Timothy Granaderos stars in Netflix’s original series 13 Reasons Why, playing the role of “Montgomery de la Cruz,” the high school’s villain and hot-headed jock. His character is involved in multiple important conversations throughout season one and two, and his character spearheads one of the most shocking scenes at the end of season two. Granaderos explains what it felt like executing the sodomy scene, from the perspective of an actor and from the perspective of “Montgomery.” He also stresses the importance of having these difficult discussions in order to progress and move forward. Granaderos also stars in T@gged, a psychological drama that airs on HULU and is currently working on a comedy. He discusses his roles and future projects in our Summer 2018 issue.

To start off, can you tell me a little about how you got into acting? When did you know you wanted to be an actor? Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
I’ve been an athlete my entire life, and when that slowed down a little bit I started to actually work in Television production. My sister is a makeup artist so she got me a job as  a PA on a show. So that introduced me to the world of television. And kind of from there I took up an interest in being on camera. I started learning a little bit, and doing some commercial acting, or lots of auditioning I should say,  and eventually decided I want to get into theatrical acting. I took some scene study classes. So that was my path to becoming an actor. And after I started to take classes, I knew it was something that I enjoy more than anything else really at the time. It was something I wanted to pursue and put all my energy into.

Where did you grow up? What were you like as a child?
I grew up in Portage, Michigan. I am a proud Michigander. I love the Midwest and everyone there. I miss it. I played soccer, so I was always an athlete. I had a very close group of friends. I was kind of a class clown and made people laugh. Sometimes it got me in trouble. I tried to be inclusive of all people around me.

I think being an athlete transfers to being an actor: it forces you to be driven, practicing, working out, studying, and constantly being better.

Do you take any of your tactics on the field to the studio?
Yeah, actually when you’re playing, especially against other teams, it’s competitive. It’s a rivalry, right?  Brings out like this animalistic instinct, and I think Montgomery (in 13 Reasons Why) taps into it a little bit. There’s no control. Some things you say on the field are left on the field. I think there is a relationship between being an athlete and being in 13 Reasons Why (not the bad ones)! I think being an athlete transfers to being an actor: it forces you to be driven, practicing, working out, studying, and constantly being better. They are very hand-in-hand.

What were one of your first projects in terms of acting?
A Pepsi commercial. It wasn’t really acting; it was just playing soccer. I grew up playing soccer. That’s my sport. I played soccer my whole life. And I was like “acting is cool”;  I can just act and play soccer. Easy!

You can currently be seen in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why in which you play Montgomery De La Cruz, who is a very complex and controversial character. How does it feel playing the role of an unfavorable character?
Well it’s definitely a little tricky, but in order to see the good characters you have to see the bad. So I think Montgomery is kind of a villain in season two, and as an actor, it was exciting to explore a multi-dimensional character. I mean he is a product of his environment, so there’s so much going on that you don’t even know about. In season two, you get small glimpse of his home life, maybe an abusive household. So, as an actor it was fun to explore what made Monty the way he is.

13 Reasons Why, is more than just a teen drama, it involves many social issues that are prevalent in teen’s lives today. What do you hope 13 Reasons Why does for teenagers around the world? Why do you think 13 Reasons Why is important?
I hope that teenagers realize they are not alone. I hope teens know that they are not the only ones going through what they are going through. When you’re that age, you feel like it’s you against the world and that the stakes are high. You don’t realize that everyone around you can relate to what you’re going through. I hope through our show, teens will be able to be more open and vocal about their feelings and emotions with each other. Just to lean on each other really! We’re all doing it together.

In the last episode of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, “Bye”, Monty and some of his baseball buddies bully Tyler Down (David Druid) into the bathroom. They kick, punch, abuse and most prominently sodomize him with the stick of a mop. This was a very hard scene to watch for 13 Reasons Why‘s audience. How did you feel acting as “Monty” in this moment? What do you think it has to say about male-on-male sexual harassment?
From the outside, it might look like anger, but from the inside it felt like pain. Pain that Monty didn’t really know how to properly deal with. Sadly, similar scenarios to this have taken place. Male-on-male sexual harassment is more common than we know. I think it’s tough for a male, who is expected to be this figure of strength and masculinity. There is this degree of shame and embarrassment that comes with coping with sexual harassment of all degrees.

Why do you think the sodomy in 13 Reasons Why scene was important to included?
It was important to include because it’s the final catalyst to Tyler deciding to carry out his plan. And it’s not a fictional scenario. It’s brutal and raw.

There has been a lot of backlash about the scene, in regard to male-to-male sexual assault and whether or not it was necessary to include it. Do you think that it was carried out correctly?
Again, it’s a real situation. It shouldn’t be easy to watch. My heart pours out to victims of these type of assaults as well as any type of sexual harassment. We wanted to be honest and real, so yes, I think it was carried out correctly.

You are also the lead star in psychological thriller T@gged, which also has to do with social media and what happens if it falls into the wrong hands. Could you describe what it’s about?
We’ve just finished shooting our third season, and it’s coming out pretty soon. Similar to that, it has this social media presence. It’s about these three girls that get anonymously tagged in this video of another girl getting killed and the person is blackmailing them in acting a certain way. It has the same theme of bullying and social media. I play a character named “Ash” who is the love interest of one of the girls, and it’s just navigating the pressures of being a teenager, similar to 13 Reasons Why.

Do you feel changed in anyway through these two shows?
It makes you realize that everyone is experiencing different degrees of pain and struggle. Both projects have made me realize it needs to be talked about more. Especially with 13 Reasons Why, that hasn’t been talked about in the past. It is good to get the conversation started.

What is the message about social media you hope T@gged gets across to your audience?
Be more open and kind to each other. It’s easy to judge someone, but you don’t realize what’s going on in their life.

What are you most proud of thus far, personally or career wise?
Just finding a platform to speak to younger people. Both of these shows are aimed to a younger demographic, not to say that older people can’t take from it as well. But this really sparks some important conversations, and we’re doing it right now. Hopefully doing some good outside of entertaining people.

It’s really cool, this platform we have as actors is that you can really make a difference. Leading by example is something I would like to do more.

Anything you hope to improve upon in your new future? Career wise or personally.
In my career, I just want to get better and experiencing more. Taking opportunities and constantly improving your craft. As a human being, I would like to put myself out there more and volunteer more. It’s really cool, this platform we have as actors is that you can really make a difference. Leading by example is something I would like to do more.

Do you have a dream role? Someone you have always wanted to play?
Hopefully someone that is really, really nice. That is always smiling and does not bully anyone. But maybe a fantasy movie or something. Like Lord of the Rings is my jam, so anything where I can turn into an elf or troll or something.

Are there any new projects you are working on that you can share?
I’m currently shooting a comedy that’s a nod to an eighties film that you might recognize. Also, I work on another show called T@gged that streams on HULU. Our third season is coming out sometime in the near future!

 

STORY MEGHANA PATNANA
PHOTOS SHANNA FISHER
GROOMING MICHELLE HARVEY
STYLING ANNE DEMAY

Read more in Volume III, Issue No. 003 – Summer 2018.

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