In the 2022 release of HBO Max series The Garcias, Oliver Alexander plays his first series regular character Max Garcia Ramirez, which has seen him work with cast members from the previously released The Brothers Garcia. Last year, Oliver appeared in two short films, where he played Young Chris in #Whitina and Joel in The Humming of the Beast. Amongst Oliver’s other roles, he has filmed for TV series L.A.’s Finest as Junu, 9-1-1: Lone Star as Ricky and Sydney to the Max as Josh, and he also appeared in the feature film The Curse of La Llorona as Carlos. Oliver answered our questions about filming for HBO Max series The Garcias, having Max Garcia Ramirez as his first series regular character and working on the short films – #Whitina and The Humming of the Beast.
You play Max Garcia Ramirez in HBO Max series The Garcias, what was it like booking the role for your first series regular character?
Wow, where do I even begin? Booking my first series regular was unimaginable and unlike any other. The entire casting process for the role of Max Garcia Ramirez in the HBO Max series, The Garcias, was super unique because it was all filmed live and released on social media. Yup, so the facial expressions, emotions and reactions are all on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. You should go check it out! Overall, it’s been an unbelievable experience that I’ve been very fortunate to experience. Keeping my fingers crossed for that Season 2.
Can you tell us about the show and your character and what is Max like to play?
The HBO Max series, The Garcias, follows a family based in San Antonio, TX, who are gathered for a summer vacation in their fancy beach house in Mexico. The Garcias is a groundbreaking reboot of the hit Nickelodeon series The Brothers Garcia, which was the first English-language sitcom to have an all-Latino cast and creative team. It’s about your typical wholesome American household that just so happens to have Hispanic roots.
I played Max Garcia Ramirez, an eight-year-old aspiring chef. I resonated with the role quite easily since Max loves adventure, his family and getting into trouble with his cousins. He makes for such a fun character to play.
How did you prepare for the role and what was it like reading the scripts for the first time?
Well, I’d have to admit that attending my very first table read was pretty cool. A table read is when the entire cast and production all sit around a table and read the entire script for the episode we’re filming that week. Because of COVID and filming in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, it was pretty much the first time I had met most of the cast and production.
As far as preparing for my role, I prepared like I do any role that comes my way. I try to gather as much information about the character as possible and try to come up with a vision of what that character is like. If need be, I met with my acting coaches to brainstorm until I had a pretty clear vision of who Max was and a good understanding of the character.
With The Garcias being a sequel to the teen sitcom series The Brothers Garcia, how do you find the experience on set of the show and what do you enjoy most about being part of the sequel?
The entire original cast from the sitcom The Brothers Garcia, are all on the sequel, The Garcias. Each and every one of them is amazing and welcomed the new cast with open arms. What I enjoyed most about being a part of the sequel was that we not only created the vision that Jeff Valdez, director of both The Brothers Garcia and The Garcias, had of the new generation of Garcias, but that we truly created an on set and off set family.
What’s it like working with the original cast members who are reprising their roles from The Brothers Garcia?
Working with the original cast members was very helpful in understanding what the original series was like, since a lot of the original content of The Brothers Garcia is not currently available for streaming. The original cast was just amazing in every way, especially in helping the new cast understand all the nostalgic scenes.
What are some of your stand-out highlights from filming Series 1 of The Garcias?
I’d have to admit there were many stand-out highlights from filming The Garcias. First off, The Garcias was filmed in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. So filming out of the country for three months was pretty awesome, I couldn’t have asked for a better summer break. Definitely an unforgettable experience.
Some on set “Max” highlights that stand out to me are filming Episode 3 and Episode 10. In Episode 3, Max experiences something that I have yet to experience in real life. He falls head over heels for a girl. With some convincing from his cousin, he builds up the courage to talk to her, only to find out that she doesn’t speak English. I got a lot of help from Jeff Licon, original cast member of The Brothers Garcia, as he had plenty of love scenes in the original series.
In Episode 10, the show does a great job in highlighting the inadequacy in roles that Hispanics play in Hollywood films and television shows. It’s a very deep felt scene and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to watch it.
Last year, you played Young Chris in the award-winning short film #Whitina, can you tell us about this?
I was asked by J Sean Smith, award-winning, up and coming director and graduate from the USC School of Film, to participate in her short film #Whitina. I was honoured and happy to play Young Chris. When I first accepted the role, I had no idea that the teen Chris role was being played by Xolo Maridueña, from the hit series Cobra Kai.
You played Joel in another 2021 short film The Humming of the Beast, what was this like to be part of?
Playing Joel for the short film, The Humming of the Beast, was very sentimental. It’s a film about a mother who finds herself struggling with a harsh decision of doing what she feels is best for the future of her son. She struggles with the realities of deportation and has to make a heartbreaking decision. It was an absolute honour to work with Francisca Algeria and Fernanda Urrejola. They are truly amazing and very talented.
How did you find your time as Junu in L.A.’s Finest?
Playing the role of Junu in L.A.’s Finest was an experience like no other. To this day, it’s been one of my most enjoyable night scenes to film. The cast and crew were all amazing and there were a lot of kids my age on set which made for a great experience. I can honestly say there was never a shortage of amazing things on that set, like exotic cars, sophisticated drones and what seemed like an endless amount of pyrotechnics.
In 2020, you could be seen in an episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, how was it on set of the show?
It always helps when there are other kids my age on set. In this particular episode of 9-1-1: Lone Star, I played the older brother who roughhouses with his two younger brothers. The scene was fun and full of moving parts and even explosions. It was fun watching first hand how some of the stunts are created and filmed.
What was Josh like to play in Sydney to the Max and how was it working on a Disney series?
Playing the role of Josh in Sydney to the Max will always be one of my more memorable acting experiences. It was the first series that cast me as a recurring role but honestly it was the cast and crew that truly made the experience so memorable. Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming. They truly made sure that I was looked after. Plus, we got to play football and basketball in between takes!
What do you remember from playing Carlos in the feature film The Curse of La Llorona?
I was seven years old when I was cast in the role of Carlos in the feature film The Curse of La Llorona. I still remember it as if it was yesterday though. It’s surprisingly funny how nothing about filming that movie was or seemed scary. However, I couldn’t keep both eyes open at the premiere knowing exactly what was coming.
You have worked on a number of commercials, can you tell us about some of the ones you’ve been involved with?
I’ve been very fortunate to have been part of an array of commercials. Fast food chains, automotive, retail stores, insurance and media company commercials. But I’d have to admit my absolute favourite commercials are the ones I’ve been casted alongside my sister Victoria Love. Fun fact: When filming a McDonald’s commercial, at 5 o’clock, they make everyone French fries. It’s called “5 o’clock fries”.
How did you get into acting and is it something you always wanted to do?
I became involved in acting at a very young age. I started in theatre in a play at the Glendale Theater Center in Glendale, California. I don’t know that I can say that it’s always been something I wanted to do. I think it’s something that I stumbled across and enjoy doing so much that I’ve never really looked back.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I just finished binge-watching Season 4 of the series Stranger Things. I love that show!! I remember years ago being invited to San Diego’s Comic-Con and having the opportunity to interact with the cast of Stranger Things. It’s amazing to see how far they’ve all come since then.
I absolutely love the film 42. I can watch it over and over again. It’s just unbelievable the barriers Jackie Robinson had to break and the struggles he endured to play baseball. Truly an inspiring film.
We understand you are also involved with charity work, can you tell us about this?
When time permits I do get involved with charities. From community clean-ups to specific charity walks. My parents have always taught me the importance of giving back and this is one way that I feel I can.
What are you hoping the rest of 2022 brings for your career?
I hope that the remainder of 2022 continues to bless me with new career opportunities so that I may continue to do what I love to do. In the meantime, I will continue working towards my goals and keep pushing forward.
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