The Dallas Decoder Interview: Juan Pablo Di Pace

Dallas, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Juan Pablo Di Pace

Spoiler alert! “Dallas” surprised viewers this week when Juan Pablo Di Pace’s character, Nicolas Treviño, stood by and watched his partners in crime execute his lifelong friend, Drew Ramos (Kuno Becker). I spoke to Di Pace last week about Nicolas’s dark turn and what will happen next on the TNT drama.

Dude, you killed Drew!

I know, I know. I’m so happy I did. [Laughs]

How’d you find out your character was going to become a killer?

There was sense among the cast that someone was going to die. Then it became clear it was Drew, and then when I read the script, I thought, “Oh, it’s me! I’m the killer!” [Laughs] But it’s a horrible thing. He’s like Nicolas’s half-brother.

What was it like to film the big scene where Drew takes the bullet?

It was hard. The producers really wanted to show that Nicolas is this badass, cold guy. So I went there and I was really cold. I went in thinking, “OK, I’m not going to feel anything. I’m not going to cry.” And all of a sudden, in the last take, my eyes were bawling. It just felt so wrong. It’s inevitable that Nicolas would feel something because Drew’s family.

How long did that scene take to film?

Steve Robin, the director of that episode, wanted me to do it many times because he really wanted different sizes of the shot. It was a very intense half-day, but I absolutely love Kuno Becker. He’s wonderful to work with. So it was a great day, all in all. But it certainly gives Nicolas a twist. Everyone was wondering, “Is this guy a complete monster?” Yes, he is a monster.

Dallas, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Introducing Mr. Trevino

So when you joined the “Dallas” cast, did you know this was the direction Nicolas was going in?

Well, when I joined the show, it was very, very fast. I had just arrived in L.A. I was just breezily going through my first week [there], and then I get the call: “Put yourself on tape for ‘Dallas.’” I did that, and two days later, I’m talking to Cynthia [Cidre, the show’s executive producer]. And then a day after that, I’m in Dallas shooting. So I had no time to think about the enormity of it all. But what Cynthia did — which was great — was on that flight from L.A. to Dallas, she explained to me the whole two seasons prior, and she explained the arc of the character in Season 3.

What did she tell you about Nicolas?

She mentioned that he’s not what he seems, but I did not predict he was going to be a killer. That was definitely a big surprise for me.

Would you have preferred knowing that from the start?

In this profession, you always have to readjust. I don’t know if you remember the first season of “24,” but Nina Meyers was Jack’s sidekick, and at the end of the season, they told the actress, “Oh, by the way, you’re the mole.” So as an actor, you always want to know, but sometimes the producers don’t tell you so you don’t play what’s coming.

Dallas, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Boardroom debut

I have to tell you: I liked Nicolas so much as the charming rapscallion. I loved his first scene, where he breezes into the boardroom and upsets the Ewings’ apple cart.

That’s what’s fun about playing him. He has these different colors. He’s a guy with a secret, and he’s always hiding stuff. You know, in the beginning, we thought, “Elena is the one person he can tell everything to.” Not anymore. Now he has to hide the death of Drew, and that really affects Nicolas a lot. It’s stirring inside of him the rest of the season.

Well, let’s talk about his relationship with Elena. What’s up with the whole diaphragm-puncturing business?

Elena is the love of his life. I mean, that is one true thing about him. He adores her and doesn’t want to lose her, but he also knows he won’t be able to keep everything from her for very long. And when she finds out, it’s not going to be pretty. So I think the puncturing of the diaphragm is his way of securing a place in her life. Having a child together means having a connection to her that is beyond all the bad stuff that he’s doing for the cartel. It’s a twisted plan, of course. It’s very Nicolas. [Laughs]

So he’s killing people and he’s sabotaging people’s birth control. What else are we going to see him do this year?

I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you. [Laughs]

Oh, no. Nicolas is coming after me now!

I’m just going to say, toward the end of the season, it gets very exciting. The “Dallas” writers have this talent for giving you the cliffhanger, and I can tell you there’s another “Oh my God” moment before the season ends.

Dallas, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Connected forever?

Oh, good. So how are you enjoying working with the cast?

I love it. Jordana [Brewster] was the first person I did a scene with when I arrived, fresh off the boat. She’s just a dream to work with. And the rest of the cast is just a hoot. Julie Gonzalo is so funny. Linda Gray is the greatest woman on the planet. So beautiful and gracious. She gave me this huge hug when I finished my boardroom scene and said, “I’m so excited you’re here.” And you know, to have that hug from Sue Ellen was spectacular.

There are a lot of people who’d like to get a hug from Sue Ellen.

And then there’s Patrick Duffy. The boardroom scene was on my second day, and I was pretty nervous. It was a big speech, so I was kind of walking backwards and forwards, going through my lines, and the rest of the cast was — I won’t say distant, but giving me my space. And so Patrick comes up to me and says, “By the way, Juan, we know how freaked out you are and how difficult this is, because we’ve all been there, so we will talk to you properly in about two weeks’ time.” [Laughs] And that was so nice because when you first join a show, it’s so nerve-wracking, and you want to do the best you can. That was really sweet of him to say that.

And he directed one of the upcoming episodes. What was that like?

That man is so talented. You’ll see that. That episode is an actors’ episode. There’s a lot of confrontation and dialogue. He did an incredible job of jumping out of the director’s chair and then [acting in] these really intense scenes. It’s the kind of episode where you say, “So this is the season finale, right?” And it’s not. There are three or four more after that.

It sounds like you’re enjoying being part of this ensemble.

We’ve had so many laughs. I watched all the Oscar-nominated movies this year with Emma Bell and Brenda Strong. We went to the cinema a lot when we weren’t shooting. It’s a really chill team, and very tight as well. We’re like a family.

Dallas, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Suit up for more!

And what are you hearing about the show returning for a fourth year?

Well, we’re just thinking positively. It’s difficult for a lot of shows to make it to season 2 or 3, so we’re really blessed the show’s gone this far. But we’re just looking forward to going back to Dallas.

Good. Are you hopeful you’ll be part of the fourth season?

Yep, I’m hopeful. Because Nicolas’s character … I can’t tell you anything.

Well, I’m worried about the guy because once you start killing people….

Yeah, I know. He’s treading a very fine line.

Besides “Dallas,” you just completed a movie with Matthew Morrison from “Glee.” What was that like?

It was great. Matthew’s a really cool, talented guy. It’s an independent film about this guy who loses his father to cancer and can’t really deal with that, so he decides to go onto a reality show like “The Bachelorette.” So I play this guy who’s called Dunkin, and he’s his nemesis on the show. I’m playing a manipulative character, someone who’s using his charms to get what he wants, and manipulating people’s feelings to win the show.

Sounds like a fun movie. When will that come out?

It’s being prepared for the Sundance festival, so sometime early next year.

You also write and direct.

Right. I’m finishing a script that I’ve been writing for five years with a friend from Argentina. I’ve directed five or six short films and couple of music videos when I was living in the U.K. I love it. I still have to do my first feature, but right now, I’m just excited to be Nicolas. I cannot wait for people to see more of him because he’s a twisted, twisted guy.

Share your comments below and read more interviews from Dallas Decoder.

Comments

  1. …you could have waited until after the 2nd showing of the episode, or perhaps even tomorrow to post this. Or at the very least not put that huge SPOILER right in the opening lines. I had to wait for the 8 pst airing to watch this episode, but since I’m following this blog it showed up in the “Reader” section in WordPress, showing the first three lines of the post before you have to click on it to read the whole thing. So I immediately saw it written that Nicholas kills Drew. So no surprise for me tonight.

    • Sorry, J.R. I didn’t mean to spoil the surprise. I hoped that by putting “spoiler alert” at the beginning of the interview, it would discourage fans in your situation from reading further, but as you point out, sometimes it’s still hard to avoid seeing stuff you don’t want to see. If other readers had a similar experience, I apologize.

      • Dan in WI says:

        Call it live and learn Chris. You did put spoiler alert first and in italics but the “Dude, you killed Drew!” was in bold and still quite close to the top. The bold does tend to catch the eye first.
        One possible solution: In the days of message boards I remember a common rule was to state “spoiler alert” and then put many lines of blank space so you had to scroll down before you could see anything. In the days of larger monitors that is less practical but there must be something along those lines that would work.

      • In the WordPress Reader it showed:

        “Spoiler alert! “Dallas” surprised viewers this week when Juan Pablo Di Pace’s character, Nicolas Treviño, stood by and watched his partners in crime execute his lifelong friend, Drew Ramos (Kuno Becker). 1,559 more words”

        So I really couldn’t avoid seeing the part about Drew’s death, even without clicking on the actual article. So yeah, like Dan suggests, next time at least put some lines of blank space after “Spoiler Alert” or put some longer warning. Just keep in mind how the preview will be formatted for subscribers like me.

        Other than that, good interview. He is a good new character addition to the show. But as you imply, now that’s he’s crossed the line to actual murderer that doesn’t bode well for his longterm prospects. He would have to be slightly redeemed somehow, which isn’t impossible, daytime soaps do it all the time when a “bad” character becomes popular with fans (see: Luke raping Laura…), but it isn’t easy.

      • I think Drew’s homicide was somewhat justified. After all, Drew Ramos set the bomb charges & timers that killed Cliff & Bobby’s grandkids in Pamela’s womb. Which is why Cliff getting set up for J.R.’s murder & put in a Mexican prison was also justified.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nicolas is a bad person he needs to leave Dallas show he messing things up!

  3. BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS A GREAT SEASON OPENER, I LOVED HOW THE SHOW SWITCHED DIRECTIONS AND ALL THE PLOT TWIST, EXCELLENT WRITING AND ACTING.PRODUCING,DIRECTING, AND DELICIOUS SCHEMING. I HOPE THERE WILL BE A SEASON FOUR. THIS SHOW IS JUST AMAZING AND I WAS VERY NEGATIVE ABOUT THE SPLIT TNT DECIDED TO DO, BUT AFTER LAST NIGHT I HOPE THEY CONTINUE TO DO IT THIS WAY, I LOVED SEEING IT IN THE WITNER AND PICKING RIGHT BACK UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF. GREAT SHOW AND A SHOCKING TWIST AT THE END I DID NOT SEE COMING, GREAT WORK DALLAS

  4. SweetLee @Dallas_follower says:

    I agree with J.R. Lemar. I also found out about Drew’s murder because it was stated at the beginning of your review post and was on my screen before I could turn away from it. Oh well. I still enjoyed watching how it happened on the show.

    Great interview with Juan Pablo Di Pace. I enjoyed reading it and getting to know him better. Thank you!

  5. I wasn’t sorry to see Drew go, considering the direction his character had taken. I can understand why he and Elena would be outraged over the injustice done to their father by JR 35 years ago, but that has nothing to do with Bobby or Christopher or anyone else. Ever since the Season 2 finale I’ve been scratching my head wondering why Elena, knowing what an honorable man Bobby is, wouldn’t simply go to him with the evidence given to her by Cliff and trust him to do right by the Ramos family. There is no question he would compensate them financially.

    I don’t like that storyline anyway. I simply don’t buy that Cliff would have held back on that particular bit of ammunition on JR for 35 years. Not when they had battled extensively into the early 1990’s. And it’s not like Cliff was never in dire straits and had no reason to pull the trigger on something like that. Hell, the man was driven to a suicide attempt at one point. In hindsight it’s a pity he wasn’t successful…though we wouldn’t have the lovely Pamela Rebecca today.

  6. Garnet McGee says:

    Di Pace is doing a great job but I see him becoming another Vicente Cano. His character is no longer viable which is too bad since he would have been a good partner in crime with Pamela. The execution scene was very similar to an execution scene in the Mexican narconovela Reina del Sur down to the part of kissing the saint’s medal and the victim saying “I’ll see you in hell”. I wish I was tech savvy enough to post the scene it reminded me of.

Trackbacks

  1. […] — while Juan Pablo Di Pace makes his character feel equal parts sinister and desperate. When I interviewed Di Pace last week, he told me director Steve Robin wanted Nicolas to come off as this “cold, […]

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