The actor who coincidentally plays Guillermo on the hit Showtime series talks about his role in the brand new season, Mercy, Zombie Grandma and much more
It might seem like poetic justice, of sorts, that Guillermo Diaz, who's most well-known for his role as the angry Cuban stoner Scarface in Half Baked ("I'm Cuban, B!"... sorry, couldn't resist), now has a recurring role on the hit Showtime series Weeds, which just kicked off its fifth season this past Monday night, and the Weeds: Season Four set was just released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 2. Diaz is back in Season 5 playing Guillermo on the popular series, which stars Mary-Louise Parker and, while he didn't appear in the season premiere, rest assured, we will see him very very soon. I had the chance to speak with Diaz over the phone today about his role in the series, and here's what he had to say.
You started on the show in a smaller capacity in Season 3 and then got a much bigger role in Season 4, so can you talk about how you came on board and how your role evolved from there?
Guillermo Diaz: Yeah. Well, when I auditioned for the role, it was just supposed to be one episode, with the possibility of recurring for like two more episodes. So that first season on the show, which was Season 3, I did four episodes, I believe, and I thought that was going to be it. They called the next season and said that I was coming back. I guess the writers liked me and I guess the fans enjoyed the character, so yeah, they wrote me in for the bulk of Season 4. It's just been a great ride, man. It's been a nice, unexpected surprise, playing Guillermo. And the name is a complete coincidence too. The character was already named Guillermo when I came in to audition for it. People usually think that they named the character that because that's my real name, but that's not what happened (Laughs). And now we're doing Season 5 and it's great, man. I never thought I'd be on for three seasons, so it's been amazing.
I didn't see you in the premiere, so will we see you next week then, or when will we see you?
Guillermo Diaz: Yeah, yeah. You'll see me next week, for sure, yeah. It's a pretty intense scene, yeah. My character pretty much knows that Nancy is the one that turned me in. He kind of has an idea that she's the one, so you can imagine it's going to be pretty intense.
So he's not totally sure, though, or just has a really good idea that she was the one?
Guillermo Diaz: Exactly, yeah. He's got a pretty good idea.
So will you still be locked up when we first see you?
Guillermo Diaz: Yeah, yeah. I'm still in prison.
So no tunnels out of prison yet then?
Guillermo Diaz: No (Laughs). Not yet, maybe. That's a good idea. Maybe I'll tell (creator) Jenji (Kohan) about that.
Well, that seemed to be your guys' expertise last season, so...
Guillermo Diaz: Right, yeah. That would be nice, get myself out of jail.
So this cast is just awesome with Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins and all these guys. What's it been like just going to work with these people every day?
Guillermo Diaz: You know, when I first started on the show, I was so nervous. I'm a huge fan of Mary-Louise Parker and that first scene we do that break-dance when you see my character and I was so completely nervous and intimidated, but once we started working, she's such a giving actress. She's so good and so there and so sweet. I feel so lucky to be able to act with all these people who are really seasoned actors. It's just been like a dream, man. It's been pretty surreal and wonderful to work on the show, and to be on a show that's so loved by the fans and critics, so I just feel extremely lucky. Most of my stuff is with Mary-Louise Parker and unfortunately I don't get to act with the other characters that much except for her.
The creator, Jenji, she writes most of the episodes herself, so what's it been like having her actually writing a lot of these episodes?
Guillermo Diaz: It's great. She created the show so her vision is just so unique. When she writes the episode you kind of know that Jenji is the one that wrote it because it just has that extra something to it. The season premiere, there is this whole musical number at the end, it's just very unexpected and awesome. The music is great and then it goes back to this dark moment after that musical number is done. It's just so great, it's so Jenji. She's so talented.
So have you filmed the whole season yet or are you still working on it right now?
Guillermo Diaz: No, they're still working on it. I think they go until July. I'm more of a recurring character on the show, and I don't know how many episodes they've done so far, but I've done a couple, so I don't know if there will be more, or if that's going to be it. But yeah, they shoot until the middle of July, so they're almost done now.
So you said when we first see you, it will be rather interesting, so can you just give us a bit about what we can generally expect from Guillermo throughout the season?
Guillermo Diaz: Let's see. I think Guillermo is angry at Nancy, but at the same time he has this newfound respect for her, this crazy way that she actually has the guts to go that route, talking about the tunnel and turning us in. In some sick way, he's kind of enjoying that, that she's so crazy and f*cked up. I mean, my character is crazy and f*cked up and she's sort of one of us. I think he just feels, 'Wow. She's just as crazy as I am.' There's a newfound respect there and that's a fun dynamic to work with, so we'll kind of see that between the characters this season, which is really cool.
It seems like these last few years that cable TV, in general, has really been the place to be. Can you talk a bit about working on a network like Showtime and having that freedom. I mean, we couldn't even see this show on a regular network at all.
Guillermo Diaz: Oh, no. You know, it's great and you get spoiled working on a cable show because you can just say whatever you want. It's definitely great being on a Showtime show and yeah, I can't imagine what it will be like when the show goes into syndication on a network, like Sex and the City and all those others. It's going to be like a two-minute show (Laughs).
Exactly. Weeds will actually be the commercial breaks. They'll play it during the commercials for other shows.
Guillermo Diaz: (Laughs) Exactly. No, but I'm sure they'll find a way to make it work (Laughs).
You're also on the new NBC series Mercy that got picked up, so what can you tell us about that, and your character?
Guillermo Diaz: Well, yeah, it's called Mercy and we all work in a sort of run-down hospital in New Jersey that's called Mercy Hospital. I play a gay nurse named Angel Lopez, which is pretty cool because it's a complete 360 from the character I'm playing now. That's pretty nice. It sort of revolves around the lives of the nurses in the hospital and one of the nurses just got back from Iraq and each of the nurses has their own little storylines. We'll start shooting the series and we'll be on the air in January on NBC. Delroy Lindo is in it and James LeGros and I think it's going to be a really great show. People seem to really like it, so I'm excited about working on that.
So if that carries on, will that conflict with you returning for Weeds at all, or are they different schedules?
Guillermo Diaz: The good thing is that once Weeds is done shooting, Mercy starts and then when Mercy is done shooting, that's when Weeds starts in, so they wouldn't conflict. That's definitely a good thing.
I also have to ask - I actually know (creator) Neil Garguilo and (director) Brian O'Connell - so I have to ask about Zombie Grandma.
Guillermo Diaz: Oh, no way!
Yeah. I see them at the comedy club every now and then.
Guillermo Diaz: Oh, cool man. They're awesome. I love those guys.
So are you guys still working on that right now, or what's the status of that?
Guillermo Diaz: Well, we did the pilot episode for Zombie Grandma and now, I think they're just tweaking it and they're finishing editing and all the sound and all that stuff and then start shopping it to networks and hopefully get a distribution deal.
Nice. So this is an animated show, correct?
Guillermo Diaz: Yeah, it's an animated show, Zombie Grandma. Neil and I are these two stoner friends who, their grandmother is dying and we try to put her back together and she kind of comes back from the dead from this spell we put over her body. It's a crazy show. It's sort of similar to the whole Beavis and Butt-Head feel, these two buddies getting into all this f*cked up trouble. It's really funny though and it's a really unique show. I hope that definitely goes.
So, finally, what would you like to say to maybe your fans or fans of the show, about what to expect from this season of Weeds in general?
Guillermo Diaz: Let's see. I would say that whatever you're going to expect, it's going to be the complete opposite (Laughs). It's funny when the final episode airs for each season, we don't get those last few pages of the script. Even the actors on the show don't know, unless you're actually in the scene, we don't know what's going to happen. So it should be a lot of unexpected things happening, so just be ready. Just take a big bong hit and just get ready for the show (Laughs). That would be my advice.
Awesome. Well, that's about all I have for you, Guillermo. Thanks so much for your time and I'm looking forward to seeing Zombie Grandma.
Guillermo Diaz: Thank you so much.
You can see Guillermo Diaz return in next week's episode of Weeds, which airs on Monday, June 15 at 10 PM ET on Showtime, and you can also pick up Weeds: Season Four on the DVD and Blu-ray shelves right now