Aimee Carrero on Playing a Sandinista in Season Two of FX's The Americans: "It's Been a Privilege and an Education"
With her oversized hat and sunglasses, Aimee Carrero looked as if she were fresh off a film set and strolling the streets of Los Angeles. In reality, she was just making time to share coffee and conversation with Cultist in her hometown of Miami. It was a casual Saturday afternoon, and once we took our seats outside the coffee shop, Carrero took off her hat and sunglasses. She glowed with excitement and humility when we brought up her latest project: The Americans.
Collin Stark, courtesy of Aimee Carrero
"I never thought I had a prayer's chance in hell getting this part," she says about the cable-scripted drama on FX.
In season two of the series, Carrero plays a Sandinista leader who goes to Washington, D.C. from Nicaragua as an undercover spy aiding the Soviets. Her character, Lucia, is a fiery, young revolutionary who can't wait to get her hands dirty playing the game.
"She's everything that Keri Russell's character [Elizabeth Jennings] used to be," Carrero said.
Lucia serves as a mirror to Elizabeth in season two, forcing to latter to ask: "How far am I from that? How close am I to that? What have I lost? What have I gained being here?"
If you're unfamiliar with The Americans, Carrero describes the premise of the series as "two Soviet spies in the '80s who have been living in the states for a long time. They've left everything behind and have no contact with their people back home. They have kids together, they pass themselves off as Americans, they have no accent, and they're totally Americanized -- except they're not."
"I think what the show kind of toys with is the idea of what's good and what's bad, what's right and what's wrong, depending on what side you're on."
Collin Stark, courtesy of Aimee Carrero This girl means bid-ness
It all goes back to the antihero complex and audiences who love to root for the bad guy, because they're bad guys who think what they're doing it right.
"One thing I learned while working on this show is that all characters feel justified in what they're doing -- no matter how they look to the other people."
Despite justification on Lucia's part, Carrero admits it wasn't easy getting into character - especially being from Miami. Lucia is young, ambitious, and a passionate radical living in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution. In other words, she plays a communist, and anyone from Miami knows we don't take too well to communism.
"The Nicaraguan revolution was heavily influenced by the Cuban revolution," she said, "and having my own opinions as a person living in Miami and knowing the Cuban sentiments -- I'm not Cuban, but I feel Cuban sometimes having grown up here -- it was just really interesting."
The experience has taught her to get personal feelings out of the way.
"It's impossible to play a character if you judge them," she said. "You don't have to like them, but you have to try to understand where they're coming from."