Armando Riesco is a New York based actor who is working on many projects for the stage and screen. Riesco is currently performing a production at Second Stage Theater in New York City called The Happiest Song Plays Last. The Daily Quirk was also excited to learn about his recently released film Adult World, a comedy starring Emma Roberts and John Cusack. Read on to find out more about his acting process, on set experiences and love of the Big Apple!
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell our readers a bit about the movie Adult World?
Armando Riesco: Adult World is the story of a young woman who graduates college and is having a hard time making her dreams come true right away. She ends up working at a porn store to make ends meet, where she meets a cast of characters (including my character Rubia, a sort of Fairy Godmother) that help her start making her way in the world.
TDQ: What attracted you to this project?
AR: The role of Rubia is something I will always cherish and remember, and at first, I didn’t even want to go in and audition for it! I did not think I would be believable as a transgender person…but with a lot of research and practice and help, I eventually think I managed to pull it off!
TDQ: How did you prepare for your role?
AR: There was definitely a lot of rocking 4-inch heels and walking around my apartment dancing to some crazy music while my wife gave me pointers on every detail imaginable. The documentary Paris is Burning was my main source of inspiration for the character, as well as a resident in my building who I used to chat with for many years.
TDQ: What was it like to work with Emma Roberts and John Cusack?
AR: They were great. I had to do most of my scenes with Emma, and she was a joy to be around. To be honest, I had some trepidations that she might be bratty…but she proved me wrong the instant I met her. She was down to earth and lots of fun.
TDQ: What was the dynamic like on set?
AR: Working with Scott Coffey was an actor’s dream come true. He allowed me to improvise and re-write, to try things and fail and fall flat on my face in half the takes. However, every once in a while we would capture a gem. Thankfully a lot of those moments ended up in the film.
TDQ: Earlier this month, you reprised your role in The Happiest Song Plays Last, a production playing at Second Stage Theater in New York City. Can you tell us about the play?
AR: This is Part 3 of a trilogy that concerns the writer’s real life cousin, Elliot. He returned from Iraq and has an amazing life story. In this play we see his journey as he returns to the Middle East to be a military advisor on a movie and ends up being cast as the lead in the movie (this actually happened, the movie is Battle for Haditha) playing a Marine.
TDQ: In the production, you play Elliot Ortiz, a troubled Iraq war veteran and American hero. What was your process for taking on this challenging role?
AR: I have been playing the role on and off for seven years!! The process involved watching every single documentary about the Iraq war (and other wars) and meeting veterans and listening. Once we got in the room I was in the capable hands of Tony Award winning director Ruben Santiago Hudson, doing what he says is a recipe for success.
TDQ: Do you have a ritual or warm up that you do to prepare before each show?
AR: I listen to a lot of Reggaeton. It really hypes me up and puts me in the right mind frame to enter the play at the top. The entire first act feels like a party to me, and I have to take myself back to the late 90s to remember that looseness and abandon!
TDQ: We like to end our interviews with a few quirky questions. You’re currently living in New York City, so we have to ask, what is your favorite thing about the city?
AR: I freaking love NYC. In fact, the city is my hobby! I am a licensed NYC sightseeing guide and am preparing a bunch of audio tours on the Internet as we speak. In the winter, I like finding beautiful interiors like the New York Public Library Main Reading Room on the 3rd floor…it is a gem of a place to go relax and read or write for a bit as you juice up your batteries!
TDQ: What’s one quirky thing that fans would be surprised to find about you?
AR: For all my masculine swagger, I have to admit that I am pop music whore. You put on some Swedish House Mafia and I want to sing from the rooftops…’Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child!’
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Armando Riesco for taking the time to chat. If you’re in the New York City area, be sure to check out Riesco in The Happiest Song Plays Last, currently running at Second Stage Theater!