Looking for Frankie Alvarez

Looking for Frankie Alvarez

Hi, Frankie. Please, tell us a little about your artistic and professional path before prime-time television
I went to Julliard, and graduated in 2010. After that, I basically bounced around the U.S, doing regional theatre productions like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

How was the adjustment from stage acting to screen acting?
On Looking, when we are filming the show, a lot of it is about drifting away. Taking on any sort of artistry or any kind of rhythm that occurs on a regular television show. Andrew Haigh really encourages us to stay open and to stay in the moment, and he really wants to feel like the camera is another friend, hanging out with the group. In order to achieve that, obviously, we are banking on our chemistry and continuing to associate with each other. We’re trying to do this the most realistic way possible. On a show like Smash (in which he appeared on before Looking), you kind of act with a big “A” but this show is about getting away from that, so you could really reveal some truth.

Let’s talk about your character, Augustin. He is in his early thirties and he is making life changing decisions, professionally and romantically. How do you relate to this aspect of his life on a personal level?
Because Augustin is an artist and so am I, there is a kind of fear that creeps up. That kind of fear can be either motivating or debilitating. And for someone like Augustin, in the first season, it ends up being something so debilitating for his friendships and for his self confidence that he ends up making a series of decisions that alienates his friends and his boyfriend and gets him fired. For me, I find more healthy ways of dealing with that fear but for Augustin, it’s a little tougher. So, I can definitely relate to being in those shoes.

His behaviour is quite different from the pilot to the finalé. It can, somehow, earn him the title of the least loveable character on the show. What is your take on his journey?
I never got a show of this magnitude before. I didn’t know what the reaction was going to be like. When I signed on to play the part, I was excited by those complications. It was some kind of bold challenge and I thought this guy is so radically different from me – but I can pull this off. When it comes down to work, you really can’t let those judgements get in the way. I can’t afford the luxury of being able to judge Augustin. When you watch the show, you see him commit some heinous acts but he’s not murdering people. He is just following his first impulse and he’s realizing that that impulse isn’t the best thing for his relationships. So, I admire Augustin in a lot of ways and I like that he’s provoking a strong reaction with people. It’s nice that he’s polarising. I think that is one of the best thing the show does.

Having played a character like Prince Hal in “Henry IV” must have helped you in your work with Augustin? Both characters acting out their lives?
The thing about Shakespeare’s characters is that even when they lie to each other, they are never going lie to the audience. I think in like manner, Andrew’s storytelling sort of function the same way as Shakespeare’s relationship to the audience. He lets you in on their motivations. You can tell Augustin is struggling. The mood of the show let you in on the emotional experience of what’s happening. You can tell, specially in the second season, that he is meandering a little bit. Even though his dialogue has a lot of verbatim and confidence, it is just a mask to cover the severe fear and insecurities that he is feeling.

Is the cast as close in real life as your characters are on screen?
I’m coming to Europe next week. Obviously, I’m staying with Russell (Tovey) one night when I’m in London. It’s just so nice. You know, we’re all such good friends. We go out on the weekends. Take care of each other. It doesn’t stop when we’re not shooting. It’s been really great to add this kind of friendship to my life.

What can you tell us about season 2?
I think people who got pushed away by Augustin in the first season might come to embrace him. I think he’s starting to become more self aware and he’s making more of an effort within his relationship with his friends and in his dating life. But before that happens, he has to hit rock bottom.

People are going to really love and embrace the show. The events that occurs in the first four episodes are very strong. I’m just astounded by how beautiful the show is. It’s funnier and brighter. It’s more exciting.

Tell us about your new projects besides Looking..
A good buddy of mine and I have written this musical about a former band whose lead singer disappeared years ago. The musical is about a reunion concert where the band gets back together and play some of their old songs and secrets get revealed. It’s a beautiful show we’ve been putting through workshops in a couple of theatres and it’s been a great creative outlet for me when I’m not working on Looking.

Then a buddy of mine and I are writing a movie about a team of baseball players but we are really in the beginning stage. I’m auditioning for stuff as well, so I might be doing a movie or a play or something but in the meantime, the writing projects are really what appeals to me. It’s better to be busy than to be bored.

Looking Season 1 will be available to own on DVD and blu-ray from Monday 12 January