Interview: Tyler Alvarez

From the interview archives.

Born and raised in New York city, Tyler Alvarez has had his sights set on acting since he was a child and it didn’t take too long for him to start landing roles. You’ve seen him as Benny in Orange in the New Black and starring in American Vandal as Peter Maldonado. VULKAN caught up with Tyler to talk about the renewal of American Vandal and his upcoming role as Doug in James Franco’s The Pretenders due out in 2018. 

What can you tell us about The Pretenders?
It’s a letter to French Noir films. It’s about love, self-discovery, and growing up. I got to work with a lot of great actors and professionals who taught me a lot.

Who is Doug and how does he fit into the storyline?
I play Doug who is Terry’s roommate and best friend. Doug is a loving, charismatic, and bright young man who has a passion for theatre. He wants to grow up to be a stage actor. However, their friendship is tested after Doug lands his first role.

How was working alongside James Franco and is there a role of his you really enjoyed watching?
I learned so much from my experience of working with James. He is extremely educated in all areas of life and I saw first-hand how much that affected his art. Each night after we wrapped, James would invite us to watch a French Noir film in the hotel screening room in order to help educate us on exactly what we were trying to accomplish with this film. I love working with directors who are invested on all levels like James is. 

What was your favorite part of working on American Vandal season 1?
My favorite thing about working on American Vandal season 1 was that I had nothing else to compare it to in terms of how the set and the scenes were going to be run during filming. This created a sense of freedom and creativity for me because I just had to surrender to the unknown. I also made some really good friends that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life.

In what way would you say you’re similar to Peter Maldonado?
Me and Peter are both relentless in the pursuit of what we want. A lot of what I pulled on from Peter were my years back in NYC when I was trying to make it as an actor. At age 13 I was trying to set up meetings with agents and managers and they were all like, “Can we please speak to a parent?” It’s that kind of “taking things into your own hands” attitude that we both have.

What is one thing you would change about him if you could?
Someone needs to get that guy some contacts!

American Vandal has been renewed for a second season, which is awesome. What will our favourite mockumentarian be tackling in the new season?
I can’t speak too much about the new crime Peter will be tackling, but I think Peter learned a lot from making his first documentary and he’ll be a bit more experienced the second time around. 

What is the deeper message you hope American Vandal is getting across to viewers?
I hope that people understand that we are all the same. We all have different backgrounds, looks, social status’, and wants. But when you peel away the exterior of a person, we really are all just the same inside.

Is there a documentary series or stand-alone film that has lured you in recently?
I just binged the entire first season of The Jinx and loved it! I did it in one sitting! My binge game is pretty strong. 

What are your preferred kinds of docs to watch?
Honestly, murder docs. Is that weird? The mystery of those docs keep me up at night so I should probably find different ones to watch.

What do you do or strive to do when you have no other obligations to fulfill?
I really try and push myself to try things that I have never done when I have free time. Whether it’s attending my first protest or taking my first flying lesson. I don’t want to live my life only experiencing things within the entertainment industry.

Who would you be absolutely thrilled to star alongside in a buddy-cop film one day?
Will Ferrell

What genre would you love to experiment with?
I would love to do an action film one day. Specifically, one where I play a spy. I’m a huge James Bond fan. 

Do you have any aspirations outside of acting?
Honestly, I would love to be a hippie drifter who has no responsibilities and just travels the world eating food. Is that a real occupation? I should look into that. 

I read that your father works for the Drug Enforcement Administration, how  do you think  that has that impacted your upbringing?
That has definitely impacted my upbringing. My dad has seen so much in his day that it has made him a bit over protective… which makes it hard for me to be a kid. Oh wait.. I’m twenty now. Crap. I’m getting old. 

If you could hop on a plane tomorrow and fly anywhere, where would you go and who would you take with you?
I’d go to Egypt and take my best friend with me. I’m endlessly fascinated with Egyptian culture. 

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