“We had popcorn and he was showing the movies he made when my dad and my aunts were kids,” Garcia-Rulfo said of his grandfather’s home movies. “My aunts started making their own films – I was the main character most of the time – and I think I developed an obsession with filmmaking from that.”
When he was 13, his parents sent young Manuel to Vermont for a year so he could improve his English (learning to ski was a plus). Because the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, in New York, and a school of clowns in France – “Even actors in Mexico who are not clowns did it”, he said – were too expensive, he studied acting in Los Angeles and Mexico. His career takes off fairly quickly thereafter, though his American roles can be somewhat repetitive: hitman here, outlaw there, smuggler for a change of pace.
So when asked to read for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” while still in Mexico, Garcia-Rulfo jumped at the chance and sent in a tape.
“I was very happy and very grateful to the showrunners and the producers, with Netflix betting on that,” he said, adding that he was grateful to be playing a lead role that wasn’t a trafficker. drug. (The tide may have turned: A few days before our conversation, he had finished the Tom Hanks drama “A Man Called Otto,” in which he plays a computer scientist whom he describes as “a nice, funny, dopey guy.” .)
Garcia-Rulfo landed the role of Mickey, his first starring role in a TV series, after a casting process that took place entirely online – which gave him another excuse to worry. “You get pressure when you think, ‘Maybe when they see me in person, they’re going to be like, ‘No, that’s not it,'” he said.
Neve Campbell, who plays Mickey’s first wife Maggie, said she reached out to her new co-star and they went on a hike to get to know each other before work began last year.