Exclusive Interview with Erik Valdez of 'Graceland'

Erik Valdez came from a small town in Texas to pursue an acting career in LA. He currently plays the role of Carlito Solano, son of the main cartel leader, in the hit show Graceland. (And you might also know him as Trey Mitchell from General Hospital!) Read the Exclusive ShareTV Interview to find out what Erik thinks about playing the role of Carlito and how he gets into character, racing cars, and The Bachelorette.

Erik-Smile

ShareTV: Do you like playing the role of a "bad guy" (Carlito Solano on Graceland) and is there anything specific you do to get into character?

Erik Valdez: It's a lot of fun to play a bad guy. In preparing for the role you really have to go to some dark places and depending on what we are shooting that day, it's like we have our good days and our bad days just like in real life. As bad as he is, there were some days where he is a little more lighthearted and more fun. In more upcoming episodes, you will really get to see the darker side of Carlito and get little glimpses as to why he is the way he is. As for preparing for that, I will get to set a little bit earlier and I will go over my dialogue just so all of that is in my head. Then Manny, who plays Johnny, and I will go and find a dark corner of the room and run through things or talk over things a little bit. Neither one of us like to go into a scene too prepared, and I don't mean not prepared with the material, but we just want to not over think things so we can explore them in the moment. It's a really good sense of realism to what is going on in their relationship and in those character's lives.

ShareTV: You also played Trey Mitchell in General Hospital, is filming a soap opera different from working on the set of Graceland?

EV: It's completely different. There is a lot of dialogue and we will shoot a whole episode in one day on a soap opera versus one episode every ten days like in Graceland. You get one, two, maybe three takes when doing a soap opera. There is a whole lot of pre-preperation and knowing your stuff. You don't have the luxury of messing up a take, so it really forces you to be prepared. With episodic television you have a lot more freedom to play around with your character. Not to say that one way is better than the other, they are just completely different styles. If I had to preference, I do like episodic television. I like the ability to try different things that may or may not work and to have the luxury of doing another take. With soap operas there are some elements of a rush, like doing live theater, that you don't get with episodic television.

ShareTV: I hear that you were born in Lubbock, Texas and grew up in El Paso. Is there anything you miss about your hometown?

EV: Yeah. I live in LA now and I've called in home for about ten years now. Anytime you go away on location, it's exciting at times, but their are friends in LA, which I call home now, that I miss. But as far as Texas, absolutely. I think a lot of Texans are really proud of being from Texas and I miss the slower pace of life. I miss the country aspect. I miss my open spaces. I miss friendly people and just a lot of things that you don't get in LA. I guess with anybody, whenever you have a good experience, you are going to miss those things. LA is such a great place and has a lot to offer, but I think my heart will always be in Texas.

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ShareTV: I saw you tweeting about The Bachelorette the other night! Who do you think Andi will pick in the end and would you ever consider being the next Bachelor if asked?

EV: Haha, you know it is interesting to watch that whole process of people courting one another and not just an individual on another individual. I guess at this point she has three dudes now, or maybe two. It's just bizarre how so many people interact with one person like that. One day she is flirty and happy with a guy and then the other guy (Chris) it was just uncomfortable to watch. I felt so bad for the poor guy! He got sent home and he was heartbroken. I guess that is how it goes. In terms of me ever doing The Bachelor, I don't know about that. I don't think I could go through that process. The idea of dating multiple women and being able to get away with it just because it is part of the process would be kinda cool. But now, nah I couldn't do it. It would feel to strange to me.

ShareTV: If you could be anything in the world besides an actor, what would you be?

EV: I would be a race car driver, hands down. That has always been my number one passion. I grew up loving cars and motorsports. I did race on the lower levels for about ten years when I was younger. Whenever you climb the ladder of motorsports, it just gets so expensive. I didn't have the money, so I chose to focus more on my acting career. That has seemed to pan out a little bit better than the motorsports. However, I will always be involved in racing cars in some form or fashion. It won't ever be a career at this point, but ya know a lot like Patrick Dempsey, that guy loves racing. He went off and did Grey's Anatomy, made his money, and now he's racing, so I would be totally stoked if I got to follow in those footsteps.

Erik-Car

ShareTV: If you could go on tour with any band/singer who would you want to tour with?

EV: It would've been George Strait. that being said, I just went to his final concert. That would've been amazing. I'm from Texas, so I'm a huge country music fan. In terms of people who are still touring: Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, or Jason Aldean. Either one of those guys would be my top three picks. They seem to have a lot of fun and I just love their music.

ShareTV: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

EV: It's hard to narrow it down! Honestly, I think it would have to be flying. The idea of being super strong or being able to make yourself invisible is really cool, but I think at its core, being able to fly around and just be free sounds really appealing to me.

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Photo Credits: Russell Baer

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See Erik on Graceland and check out these clips below!

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