'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Star Stephanie Beatriz Nails Deadpan Humor on FOX Comedy, Talks Latina Representation on TV
When it comes to seamlessly delivering deadpan humor, Latina star Stephanie Beatriz nails it on the Golden Globe-winning, FOX breakout success, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
Beatriz, who plays Detective Rosa Diaz, recently spoke with Latin Post in an exclusive interview and shared her pride for her strong yet comedic character as well as her love for the comical, creative genius of the cast, its directors and writers.
The talented actress stars in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" alongside fellow Latina Melissa Fumero and shared the set with recent guest star Eva Longoria. She is relishing in the moment, loving her character development, and is learning a lot from "SNL" alum Andy Samberg, who has impeccable comedic timing. (Plus she gushed about being a big fan of his comedic band, The Lonely Island.)
Now in its second season, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is on a roll and gaining more fans. The well-received show won two Golden Globe Awards in 2014 -- one for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy and one for Samberg for Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy.
What is it like playing Detective Rosa Diaz on FOX's Golden Globe-winning show?
"I am getting to play a super-strong, badass female character, which doesn't happen too on TV," Beatriz told Latin Post. "Character development-wise, I am continuously delighted and surprised every day at work with every script that we read."
"I am just beside myself to get these bits and pieces of Rosa and building her has really been a true collaboration between the writers, directors and myself," she added. "It's always a creative challenge. It's really, really, really fun."
Beatriz maintains a straight face which seems really hard to do, given the hilarious cast on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
Diaz (Beatriz) delivers classic one-liners, more recently in the "Thanksgiving Lock-Down" episode, where Jake (Samberg) suggests that the group watch the romantic comedy "Something's Gotta Give." Diaz (Beatriz) responds: "'That movie is hilarious'" with a serious, straight-face. She also gives a grim description of what can happen to you if Anthrax attacks your system.
In real life, Beatriz is very different than Detective Rosa Diaz; she's an out-loud jokester and is very kind and positive. On the other hand, the comedic actress pointed out that she is learning how to channel another side of her personality to further embellish her fierce and stoic character.
"My favorite place in the world is Disney World if that tells you anything. ... There is a dark side to everyone, so I am sort of turning up the volume with Rosa," she laughed, "kind of executing the darkness of my personality I guess."
So will "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" fans see a softer, more vulnerable side to Detective Rosa Diaz?
"What I can tell you is there is some crossover with Rosa's personal life and Rosa's office life, and as you know, Rosa doesn't like that," she explained. "There is going to be a little vulnerability there."
With two strong Latinas on the cast, recent guest star Longoria, as well as TV Shows, like "Jane the Virgin," and "Cristela," what has that been like for Beatriz to have more Latina representation on TV?
"I actually wrote about this at length for a blog I write for periodically on Latina.com. One of the first ones I wrote was about that," she explained. "For me, growing up there weren't a lot of Latinos who I could look at and identify with, but when I think about it, for example, my cousins and nieces now have that. My cousin dressed up as Rosa for Halloween. I couldn't do that when I was a kid, find someone on television who looked like me who I could emulate and be proud to look like."
"Its an incredible that people of all ethnicities, not just Latinos, can turn on the TV and find people who look like themselves and the complexities that reflect their personalities," she added. "It's just an incredible time on television," she said.
"In my life, yes being Latina is important to who I am, but it's definitely not something I talk about everyday. I love that our show, just makes it normal (when referring to ethnicity and homosexuality, etc.)."
If you aren't familiar with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" yet, here's the low-down, according to FOX.
"Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), a talented and carefree cop with the best arrest record, has never had to follow the rules too closely or work very hard. That changes when Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), a man with a lot to prove, becomes the new commanding officer of Brooklyn's 99th precinct.
"As Holt reminds Peralta (Samberg) to respect the badge, an extremely competitive colleague -- Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) -- starts to close in on the hotshot cop's arrest record. Other members of the precinct include Sgt. Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), a devoted family man, Detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), a hard worker who idolizes Jake, and Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), a sexy-yet-intimidating detective. Civilian office manager Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) is tasked with cleaning up everyone's mess, while somehow getting involved in everyone's business."
Beatriz, who will next be seen in the upcoming feature film "You're Not You," has also had a major supporting role in the 2013 SXSW winner "Short Term 12."
She's guest-starred on other TV shows, such as "Southland," "The Closer" and "Hello Ladies," in addition to playing Sofia Vergara's sister on "Modern Family."
"I was just honored to be in the room with such amazing women (on the set of "Modern Family"). It was an amazing experience," she said.
Beatriz is also a thespian and has starred in "American Night" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California, and "Othello" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
What's on tap for the FOX comedy's Season Two?
"'Brooklyn Nine-Nine's' second season will see dramatic changes from its season one plotlines. It will follow cliffhangers during season one's finale that involve Jake's (Samberg's) admittance of his feelings for detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) and Jake's new assignment to go undercover for an FBI investigation, according to Variety.
If you haven't seen it yet, check out the official trailer for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" on FOX.