MIguel Pinzon stars in ABC Family's new series Mystery Girls in which he plays Nick Diaz, the new assistant to the decective duo Holly Hamilton and Charlie Contour. Shakefire had the opportunity to talk with Miguel and discuss the show and his role.
Shakefire (SF): How would you describe your comedy?
Miguel Pinzon (MP): My comedy is absurd [laughs]! My character, Nick, is new to Los Angeles and he's just so bright and so determined, he will do anything. I those qualities put him in some pretty crazy circumstances. There's physical comedy in there, we're going undercover in a lot of episodes. There's actually gags where it's costume related. Out of all the characters, Nick has a little bit more room to play within that absurd world of physical comedy and craziness.
SF: How would you say you are alike with your character?
MP: We’re both new to Los Angeles and we’re both sort of outsiders in this world, in the sense that he plays a super fan to the two girls and cannot believe that his life is what it is. He’s working alongside his idols. And like myself, I cannot believe I have a job, that I'm serious actor. It's mind blowing to me, it's my first rodeo and I'm over the moon. I think were both on that same emotional journey, like “Oh my gosh, I cannot believe my dreams are coming true!” Those moments when you're geeking out just seeing it all happen, and then there's moments when you’re there and you're in it and it's fantastic.
SF: What’s it like filming in front of a live studio audience?
MP: Oh, it's heaven! We could not do the show without the live studio audience. We rehearse Monday through Friday. There’s always what we as the cast think is funny, but then when the audience gets there, the energy is so important. It’s so fantastic to see what they dictate, because they totally dictate what we’ll spend time on and what we won't spend time on. For example, if a joke that we thought was funny the whole week doesn't really fly in front of the audience, we're like “forget it lets try something new.” They're so vital to have that mirror as to what they like in the show and their energy drives us so much. The amount of energy that you feel from the audience is amazing. It's fantastic performing it in front of a live audience.
SF: What attracted you to portray your character?
MP: Nick was originally written with the last name Doyle, so I like to give props to the writers for honoring my Latino blood memory and changing his last name to Diaz. I’d say he’s around him around 21. He just moved to L.A. from Ohio, so he's like a kid with that gleam in his eye to get to Los Angeles and be amongst all the action. He is by far, the number one Mystery Girls fan.
As you know, within the show, the girls play former 90s television stars who had a show in the 90s called Mystery Girls and he discovered the show in his youth. It's one of those life-changing shows for him. He's obsessed, he knows every single episode. He feels like he’s lived it through with them. So once he moves to L.A. through absurd circumstances, his crosses paths with theirs, and he becomes their assistant in the office. That is the moment where his dreams come true.
He's an Aries. He's determined, he's not really afraid to say what is exactly on his mind. He's not the world's best assistant, but he knows when he has to work and when he doesn't have to work. He's just obsessed with being next to these two girls every day and he always wants to get in the middle of the action because they're always solving these crimes, but his job is to stay behind in the office. Nick always finds a way to leave the office and join in on the action. He’s total fun. He's also slightly crazy [laughs]. The things he does blow my mind.
SF: How has the fan support online helped you? Do you like to interact with them?
MP: Absolutely! First of all, I am so thankful to everyone at ABC Family who explained what Twitter was to me, because it was so confusing at first. They gave me a book, pretty much like Twitter for Dummies [laughs]. I've become super obsessed. Anytime I have a slight amusing idea, I’m like, “I’ve got to put it on Twitter.” Everyone who has been tweeting at me about the show, people who have come up for the live taping and afterwards and have had really positive things to say, have been such a treat. I totally look forward to premiere night, I'm going to be live tweeting during the East Coast premiere. I think it'll be really fun to actually have that direct line of communication with people watching the show and get to share the little things that you can't tell when you're watching the show.
SF: What’s it like to work with Tori [Spelling] and Jennie [Garth]?
MP: It's like a dream come true! First of all, I watched 90210. Donna Martin and Kelly Taylor are very specific people to me. Donna Martin at prom, the stalkers they had, all those things, I went through the emotional toll with them [laughs]. So to actually have these two actresses, who have such iconic characters and then to meet them in a very real way and to see beyond those characters, has been an absolute delight.
As you know, both the girls are Executive Producers on the show and they are doing crazy double duty. I can barely remember my lines and there they are remembering their lines and overseeing the entire show. It's insane! It's been a great learning lesson and a boot camp in how to make a three camera half hour comedy work. The girls have been super—I mean they’re mothers and they have that in them and they have totally extended that energy to me and have taken care of me in the sense of like, “oh, Miguel, you're probably going to get a laugh here, so you should learn how to pause so they can do that in post.” Or, “you’re standing in someone’s shadow, just move over slightly left.” They have totally been looking out for me and it's just a dream to see two people who know what they're doing firsthand make it work. I'm just taking notes!
SF: Were you nervous to meet them?
MP: Totally! When I had my first audition with the producers, one of which was Tori, she was in the room and I was preparing myself; “Alright, Tori’s probably going to be in the room, you know you'd better be ready to see her.” Then when I went in to the room I was startled. I started to do my audition and it's an audition no-no to do your scene to anyone besides the reader in the room. I totally blacked out and played it with Tori, which the audition scene was supposed to be, but she was just there to watch, not at all to act alongside with me. She was absolutely gracious and was like, “hey, you should probably read it with the reader.” I was like, “oh my gosh, you're totally right!” She allowed the space to laugh and allowed me to laugh about it and for me to do it again, so I definitely had nerves in that room when I first met her.
They're both so approachable and easy and silly. In these sorts of situations when someone just takes the time to crack a joke or make light of things, it definitely makes it easier to work. But we’re definitely here to have fun as well.
SF: Who would you say is the funniest out of the whole cast?
MP: It's an equal tossup between both Jennie [Garth] and Tori [Spelling] because their comedy styles are so different. Tori has this really fantastic, bubbly, bright quality and Jennie’s is sardonic and dry. I think you can’t have comedy without those two sides. I think it's an equal tie between both of the girls.
SF: How do you get into character?
MP: One of our directors, Michael Lembeck, was so gracious to point out to me that Nick is living his dream. He's absolutely feeling all these emotions. It's always in his body. That's one thing that I always like to remember, so any time we’re reading a script and whatever scenario that it is, I try to remember that this is a dream come true for this kid because he just moved and he's working alongside his idols.
I always try to remember that bright-eyed, enthusiastic spirit that he has, and the complete joy to be able to be living his dream, day in and day out and not allow him to become jaded in any way. He's in disbelief that it's all happening, so that totally helps with this character, in the sense that he cannot sit still and the cameraman who told me, “wow, you move around a lot.” That has been the most helpful and consistent item with portraying Nick, to keep that joy and energy alive in everything that he does.
SF: Which Mystery Girl character would you say you relate to the most to, Charlie [Jennie Garth] or Holly [Tori Spelling]?
MP: I would have to say Holly, and purely in the sense that she's very trusting and believes people at their word and that's very much me. If you tell me something that seems absurd, I will believe you. I definitely have that component of Holly, where there's a slight innocence, you take everyone at their word, and you would totally invite them into your house. That's totally an invitation to anyone who wants to come over for dinner. I will absolutely open the door to you [laughs].
But then Holly loves to have a really good time and sometimes does not care about the consequences. Sometimes when I want to make something fun happen, I don't really worry about what will happen afterwards and just make it happen! I think I’m like Holly in those two traits.
SF: What’s it like to be part of the ABC Family family?
MP: It's been awesome! The network has been so amazing from the get go and it's so nice to be able to join their original programming, at least within half hour comedy because they have Baby Daddy and have Melissa and Joey. To be amongst this relatively new direction that they have for half-hour comedy is so fun and they’re so encouraging with everything that we do.
It’s insane to see the amount of fans that Pretty Little Liars has, that all these other ABC Family shows have. It's not bad company to be around [laughs]!
SF: What is your favorite part about filming Mystery Girls?
MP: It's a wild level of campiness almost! The allowance that we have for physical comedy, to be in disguises. That allows us so much to do, and so much to play. I've never seen a female duo detective comedy. You had Cagney and Lacey, but that wasn't really a comedy. You have female duos in other scenarios, but to have them in this sort of mystery world, it’s so fun with these endlessly changing circumstances. We've got to solve this crime, but the crimes we solve are just so silly and absurd, but we play it for the truth of it and that's one of my favorite parts; the allowance to just go in all these fun, delicious, crazy directions.