Thanks to MaskedAlien for sending this in
Adam Rodriguez in Starlog Magazine. March 2002 issue. There are a few pictures in it: 2 UPN publicity shots of Adam, 2 wedding pics of Jesse & Isabel, a group wedding pic, screen cap of Isabel & Jesse with khiver at the bar in interruptus. And a picture of the cast of All Souls.
Interviewer: Bill Florence.
SO I MARRIED AN ALIEN.
Bewithched by his otherwordly bride, Adam Rodriguez still doesn’t know the secrets of Roswell.
Jesse Ramirez got punched in the nose during his bachelor party. On his honeymoon, he endured painful stomach cramps, got locked in the bathroom and later was knocked unconscious by a falling tree branch.
That’s certainly a tough few days for anyone, but it’s hard to feel sorry for the man who plays Jesse on Roswell, actor Adam Rodriguez. Not only was Rodriguez thrust directly into the limelight as Isabel’s new beau for the third season of UPN’s science fiction-then romance series , but he was also called upon to make out with comely Katherine Heigl (Isabel) on his very first day of work.
“It was like, ‘Here’s Katie Heigl,’ and we just got right to it,” Rodriguez smiles. “I had to jump right in. I guess as an actor you’re open to things like that, so I was somewhat relaxed and prepared for it. But at the same, actors are only human and those kinds of scenes certainly can be a little awkward. But it has been great. Everybody was welcoming and friendly from the start, and they made it a really easy transition for me. It’s going well, and I’ve had plenty of fun stuff to do on the show. I had a bachelor party, got married, had a honeymoon. It has been one thing after another.”
The episode “To Have and To Hold,” in particular, threw Rodriguez for a loop. I had a ball doing that one but for me it was weird being up on an altar, looking at this woman in a wedding dress coming towards me, with me standing there in a tuxedo,” says Rodriguez, who is not married, “but I’m not afraid to be,” he insists. “Still even though I knew it wasn’t real, it was a weird thing to go through.”
The following episode, “Interruptus,” showcased a very frustrated Jesse as he tried to consumate his marriage to Isabel on their honeymoon. “I’m telling you, man, this poor guy had a hard time on that honeymoon,” Rodriguez laughs. “But the last two minutes of the episode paid off. The physical aspect of their marriage is a totally natural thing to do, so I was glad the producers didn’t try to avoid it.”
Rodriguez spends most of his time on screen with Heigl whom he calls “a sweetheart. First of all, she’s very talented. She’s so natural and so present in every scene. We actually met before I got the job, because I had to read with her. We did that two or three times before they gave me the part, because they wanted to see what the chemistry was like between us. Katie is a genuinely sweet person. I’ve had fun working with her. We pretty much leave the on-screen relationship to the writers, but when we aren’t working, we spend time talking and getting to know each other. So when you start to develop a friendship like that, it’s natural that it carries over to the screen. We’re comfortable with our on-screen relationship by now, and are ready for whatever twist and turns they’re going to be throwing at us.”
Isabel and Jesse met and fell in love off-screen, so Roswell’s audience never got to see how their relationship began. A few details were related in early third season episodes, but Rodriguez has filled in the rest of the backstory for himself. “Jesse had been in New York for college, and then he
went to Harvard for law school,” the actor explains. “He spent some time working at the big, prestigious law firms in New York, but after a few years, he decided that he needed to come home to Roswell to spend some time with his mother, who wasn’t in great health. He got a job at a small, local
law firm, which also happened to be Isabel’s father’s firm. Jesse met Isabel at a company picnic, and in talking to her, he found out who her dad was, so they decided to be a little careful about their relationship. Isabel didn’t want Max and Micheal to know that she was involved with somebody, but when Isabel and Jesse met it’s pretty much love at first sight, a whirlwind thing. The hush-hush aspect might even have accelerated the pace of their relationship. We kind of ran into each other’s arms.”
Jesse’s sudden marriage might be the most impulsive thing he’ll ever do. He’s clearly at sea among the crazy machinations of the other Roswell characters, whose relationships are constantly in flux even as they battle alien perils and struggle to keep their true nature secret. “Jesse is a young, intelligent guy. He’s a focused, hard-working person with a good heart,” Rodriguez opines. “Unfortunately, in the
Roswell situation, he looks a little naive, like the wool can be pulled over his eyes pretty easily, because he doesn’t know Isabel is an alien. She has done a good job covering it, and in certain situations he looks a little silly because he doesn’t think twice about the things that are happening… or he does think about them briefly, but would never suspect that his wife is not of this Earth.
“It’s a pretty crazy situation, and it just goes to show how trusting Jesse is. He’s a realist. But certainly some things have happened where Jesse has felt like, ‘what the hell is going on?’ In the wedding episode, he had his nose healed by a steak in 30 seconds. And it was very broken; it
wasn’t like it was just banged up. Then, suddenly it was perfectly normal. So that was odd, and it let some doubt into his mind about everything being completely normal. But I don’t think he suspects that anybody’s an extraterrestial.”
In “Interruptus,” Isabel–with help from Max and Micheal–finaly tells Jesse the truth, only to have the scene turn out to be a part of Isabel’s imagination. Rodriguez chuckles at the memory of shooting that sequence. “That was fun. It was written at the last minute,” he reveals. “The episode was running a little short, so they added that extra scene. We were all a little taken aback by it at first, but it turned out to be really funny. It was a great thing . Isabel finally got a chance to actually tell Jesse, and then it ended up being a joke. They wanted us to ham it up a little, so we did. We had fun with it.”
The episode they just finished shooting, “I Married an Alien,” has Rodriguez equally excited. In classic Roswell fashion, it offers a skewed look at what things might be like if Jesse did know his wife’s secret. “It’s a throwback to Bewitched,” the actor offers. “A friend of mine, who’s a reporter, comes to town, and we end up having these flashbacks where we go back to something called I Married An Alien which turns out to be our version of the Bewitched show. So I’m Darrin, Katie’s Samantha and everybody else plays a part in this hilarious, over-the-top sitcom version of Roswell.[The show pretends that] Jesse knows that Isabel has these powers, and that he’s tottaly OK with it. The episode is fantastic, my favorite to date.”
Obviously, Roswell’s producers are thinking along the same lines as the shows fans–that if Jesse does discover his wife is an alien, the series could turn sharply in the direction of Bewitched or I dream of Jeannie. Rodriguez agrees, but points out: “Max has his relationship with Liz and Micheal and Maria have their thing, and Roswell didn’t turn into that [for them]. But who knows? Maybe if the audience loves it, it might turn out being funny. You could take it and run with it.”
Regardless of the potential fallout, Rodriguez still hopes Jesse will be let in on the secret. “I do think he should be made aware,” he remarks. “And I would imagine that sometime down the line, Isabel is going to sit down and tell Jesse, and that will be interesting to see. For the time being, though
his not being aware makes the show very involving, because it provides an element of tension and a bit of suspense for the audience. Viewers are waiting for Isabel to tell Jesse the truth, or for something to happen where he finds it out on his own. Most people probably feel like, ‘why don’t you just tell him, since he loves you?’ But in ‘I Married An alien,’ a situation happens where a friend of Jesse’s lies to him, and he completely exiles this friend from his life. Isabel sees this happen, and she feeels like, ‘wow, this is what happens if you lie to this guy.’ So now she’s really afraid to tell me. We’re ramping up the stakes in a big way. “I would like to see Jesse get into some really tough circumstances,” Rodriguez adds, “where maybe he doesn’t discover the alien secret from Isabel. Maybe he finds out from the government, some secret agency, the CIA or the FBI because they’re suspicious and approach him and start asking questions. He could find out that Isabel and the others are aliens–but he’s still in love with this woman, so he’s going to protect her however he can. I would love to see something like that happen, where we really set the stakes high and create a big dilema for Jesse, Isabel and everybody else involved. Maybe we could have a big scheme to protect eveyone. It would make for some serious drama.”
At the suggestion that he pitch his ideas to the producers, Rodriguez reports: “Actually, I did, and they really liked them. So we’ll see.” Executive producer is reaching for a broader audience with Roswell this year, and the addition of Rodriguez to the cast is one of the changes he has made to accomplish that. Rodriguez calls the presence of a hispanic character “a smart move on the producers’s part. It’s [representative of] the world in which we live. Certainly in Roswell, New Mexico, you’ve got to imagine that there would be at least one Hispanic character on the show. So I think it was something that was necessary for the series. Initially, that’s not what they were looking for though. It so happened that I came in, they liked me and they realized that they could capitalize on my being
Latin. So it worked well. Actually, Majandra Delfino [Maria DeLuca] is Latin too.”
Before Roswell, Rodriguez played Partrick Fortado on the short-lived haunted-hospital series All Souls. “I was disappointed that All Souls didn’t get the chance to find its legs,” he says. “I had a good time doing that show, and I was surprised that it didn’t last longer. I was very confident about it. I felt we had a winner. I knew it would have a niche audience, the way Roswell does, and if that audience caught on, we could have done really well. Unfortunatelly, we didn’t get enough time for that to happen. The episodes were engaging and definitely scary, and in that sense I think All Souls lived up to its promise. But in the ratings it didn’t, and that’s why it was pulled so quickly.”
UPN cancelled the show in April 2000, and Rodriguez swiftly moved on to auditions by the end of june, “I auditioned for Roswell several times before I actually won the role. I finally got it end of July. I don’t think the people of at Roswell were familiar with me from All Souls. I had to go in the room, introduce myself and show them what I could do. I was excited by the prospect of playing a lawyer and working on a series that had been up and running for two seasons. And it was going to a new network, one that was eager to have it.
I get to stand now,” he notes about his role. “I was confined to a wheelchair on All Souls. Actually, it was great playing a paraplegic. Patrick Fortado may have been grittier and more “street” than Jesse Ramizez, but both characters are very intelligent. Patrick was a computer whiz, and and I’m pretty bad with computers, but other than that, I feel that I’m a combination of the two. On All Souls, I was a bit of a wild guy and a smartass, very loose with a good sense of humor and an edge. But there’s a big part of me that’s more like Jesse, who’s more reserved and conservative and ‘by the book.’ There’s a little bit of both in me.”
Coincidentally, All Souls aired in the same tough Tuesday night time slot that Roswell occupies now. “I don’t think All Souls got a fair shake,” Rodriguez asserts. “There’s so much else that goes on in the inner workings of television. Either All Souls didn’t add up in the books, or for whatever reason the right people didn’t get behind it to make it a hit. We filmed the pilot a year before it aired. It was supposed to get a pick-up for the fall season, but something else was given the slot we were vying for. So we got picked up for mid-season, but mid-season didn’t end up being until the following April. So I had to sit around on my hands, waiting for the show to get up and running. So [many variables] go into getting good ratings–publicity, advertising–it’s much more than just putting a great show on the air. And UPN is the smallest network on television, so it’s really an uphill battle.”
When he took the part of Jesse on Roswell, Rodgriguez felt it was an opportunity to “get into a role where I could do that character for a good amount of time, I wasn’t worried about us getting cancelled” But he does realize that Roswell’s ratings have been problematic. “Yeah, they’re pretty lackluster,” he admits. “But I am assuming we will finish out the year. At
this point we won’t know for sure, but I am confident that we will.
“If Roswell ends after this season, I’ll have come away with another year of experience under my belt, a year of working on a more consistent basis. I have more to do in Roswell than I’ve had on any of the other shows I’ve ever done [including Brooklyn South and Felicity]. I wouldn’t call Roswell my big break, but it has certainly given me the most time on the field. I’m getting to play all nine innings on Roswell, which is great. I’ve learned more about being in front of the camera, working the camera, and making the camera work for me.”
There’s always the chance that Roswell could continue beyond this season, and if it does, the actor admits to having mixed feelings about it. “Anything is possible,” Adam Rodriguez comments “We’re are talking about a show that has been cancelled twice already. So who knows what might end up happening? But if it runs three or four more years, that would be tough. That’s not a knock against Roswell; I love working on the show. The cast and crew are phenominal. It’s just that I like to bounce around. Three or four more years on any TV show would be tough for me. But I think we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s wait and see what happens.”