see my character evolve over the season. When we were filming I tried to keep track of how Marty was changing as a person over the episodes. In episode eight he sees someone collapse and he’s the only doctor around, so he has to think fast to start CPR, which is something he’s never done in a real life situation.
RP: On television, writers have the opportunity to get to know and better understand the actors playing certain roles over time. Therefore they can write to an actor's strengths in a way. What do you think the writers have put into Marty that's from you as a person?
RM: I think once the writers found that I could do comedy, they wrote Marty’s character with that in mind. But I also think I’m very determined in real life, so I think that comes out as well. Even if I don’t succeed, I’ll always give it my best shot.
RP: What is something about acting on a television show that aspiring actors might not
RM: For me I didn’t realize that television acting was somewhat different than theater acting. You’ll hear teachers say “do less” and at first I wasn’t sure what that meant. I thought it meant to be deadpan, or to physically be still, but it didn’t really mean that. It meant to put the intensity behind your eyes. Instead of moving your hands or raising your voice, try thinking the thought of it instead. Of course there will be a time for sight gags and physical stuff, but you’ll also be surprised at what the camera picks up.
RP: Any other upcoming projects you'd like to share?
RM: I do have a few projects coming up that are in development and I’ll be able to share a bit about them very soon!
RP: To end on an inspiring note, what is your best piece of advice for aspiring actors?
RM: Someone once told me, “the check is in the mail” meaning everything you’re doing now will pay off in the long run. Doing a web-series or indie films will give you a lot of practice in front of a camera. Doing smaller projects or helping friends will give you so much knowledge of a working set and let you practice your skills, so try everything and soak up as much as you can.
RP: Thank you so much for your time!
RM: Absolutely! The pleasure is all mine.
Be sure to follow Rudy on twitter @rudymartinezla and us @honeyourcraft!