Rudy Martinez plays young doctor Marty on NBC’s Heartbeat. Martinez recently filled us in on life behind the scenes of the hit show. Check out our interview with Rudy below, and tune in for Heartbeat every Wednesday at 8/7c on NBC!
Heartbeat is a relatively new show- you’re going on episode seven now. Marty is a student, and Dr. Pantierre has taken him under her wing. What are some of your favorite things about Marty as a character?
“He’s probably really overworked, and he doesn’t get much sleep. (laughs). I’m able to play the comedy in that. I think that as an intern who runs around and tries to make a good impression, it gives me a lot to do in terms of comedy and funny business.”
What are some things that you would like to see for Marty?
“I don’t want to give too much away, but Marty is fresh out of med school and he’s just trying really hard. I think I’d like to see him get a couple of wins under his belt- whether it’s helping out with a patient or making a discovery of some kind that helps in the long run. He’s kind of an underdog, so seeing him get success or get a win would make me happy.”
What is it like working with experienced television actors such as Melissa George and Dave Annable? Are you learning a lot from them?
“Oh yeah. First of all, they’re so friendly. They’re just so warm and approachable. It was not a problem to just befriend them right off the bat. I felt like part of the team as soon as I walked onto the set for the first time. They’re just so friendly. Also, I’m just learning a lot from watching. They have this kind of ease. When you first start out, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into your part and a lot of nerves. You have to figure out how to make that go away. When I watch Dave and Melissa, they have the same amount of preparation, they do the same amount of work to make their character come to life, but once they get in front of the camera, they just have this ease with which they do it. It’s amazing to watch.”
What are some of the challenges involved in playing a med student? What did you go through?
“(laughs). Saying all the medical terminology is pretty difficult at times- especially if you’re doing take after take. How many times can you say whatever term really fast? It’s somewhat difficult, but the great thing is we have consultants on the show. So when we’re in the operating room and filming, the background actors who are near the main action are actual scrub nurses. In between takes, they’ll teach us how to hold a certain instrument- or if you’re stitching up a patient, they’ll tell you how to hold the tools so that it looks authentic. And then we have one of the medical consultants on the show, and she’s always there coaching us and teaching us how to do everything with authenticity. And then, of course, Kathy Magliato- she wrote the book that the show is based on and she’s one of the producers on the show. She pops in every now and then to check on things, and as soon as she does we always ask her questions about all the medical stuff.”
What is it like to be on a show that is emulating Kathy’s life? Do you feel like there is a certain standard to live up to?
“She’s so friendly. She kind of brought us into the journey with her because it’s the first time that she has had a story produced that is based on her life. Every week, we are at her house watching the show with her. I just love seeing how excited she is about the show. I don’t know if I could be intimidated by Kathy because she is so friendly, and I love being part of the Heartbeat family in that way.”
You come from a very extensive theater background. What was the transition like from the stage to behind the camera? Is there a stark difference?
“I think there’s a big difference. One thing that theater taught me which is great is that you put in a lot of preparation- you do all of your character work and figure out what drives your character and what they want. In theater, there’s a lot of elements that are outside of you that you don’t have control over. You have to be loud enough to reach the back of the house, or you have to be at a certain angle for the audience to see you. But for film, it’ s a lot more intimate. You don’t have to speak very loud at all- you could whisper and the microphone would pick it up. You don’t have to do a lot. The camera will pick up a lot of beautiful, subtle things that you’re doing. It’s very different, and it took me a while to learn that after theater school, but I’m so thankful that I have the opportunity to cut my chops and practice that on Heartbeat.”
Are you a big television watcher yourself? What are some of your favorite shows right now?
“Obviously, Game of Thrones, because everybody is watching that. Caitlyn [Larimore] and I plan to get together every weekend to watch the show. She streams it live on a projector at her house. Other than Game of Thrones, I really like VEEP and House of Cards. I think those are two shows that are similar in terms of subject matter but completely different. One is a comedy, one is a drama, and it’s kind of funny to see different perspectives.”
Your bio states that you and your husband have set up a scholarship fund at UCLA to help LGBT writers. I wanted to get your take on something problematic in the industry- which is the trope known as “bury your gays.” As an actor from within the industry, what’s your take on that? Do you view it as a problem? Do you see a way to fix it?
“We set up this scholarship fund to benefit writers who are breaking down the tropes and writing in a way that is inclusive of LGBT people, and not necessarily fulfilling a certain stereotype or trope. I haven’t heard of that specific thing of characters getting killed off. I may have seen some rumblings about it on Twitter, but I didn’t specifically pick up on that. That is very interesting. I would hope that there would be more LGBT characters in prominent media so that it can work its way into every day.”
Diversity in television is one of those things that you look at and wonder why it’s still an issue in 2016. As somebody in the industry who is pushing for more diverse roles and greater representation, have you ever thought about writing for television?
“I have. I like to write plays. I’ve produced a couple of plays at small theaters around L.A. mostly with my friends. I have a great group of actor friends who are just so talented. It’s really easy to write with their voices in my head. Sometimes dialogue will just pop into my head and I have to write it down. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s something that I would love to do. I love making characters and putting them in certain situations.”
What are some of your career goals? What would be a dream job for you?
“I really love the TV medium. I love going to work for a season and working with a bunch of people, crew and cast, who you consider your second family. That being your job every day is a wonderful feeling. I’d love to continue that in the future. I really want to get on a nerdy show. (laughs). A show that shows real people. Some shows that I’m thinking of that are shows that I would like to be on are Silicon Valley, or I really love Master of None. I think the characters there are really funny. I would love to do comedy. I’d love to get on a show that showcases offbeat types and nerdy types like that.”
Last question- your bio says that you’re a self-proclaimed fanboy for the Power Rangers. Which season is your favorite, which ranger is your favorite and how awesome is the Power Rangers movie?
“Well, which Power Rangers movie?”
The first one, of course!
“Oh my God, it’s amazing. I recently rewatched parts of the movie and I think I saw it when I was a little kid and I freaked out. I think the first American incarnation of Power Rangers is my favorite because that’s what got me hooked as a kid- with the dino megazords and the thunder megazords and eventually the ninja megazords after the movie came out. I think that’s my favorite. I’m super excited for that new wave of Power Rangers with the new movie coming out and new comics. I recently went to this comic signing where they had new Power Rangers comics. I got a set and got them signed by the illustrator and the author, so that was pretty cool.”
And did you have a favorite Ranger?
“I’ve always kind of identified with Billy, the blue ranger, because blue is my favorite color. He’s kind of nerdy and he starts off not really being able to fight- so he has to learn how to fight. I think that’s kind of like me. I always have a challenge I have to overcome, but in the end, if I were a superhero, I hope I’d prove to be an asset to my team.
I recently won an online auction and bought these Power Rangers figures from way back in the 90’s and had to drive all the way down to Garden Grove to pick them up. So on one hand, I couldn’t believe I’d won that auction- what had I done? But on the other hand, I was like, “roadtrip!” (laughs).
I have some friends that I geek out with over Power Rangers. In fact, one of my best friends, her husband is now working at Saban. So that’s the perfect opportunity to have a screening!”
*Featured image photo credit: Bradley Ross