Spotlight: Midnight, Texas Season Two Set Visit - Nestor Carbonell on Joining the Cast

Nestor CarbonellThe first of the round table interviews on 9/12 during SciFi Vision’s Midnight, Texas set visit in Albuquerque was with Nestor Cabonell, who plays the character of Kai Lucero, a healer, who moves to Midnight in season two with his wife, Patience (Jaime Ray Newman). The two, who build a hotel and spa next to Home Cookin’, are greeted with suspicion by the other Midnighters.

Carbonell took time to tell us about his character and working on Midnight, Texas this season.

What are you able to share with us about how we are first introduced to your character?

Nestor CarbonellNESTOR CARBONELL: I’m introduced in the first episode of the season, so you’ll see me right away, as healer Kai.

I was approached by Nicole [Snyder] and Eric [Charmelo]. I had worked with them on a show years ago. And they called me to say, “Hey listen, would you be interested in doing an arc this season?” And I go, “Yeah, what’s the role?” I wanted to find out about the role, and they said, “healer.” I go, “Well, I’ve never fully played that before.” And in fact, I hadn’t, so I was immediately intrigued.

And then I read the material, and I thought, wow this is out there; this is great; what a great thing for an actor to take. It’s sort of a complete departure from what I’ve been doing recently.

And so, I grounded the character. I wanted to ground him as much as I could with the healing aspect.

So, I started Reiki Healing and just went online and just scoured the Internet for as much information [as I could find], and now I’m hooked.

I haven’t done it yet -

I was going to say, have you tried it? You just researched it?

Not yet. Not yet. I do it on other people. No, I don’t. [laughs] I am a grand master. [laughs] I am really good...

No, it’s all good; I can feel all of your auras. No. [laughs]

But I’m kind of into it; I’m sold. I get that; I get the notion of energy and how it can be transferred, and how in Reiki, Chi stands for universal life force, and, you know, I kind of get that.

So I’ve been trying to ground my character into as much of that as I could and sort of take a big swing. Because, I mean, as you know, it’s a big world, and you can’t go halfway. You have to dive in, and at the same time, you want to make it as truthful as you can, so that the audience can suspend its disbelief.

SCIFI VISION: What’s it been like joining a cast in the middle of the story, where the other characters have already been established?

It’s a good question. Well, the good thing for me on this season, is that it feels - I didn’t get to see the first season, but from what I gather, it’s sort of an anthology of sorts. Like thematically this season, and in terms of story, it’s its own sort of contained story. So, in that respect, we’re kind of starting fresh, in a sense. Even though they have their short hand, the actors, it’s a fresh storyline. So, in that respect, I didn’t feel like it was a complete moving train. But yeah, you never know when you join a new set and it’s sort of [already] going on, what the vibe is in terms of the style exactly. You know, what are we going for? You know, even though there’s a lot of humor, you don’t really want to camp it up; you never want to play at it. So, trying to find the tone is always a tricky thing.

Nestor CarbonellYou’ve had a long career in the business...but how is this role different from all you’ve done before? You’re at the point where I’m sure you can pick and choose, so what grabbed you on this one?

Well, thank you, first of all. I think It was the notion that I hadn’t played a healer before. Any role that I’m lucky enough to get, to me, any job is great, because you can always find stuff. You know, if it’s a cop, I’ve played police officers; I’ve played agents before. If there’s something nuanced in it, you can always hook into it, or some element of backstory, some misbehavior about the character, usually, you find things. But this is such a departure, except for Richard on LOST, that had sort of elements of that.

This guy is a different beast, and it’s just the notion that I could dive into something else, like Reiki Healing, for my own thing. That, to me, is exciting. It’s like anything. It’s like, I’m sure for you guys, when you do a story that you haven’t done before, it just inspires you to want to research or write about something else. It’s really no different as an actor, or for a cast member, or for the crew to shoot something unusually different. And it really feels like that for me. And the stakes are so outrageous; that’s always fun.

You know, coming off of Bates Motel, where things were quite grounded - even though it was a psychological thriller, [laughs] there were some strange things, but for the most part it was grounded in real life. Where [in this], we talk about other worlds and vampires and really stretching the imagination.

Are you putting your Reiki knowledge into your character, or are you pretty much like what they wrote is what you’re following?

Yeah, I mean, I definitely followed what they wrote, but I tried to - like there’re some movements that I’ve gotten from the Reiki where I’ve tried to apply some of the process. I had it come up when I healed people. I had to come up with a version of it. It’s a little bit Reiki; it’s a little bit of what this character is. So, it’s a bit of a mish-mash.

But it’s like anything. As an actor, I think you want to ground any material so that if you believe it, then hopefully the audience will believe it. But if you don’t believe it, then good luck, you know? So, I have to make it as real to me as I can, even as outrageous as the stakes may seem.

What has it been like for you - this will be your first time here with the cast in Albuquerque?


How have you been influenced by Albuquerque?

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a car here, but I’ve been walking [laughs] a lot. I’ve been staying in a hotel that’s near Old Town, which is just beautiful. And in talking to a lot of people from here, from Albuquerque and just in New Mexico in general, there is a feeling here. I have picked up on the energy; it feels extremely spiritual.

Nestor CarbonellAnd I’ve been speaking to somebody about it. They’re like, “Well you have to go to Taos, because If you want to feel energy, you will definitely feel it at Taos.”

There’s obviously a lot of mystery here, and I can definitely feel the energy. Driving from the hotel to here, and just looking at the landscape and how beautiful and vast it is, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. There is an energy, absolutely.

And you know, in New Mexico, people could not have been more welcoming or kinder.

You definitely feel it. So, it’s alive, and it’s open, and it’s certainly been helpful to me as a character to have that energy over here, because you go to a place where you feel it in the aura, that it’s closed, and it’s a little harder to open up as an actor and certainly in a role like this.

I’m assuming your character and Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley) will possibly intersect, because they’re kind of operating in similar worlds.

Interesting. Could be. Could be. Maybe.

And I don’t mean romantically, I just mean -

Well I do! [laughs] No.

[laughs] I’m just thinking in terms of like the healer and the witch.


Because those are always-


In some societies and cultures, they are one and the same. But here your character’s a little more of like the native spirituality, the native healer?

Yes. I think there is a bit of that, absolutely, and with everything that Nicole and Eric do, there’re great twists, whether it’s story, or whether it’s character. So, you will see peaks and valleys. They’ll explore a lot of different facets of each character, and certainly with mine you’ll see all kinds of colors.

SCIFIVISION: Can you talk about his relationship with Patience?

Nestor CarbonellAbsolutely. So, Patience is the love of his life, and I’ll tell you what I can say. We met twelve years ago when I was healing people down the east coast, and we’ve moved now to Midnight, because we knew the energy here was different, and we knew that that there were a lot of people coming here. We knew that it was just a lot easier for me to operate because of the energy and the number of people I could heal here. So, that’s what brought us here.

Yeah, she is everything to me. I don’t think I have any other roots outside of Patience. She’s changed my world.

Can you give us one tease for only our group of journalists?

A tease about my character. He definitely, at the risk of this sounding blasphemous, he definitely borrows from Christ. There you go. And that tease will come to fruition in the first episode.

**Be sure to check out the rest of the coverage of the event, and stay tuned for much more, including the rest of the full individual interviews and more set photos.**

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