Puerto Rican Armando Riesco shares his victories as an actor in “National Treasure”

“From a failed audition for two films and now, a series,” is how Puerto Rican actor Armando Riesco describes his experience with the “National Treasure” franchise, which after having triumphed at the box office with its first two films, closed this week the first season of the series on Disney Plus.

The production graduated Riesco from being a tertiary character in the films to having a key role in the series. In the two decades since that happened, the talented Puerto Rican has built an eclectic resume that has seen him work with directors like Steven Soderberg (Che) and Oliver Stone (World Trade Center) and an impressive list of notable roles in various series. such as “Law and Order”, “Royal Pains”, “A Gifted Man”, “Blue Bloods”, “Power and The Chi”.

During a pleasant virtual chat, the screenwriter and protagonist of the acclaimed feature film “Seneca”, which premiered in 2020 on HBO MAX, spoke with The new day about his experience in the series of “National Treasure” and a preview of his role with Sarah Jessica Parker in the second season of “And Just Like That”.

Did you ever think that you would have to play the FBI agent from the two “National Treasure” movies again?

Not at all. I really did not imagine. I had heard of rumors of a third film, but they have been talking about it for almost fifteen years. I thought that this project was no longer going to happen. I didn’t know there were plans for a series on Disney Plus, much less that I was going to be a part of it.

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Did they explain the dramatic arc of your character in the narrative of this first season or did you find out while they were handing you the scripts for the episodes?

Look at television it is almost always in that last way, that one does not know anything. When I worked on the series “The Chi”, from one episode to another, I found out things about my character that I didn’t know. Look, it turns out that I study at this university or wow He didn’t know that his dad had committed suicide. Things like that. But for this series, she did know what was going to happen with the character. When I’m offered the role, it just so happens that it’s something that happens to a lot of actors. I hadn’t worked at anything for six months and, at the moment, two job offers come up at the same time. And in this case it was the same day. The other was a television series for Showtime. And I was leaning more towards that, because it was a project with a little more prestige. But the writers of “National Treasure” called me directly and asked me to give them a chance to sell me on what they had planned for the character. So they told me from beginning to end what I was going to do with it. That seemed super interesting to me. And the other thing is that being part of something that has lasted in popular culture for so long is very rewarding. I auditioned for the first movie in 2003. In other words, they’ve been tumbling around for twenty years. That really made the experience very nice.

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All ten episodes are out now, but without going into too much detail, what was your reaction to what they did to your role on the show?

I am very excited. The reality of the case is that he was a very small character in both films. The first one gave me the opportunity to work with Harvey Keitel, which was amazing. But the character as such was not great. So I was not disappointed at all, because it was the opportunity to do something different. They could easily have used another character or found another actor to play him. So it was really nice that they took me into consideration. My relationship with everything that has to do with “National Treasure” has always been very particular because when I auditioned for the first movie, it wasn’t for this role. The director told me, ‘I don’t think you would work for this character, but I like you.’ Six months later came the offer to play Agent Hendrick. And honestly after filming it I thought that they could have eliminated me in the editing process. But luckily it wasn’t like that. Everything I did was used in the movie and here we are. From a failed audition to two movies and now a series. As an actor, you need those victories to have hope and continue.

In "National Treasure"Armando Riesco shares roles with Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In “National Treasure”, Armando Riesco shares roles with Catherine Zeta-Jones. (Supplied)

Much of the series’ main cast are actors not connected to the movies. Were they interested in talking to you about your experience in those projects?

All the conversations were a variation of ‘I can’t believe you were in the original movie. I was two years old when it premiered. (Series)

Eventually the narrative of the series leads you to share scenes with Catherine Zeta-Jones. How was the experience of working with her?

Well, it was quite similar to working with Nicolas Cage. Because they are actors who have all this trajectory that gives you this feeling that you know them. And then being with them on stage is something strange and peculiar. She was very professional. She is very generous with everything, with me and with the entire cast. It was a very interesting experience filming with her in the middle of a swamp in Louisiana. (Smiles) You can’t help but learn from someone who has so much experience in front of the cameras.

Your next project also got you interacting with other prominent actresses. How was the experience of being part of the “Sex and the City” universe with your participation in the second season of “And Just Like That”?

Well, I’ve never seen “Sex and the City”. So that freed me from having very specific expectations with that experience. The only thing I can tell you is that I had a great time. Cynthia Nixon, being an actress, well, she has a very special touch as a director. She knows how to talk very well with all the actors. She treated me very well and the entire production team was very friendly and professional. It was also a very nice experience. They know the tone of the show they are doing very well and Sarah Jessica Parker is a sweetheart.

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