Actor Ricky Garcia might not be a “household name” just yet, but that didn’t stop him from recently earning the most rewarding role of his young career.
In the new family comedy “Furry Vengeance,” which stars Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields, Garcia, 37, plays Frank, a construction foreman who leads a crew into building a new housing subdivision for a real estate developer (Fraser). Plans change, however, when the wild animals of the forest they are about to bulldoze emerge to defend their home.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Garcia, who is half Spanish and half Sicilian, always dreamed of acting since he was a kid.
“I always wanted to be on ‘Miami Vice,’” Garcia told me during a phone interview. “I wanted to be Don Johnson. But when you’re 4’11 and chubby you’re not going to be Don Johnson.”
During our interview, he talked about his experience on the set of “Furry Vengeance” and how his three kids keep him feeling young at heart.
How did you get involved in the project?
I auditioned for this movie three or four times. The first time I went in I saw [director] Roger Kumble and made him laugh. Then, nothing happened. I get called back again and I made him laugh again, but nothing happened. He said, “Listen kid, you’re not a household name but you’re hysterical.” They were looking for someone with a bigger name, which is understandable. Finally they said, “You’re funny and we hope you stay funny because you got the part.”
Was the audition process daunting for you since they had you going back and forth?
Not really. I’ve been acting professionally for eight years, so I didn’t take it to heart. Once I got the part it was a great feeling. Now, I just have to maintain it.
What was it about the role that you liked?
I love Frank because I know a lot of Franks. He’s not there to be obnoxious. He wants to work. I know a lot of guys like that in the construction business. He’s just a hard-working dude who is always happy. Frank is a funny guy. Nothing seems to bother him.
What was your experience like working with Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields?
Most of my scenes are with them, so I was very fortunate. Brooke is a living icon, so when I got to meet her for the first time it was great. She treated me like I had known her forever. She was a very sweet lady. This is the first big film she had done in a long time, so it was very exciting.
Do you have kids who were excited when you told them you got this part in this movie?
I do have kids. I have toddlers – a four year old, a three year old, and a one year old. The four and three year old boys are excited. I put the trailer on all the time for them. It’s going to be a lot of fun when I finally get to take them to see the movie. I’ll take them a few times, why not?
Do they understand what daddy does for a living?
They do. I make most of my living from commercial work. When they seem me, they just point to the screen and scream, “There’s daddy again!” I kind of scare my daughter a little when I have a role where I have to gain weight or shave my head, so that’s not good.
Since your kids are so young, is it safe to say you’ve seen all the family-friendly movies playing at the theater?
I do try to take my kids to all the movies that are kid friendly. I think they’ll have time for all the bad stuff and rough stuff later. I took them to see “How to Train Your Dragon” in 3D. They’re excited about “Shrek [Forever After].” I’m having a blast with them right now. It’s a good time in my life.
“Furry Vengeance” is a comedy, so do you consider yourself a funny guy?
You know, it’s funny because when I met Philip Seymour Hoffman (who is directing Garcia’s next film “Jake Goes Boating”), he asked me if I was a stand-up comedian and I told him, “No, I can do this sitting down.” He started laughing his butt off, so apparently I am funny. I just didn’t know I was. I like to see the funny stuff in everything. It just worked out for me.