Published: Thursday, 16 February 2023 16:01 | Written by Jamie Ruby
In the film Condor’s Nest, a decade after Nazi Germany has fallen, American pilot Will Spalding (Jacob Keohane) travels to South America to track down the Nazi Colonel who executed his crew during the war. During his travels he encounters bar owner Hipolito, played by Jorge Garcia. The actor recently spoke with SciFi Vision about working on the film, using an accent, how he lost his luggage right before filming, what he looks for in a script, his thoughts on returning for a Lost reunion, if he still is in contact with the cast, what it was like to have action figures, and much more. Watch the full interview and read the transcript below. Be sure to check out the film Condor's Nest, currently available on Demand.
***edited for clarity and length***
SCIFI VISION: How did you get to work on this film? How did that come about?
JORGE GARCIA:They sent me the script and offered the part. It's a small part, but I read the script, and I thought the script was really good. I thought sure, all right, I'll do my little bit to help tell the story.
What was it in particular about the script that you really liked a lot that made it connect with you?
You get sent a lot of scripts that are small indie features, and this one was particularly good, just generally like a story that hooked you, had intrigue. I thought he did a good job with it. So, that was basically it. I also then went and looked up the director and I found a little teaser for the movie he did beforehand, and I was impressed with his ability to get like kind of real production value on such a small budget. So, I was impressed.
So, when you do something like this that is not a lot of lines, a smaller part, is it harder to create that character? Do you have to make up a lot of the backstory in your head, or does it really, as an actor, not make a difference?
I think I do that a lot in general, filling in the blanks myself, on almost everything. The challenge with this one is the accent is not something that I normally do or am that totally confident in, but it is an accent of my heritage, basically. So, I was able to basically reach out to my cousin, and be like, “Hey, do me a favor? Will you record yourself saying these words, and don't worry about acting them out or whatever, just so I can kind of hear what it sounds like.” I got the gist of it through that, and that was kind of it.
When you do something like that, do you stay in the accent in between filming, or do you just kind of turn it on and off?
No, I'm not one of those actors that, you know, “Please just call me Hipolito” when I’m on set. [laughs] For me, my limited thing with accents, is there'll be like certain things a phrase or something or a part of one of the lines that I feel kind of is my “in,” in a sense. So, I can just kind of turn it on with that. When I was an acting class, we were doing a scene, and we were supposed to be British. [laughs], and it would just be my scene partner and I. Right before we started, we were like, “British, British,” and then go into it. So, it’s just having like a little in. It's kind of almost like doing an impression of somebody where you have the thing that's your little that's your in on it.
Other than for the accent, was there anything else that you did to prepare before taking the role?
No, I mean, it was pretty straightforward bit, I have a little bit of moving the plot forward and kind of connecting certain people in the movie, but I didn't need to do much as far as preparation to know how to wipe a glass.
Yeah, I know, that’s true.
It was kind of easy. The real work, I think, was done. And they put together a pretty great little set in the basement of this restaurant that when I walked down there it felt like - I mean, there's a lot that's behind the cameras that you don't see, but it felt period. It felt dingy. That created the scene really well, and that really kind of informed my place in it, I think.
[Speaking of that], I was going to ask, as an actor, how important is that, the environment, your costume, that kind of thing? Because this had a lot of really good costumes.
Everything helps. You kind of train and study and you learn to try and do without it. As an actor, you should be able to perform your scene opposite an empty chair. However, if you're lucky to have another actor sitting in that chair, it makes a big difference. In the same way, if there's something about your outfit that just feels more right, it just gives you more…There’re just little things that in your guts you’re like, “I kind of get more of this guy.” [My character had] kind of like an open shirt, like a T-shirt and stuff. Also the great thing about the basement was there wasn't a lot of air circulation. You felt the humidity and the sweatiness of that place. So, you just kind of learn that whatever you get to use, it's worth using.
Now, I had asked you about making up things. I'm just curious, was there anything that you can think of that made up for this character that we don't know about?
No, I didn't. There wasn't much there that I felt called for to have a secret like that.
I get that. That makes sense. So, what do you in particular look for, when you get like scripts? You say you get a lot of indie scripts… What is it that you are looking for?
Well, first, I like a good story that keeps my attention. Characters that you care about is huge, because there're so many times I'm watching a movie, and it's like, “Why isn't this movie affecting me?” Or “Why don't I like this movie?” and I realize it's because I don't care about these people going through this thing. It's a huge thing for a script to achieve. Then, after that, it'll be like, “Okay, that's the story?” [Then], “What's my bit in it? What is my part of the piece?” and if it's inspiring, or if there's a challenge in it, something that scares me, things like that. Then, you also look at who you're going to work with. Who else is in it? Who's the director? You kind of you go through a few [tests]. Like, it passes this test. Now I’ll try this, and it passes that test. But everything is also on an individual basis. There'll be some things where I'll be like, “Yeah, I’m in. I mean, sure, I'll read the script when I get it, but I'm already in.” Like, when Rob Zombie calls you and says, “I'm making the monsters for universal,” I'm like, “Sure, no problem. Tell me what you want me to do.”
Then you're happy to do it.
…There're certain things there's also leniency [on]. It's not like a specific checklist, but they'll be things, like low budgets are kind of judged on a slightly different standard in a way than a more studio-y kind of thing. In the long run, it ends with my gut feeling about it.
That makes sense. When I talked to Jackson [Rathbone] earlier in the week, he was telling me that he spent time hanging out with [and learning from] Michael Ironside. Is there anybody on the cast that you sort of hung out with or interacted with? I know, you probably weren't there a long time for this.
I didn't. My period is so short. I landed, and the airline lost my luggage. I came and worked one day. They bought extra T-shirts for my character, so they gave me one so I could wear a clean shirt the next day. I picked up my luggage at the airport on my way to check in for my flight back. So, I didn't really run into anyone except who I was in the scene with…Also, Michael Ironside had either already shot [his scenes] by the time I showed up, or we just didn't work the same day at all. They’d be talking about people who were on earlier, but there wasn't much hangout time [laughs] in this one.
Do you have a dream role that you'd really love to do? Or maybe even just somebody you'd like to work with, something like that, off the top of your head?
Right now, it's not that specific, but I kind of want to do - just because I'm in a place where I go, “Now I want to do fun things, I want to do genre movies, like the kind of stuff that I liked watching when I was a kid. Something like an Indiana Jones or a sword and sandal movie or a space movie where we have real shiny outfits on. It’s that's kind of stuff [laughs] that I'm excited about now. It would be kind of fun to just check that stuff off the list. Like, when I did Ridiculous Six, it was like, “Wow, we get to do that thing where you walk into a saloon and mosey up to the bar.” I was like, “That's nuts.” I love that stuff.
I did want to ask you at least a little bit about Lost before we go. So, the one thing I have to ask, is if they ever decide to do any kind of reunion or anything, are you in for that? Or have you kind of moved away from it and are done?
No, I'd be down for it. Just like a cast reunion, special kind of thing you mean?
Sure. But who knows, maybe they would want to do a continuation? Although I doubt it. That's not going to happen.
I'd be interested in reading it. If they wrote something new, I'd definitely be interested in reading it. Lost was a very special job, and still, in many ways, the job I compare other jobs to. So, yeah, sure.
Do you still see your other cast members very often, or not really?
Not very often at all. I mean, every now and then we do message each other and things like that, if something pops up. I mean, like Michael Emerson's wife just got announced for a new job, and I sent her a text saying, like, “best to Michael.” So, you know, little things like that, but I haven't hung out with any of them in awhile. I hung out with Ian and Daniel [Dae Kim] more back when I was back in Hawaii when I was doing Hawaii Five-0, just because of proximity, basically. But on the mainland, we're pretty spread out.
I do want to ask you about kind of the craziness and the weirdness of it all. What was it like to kind of see your face on merchandise and Funko Pops and posters and just kind of everywhere? I mean, that has got to be really cool, but also, maybe a little weird, I would think, after a while.
Well, the first thing of it was, it was this kind of thing where we all moved to Hawaii, and we were our only circle of friends. And at least especially for that first summer of shooting the show, before we aired, it was just this project that you kind of did in the woods and on the beaches of Hawaii with your friends, because in many ways, we were all stuck on an island with each other, just like on the show. Then, there was the first Golden Globes that we were nominated in. Then, you kind of showed up on the mainland and you realized there was red carpets and fans screaming and things…Because in our minds, at least in mine, it almost felt like we were like the tinkerers in Midsummer Night's Dream. [We] just go into the woods, and we make a show, and then you go out, and you realize this might be a bigger deal than we realized. Then, the first figures were the McFarland figures where they came and they had this wand that would scan our faces so they could basically make a sculpt [of us]. That was a big, kind of like, check the box of an achievement of success that you'd get a figure of you. I was really excited about that. I went to the launch at the Toys R Us in Times Square for the release of that, and I just I bought a bunch of myself, just so I could have them and [give] them to people. So, that stuff was really fun. I think the Funkos came post show; that was a later thing. But it's just something to kind of just collect and store in a closet so that one day [you can] tell your daughter. You're like, “Yeah, your dad used to be on this show on TV. These are little statuettes of your dad…and sell them on EBay,[laughs] and maybe there'll be worth something.
Before you go, do you have anything else you want to promote besides this movie that's coming out?
Yeah, for people who are in the Los Angeles area, I'm going to be in a play called Let Me In at a place called Theater 68, and I'm about to start a new series called How to be a Bookie for HBO max. It's just I don't know when that's going to come out, because we haven't even started shooting it yet, but just something to kind of keep your eye out for.