For his first regular character on screen, Alexis Sides plays Potato in the new release of Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies on Paramount+, which premiered on April 6th. With Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies set as a prequel to the 1978 film Grease, the series explores the origins of the Pink Ladies, and Alexis can be seen across the episodes as one of the T-Birds. Before booking his role of Potato, Alexis had worked on a number of short films with New Image College in Vancouver, where he started training in 2017, and he had previously attended Henrry Lopez Estudio in Cabo San Lucas. We caught up with Alexis about filming for Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, playing one of the T-Birds on the show and his experience playing Potato in the Paramount+ series.
In the new release of Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, you play Potato, can you tell us about your character and what is he like to play?
He’s a fun-loving Mexican guy who’s part of the iconic T-Birds gang. I mean, we’re talking about the same gang that gave us unforgettable characters like Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Kenickie (Jeff Conaway) from the original Grease, and Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed) and Louis DiMucci (Peter Frechette) from Grease 2. It’s truly an honour to join such a legendary line-up!
As the show progresses, each T-Bird starts revealing their unique personalities, and Potato is no exception. He’s always cracking jokes and bringing positive vibes, but he’s also dealing with some serious stuff, like the racism he faces in the ’50s. As a Mexican immigrant, Potato encounters various forms of prejudice, from overt discrimination to subtle microaggressions. This societal pressure adds another layer of complexity to his character, as he navigates the challenges of fitting in while staying true to himself and his heritage.
Playing Potato has been an incredible experience, both entertaining and eye-opening. We touch on heavy topics like racism and discrimination, but we also showcase how Potato stays strong and keeps his positive attitude. It’s been a great journey getting to know this character, and I can’t wait for audiences to see how Potato and the rest of the T-Birds evolve and bring their own flavour to the overall story in Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.
How much did you know about Grease before auditioning for the prequel series and how did you feel finding out you’d booked the role of Potato for your first regular character on screen?
Alright, so even though I wasn’t the biggest Grease fan, I had seen the movie and knew about its existence. As a theatre kid, I couldn’t help but be familiar with it, and I even watched a Mexican adaptation of the Broadway show back in my hometown of Cabo San Lucas. The music and high school vibe were pretty cool, but I didn’t know every single detail about the story or the characters.
When I got the chance to audition for the prequel series, I was pumped! The idea of exploring the world of Grease more deeply was super exciting. And let me tell you, when I found out I’d booked the role of Potato for my first regular on-screen gig, I was on cloud nine!
A few days after getting the news, I was just chilling on my couch with this huge grin on my face, still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to be part of the Grease universe. It felt amazing knowing I’d be bringing Potato’s unique story to life and contributing to the iconic Grease legacy.
I couldn’t wait to dive into the role, learn more about Potato’s character, and share this awesome journey with everyone. I’m so stoked for you all to see Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies and meet Potato and the rest of the T-Birds. I have a feeling you’re going to love it!
How did you prepare for filming and what do you remember from your first day working on the project?
To prepare for filming, I focused on researching the 1950s, particularly the challenges and experiences of Mexican immigrants during that time. I wanted to make sure I captured Potato’s background and struggles accurately. I also watched the original Grease movie to get a feel for the legendary T-Birds’ vibe. My existing Latino accent turned out to be perfect for Potato, so I didn’t need to work on that part. Instead, I immersed myself in the era’s music and culture to really get into character.
As for my first day on set, it was a mix of excitement and nerves. I remember arriving early, my heart pounding in my chest as I stepped onto the iconic Rydell High set. I felt like I was being transported back in time to the ’50s. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, and I quickly bonded with my fellow T-Birds cast members. It was amazing to see the incredible attention to detail in the sets and costumes, and I could feel the energy in the air.
The moment I got into costume and slipped on the legendary T-Bird jacket for the first time, I couldn’t help but stare at myself in the mirror for a while, totally awestruck. I took a bunch of pictures to capture the moment, feeling so grateful and honoured to be part of the T-Birds legacy. Stepping in front of the camera as Potato, wearing that iconic jacket, I felt a rush of adrenaline. It was like everything I had prepared for was coming together, and I was ready to give it my all. That first day was a whirlwind, but it’s a day I’ll never forget – it marked the beginning of an incredible journey with the Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies family.
What was it like working with the rest of the cast, including your fellow T-Birds, and how did you find the experience on set of the show?
Working with the cast has been one of the best parts of this experience. We all clicked pretty much from the beginning and it wasn’t long before we all felt like family. The energy on set was amazing and I think it really shows in the final product.
Being part of the T-Birds was such a big deal for me. Those guys are legends! But what made it even more special was how each of us brought our own unique energy to the group. It wasn’t just about being cool, but about exploring the nuances of each character and figuring out what made them tick.
The dancers in the cast were truly something special. I was blown away by their talent and hard work. The first time I saw everyone dancing together, I was in total awe. But what really impressed me was how supportive everyone was of each other. If someone struggled with a step or a choreo, there was always someone there to offer help and encouragement.
Overall, it was an amazing experience working with such a talented and passionate group of people. I learned so much from everyone and am grateful for the friendships that were formed on set.
Can you tell us about Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies and why would you recommend watching it on Paramount+?
Oh man, where do I even start with Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies? It’s been such a fun and wild ride. The show is a prequel series that explores the origins of the Pink Ladies – the legendary female gang from the original Grease film – and their journey through high school in the 1950s.
What I love about the show is that it tackles a bunch of social issues in a really honest and thought-provoking way. We’re talking about things like racism, sexism, and classism – all of which are just as relevant today as they were back then. But at the same time, the show is also a lot of fun. There are so many catchy tunes, dance numbers, and hilarious moments that keep you on your toes and make you smile.
And let me tell you, the cast and crew are amazing. Everyone is so talented and passionate about the project, and it really shows on screen. We’ve become like a big family, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it all.
If you’re a fan of Grease, you’ll definitely find lots of references and nods to the original films throughout the series. But even if you’re new to the Grease universe, there’s plenty to enjoy. It’s a show that has something for everyone – drama, romance, comedy, music, and more.
So, if you’re looking for a fun and thought-provoking show to binge-watch, head over to Paramount+ and check out Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. Trust me, it’s worth it!
What did you enjoy most about filming as Potato and being part of the Grease franchise?
There are so many things I loved about filming as Potato and being part of the Grease franchise! For one, it was amazing to work with such a talented cast and crew, who were all so passionate about bringing this story to life. The energy on set was electric, and we had a lot of fun bringing the 1950s to life in a fresh and modern way.
I also loved exploring Potato’s character and backstory, and getting to wear the iconic T-Birds jacket was definitely a highlight for me. It was a surreal moment, looking in the mirror and seeing myself as part of that legendary group. Plus, the new original music that was written and produced for the show was a lot of fun to work with, and I think it adds a great new dimension to the Grease universe.
It was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. Being part of the Grease franchise is such an honour, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this prequel series and explore new aspects of this beloved story.
How do you feel now Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies has been released and what was it like attending the premiere?
It feels ‘electrifying’ now that Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies has finally been released! It’s been a long time coming, and to see the final product and the reactions of fans has been incredibly rewarding. Attending the premiere was an unforgettable experience – I mean, a pink carpet and retro car for photo ops? That’s the dream! It was amazing to finally be able to reunite with the cast after eight months, especially since it was my first time in LA and my first red carpet moment. But what really made the experience special was having my mom there to support me. It meant the world to me to have her there, cheering me on and sharing the excitement of the night. Overall, it was an incredible night and I feel so lucky to have been part of it all.
You’ve previously worked on a number of short films, can you tell us about some of them?
Most of the short films I’ve had the pleasure of working on were produced by New Image College in Vancouver, which I attended. It was an amazing experience to work on those films, as they challenged me to take on different roles and grow as an actor. Amir Aghelnejad, who is the writer and director of many of those shorts, was instrumental in supporting and guiding me throughout those projects, and I am forever grateful for his mentorship.
In addition to those films, I also had the opportunity to be a part of a Mexican film called Cuello. The movie tells the gripping story of a kidnapped family man whose fate hangs in the balance, as a pair of highwaymen decide his future. I was truly honoured to be a part of this important and moving project.
Each of these short films was a unique and valuable learning experience for me. It was amazing to see how much can be achieved with limited resources and a passionate team.
Can you tell us about your acting training with Cabo San Lucas Acting School and New Image College?
I did attend Henrry Lopez Estudio in Cabo San Lucas, which is a performing arts studio that also produces its own theatre plays. Although they didn’t focus on teaching specific techniques, they did provide scripts and characters to help us develop our skills. However, their emphasis was on acting for theatre, whereas I was more interested in acting for TV and film.
In 2017, I made the decision to attend New Image College in Vancouver, where I received training from industry professionals such as John Emmet Tracy, Peter Hanlon, Philip Granger, Bill McDonald, and many others. The training I received at New Image College was invaluable in helping me develop my craft and build a strong foundation as an actor. I learned a lot about the technical aspects of acting for the camera, as well as the business side of the industry.
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to train at both Henrry Lopez Estudio and New Image College, as they both provided me with unique experiences and perspectives that have helped me become the actor I am today.
Have you been given any advice over your time as an actor so far that has stuck with you?
One piece of advice that has always stuck with me is to never give up on my dreams. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Pursuing a career in acting can be challenging and competitive, and it’s easy to get discouraged when faced with rejection or setbacks. But I always remind myself to keep pushing forward, to keep striving to be the best actor I can be.
Another piece of advice that has been instrumental in my growth as an actor is to always be open to learning and to continue to develop my craft. Acting is an art form that requires constant practice and dedication, and I strive to keep honing my skills and expanding my knowledge of the craft.
Ultimately, I believe that if you have a passion for something and are willing to work hard, anything is possible. It may not always be easy, but if you stay committed and keep pushing forward, you can achieve your goals and make your dreams a reality.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
Growing up, I had two big passions in life: soccer and performing. As a Mexican kid, soccer was practically in my blood, and I dreamed of becoming a professional goalkeeper. But there was also something about being on stage, about taking on different characters and telling stories that drew me in.
In elementary school, I got my first taste of acting when I was cast in a school play. It was an adaptation of Peter Pan, and I played one of the lost kids. I loved every moment of it and continued to do school plays every year until seventh grade.
At that point, I decided to take a break from acting to focus on soccer. I trained hard and played as much as I could, but as time went on, I started to realise that maybe soccer wasn’t my true calling.
Then one day, my old acting coach reached out to me. He needed someone to fill in for an actor who had dropped out of a gig, and the part was none other than Peter Pan. It felt like fate – like I was being pulled back to where I belonged.
That gig reignited my love for acting, and I started to pursue it more seriously. I eventually enrolled in the New Image College in Vancouver. It was a challenging but rewarding experience, and I learned so much about myself and my craft.
Looking back, I’m grateful for my soccer days. They taught me about discipline, perseverance, and the power of hard work. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll find myself back on the soccer field, living out my goalkeeper dreams once again, maybe not professionally. But for now, I’m fully committed to my acting career and excited to see where it takes me.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
Oh my, let me tell you, when it comes to movies and TV shows, I have a lot of opinions. I mean, there’s nothing better than getting lost in a good story, am I right? One movie that really stands out for me is The Shawshank Redemption. It’s just a classic, you know? The performances are top-notch, and it’s got this perfect mix of grittiness and hope that just gets me every time. And don’t even get me started on Fight Club and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Those movies just blew my mind, man.
But TV shows? Oh man, I could talk about those for hours. I’m all about shows that can really suck you in with their storyline and acting. Black Mirror is definitely one of my faves. It’s like every episode is a mind-bending sci-fi movie. And Love, Death & Robots? Woo, that animation is just unreal. But the real heartbreaker for me was The Midnight Gospel. I mean, that show was a total trip, right? And then they go and cancel it after just one season. It’s a damn shame, really. But hey, at least we got to experience that weirdness for a little while, right?
How do you like to spend your time away from acting?
When I’m not acting, I like to stay active by hitting the gym. It’s a great way to clear my head and release any stress that may come with the job. And let’s be real, who doesn’t want to look and feel their best? I also love cooking and baking – there’s just something about the process of creating a delicious meal or dessert that is so satisfying. Plus, it’s a great way to impress friends and family (and maybe even a date or two). And when I just want to unwind and laugh, I like to watch podcasts or play video games.
What are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
As someone who loves what they do, I’m excited about the new year and the opportunities it might bring. While I don’t have anything set in stone for 2023 just yet, I’m eager to see what projects come my way and to continue challenging myself as an actor. Of course, it would be amazing to be a part of a second season of Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, but I’m also open to other possibilities and roles that can help me grow and develop my skills. In the meantime, I’ll keep working hard, honing my craft, and staying connected with the industry. I’m confident that good things are on the horizon, and I’m excited to see where the future takes me.
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