At the movies

Dexter star Aimee Garcia goes from being a nanny to a scientist in ‘Robocop’

 
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Jason Merritt / Getty Images

On Dexter, Aimee Garcia was the ultimately loyal nanny to serial killer/blood spatter expert Dexter Morgan. In the Robocop reboot, Garcia switches professions, donning a white coat to play a scientist helping Dr. Dennett Norton ( Gary Oldman) turn a critically wounded cop into the ultimate crime-fighting machine. Garcia, 35, was at the Soho Beach House to chat about the movie which also stars Samuel L Jackson, as a larger than life television personality, and Michael Keaton as a corporate baddie.

You had primarily done TV before “Robocop.” How did you get attached to this project?

I auditioned; originally my part [Jae Kim] wasn't written for a Latina so I was thinking, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to get this. I don’t know if they want someone blond or whatever.’ But then I thought, Why not me? I have three degrees from Northwestern. I feel very much like the modern-day Latina. I wanted to fight for this role, and I got it. When I heard, my heart just skipped a beat. Dreams really do come true.

Right. You were born in Chicago, but are totally bilingual.

I’m a Mexorican. For the holidays I’d either go to Mexico or Puerto Rico [to see relatives]. Spanish is my first language. When my mom calls to this day, le hablo en español. I also feel very all American. I’m a Cubs fan. I threw out the first pitch at Wrigley. Another dream come true.

The film was set in 2028. Do you think there will be such major advancements in medicine and technology as in the movie?

I did so much research for this role. I really do believe doctors from opposite ends of the world will be able to communicate with each other instantaneously, show each other X-rays and then instantly give one another advice. You see a lot of it already.

Many of your costars in the big leagues. Did you ever feel starstruck?

I mean, these are living legends, actors’ actors. At one point I was in between Michael and Gary and thought, ‘I am standing next to Batman and the Commissioner!’ I was stoked; I totally geeked out! Michael Keaton is such a movie star. He can be anything; he’s so funny and charming and has this effervescence about him. I told him, ‘You know what, Michael? I hope you use your charm for good because no one is going to say no to you.’ I think people want to see more of him; he’s been very selective about what he chooses. And Gary is one of the most generous actors... one of the best of our generation.

What was the atmosphere like with all those stars milling around?

Our director, Jose Padilha, is Brazilian and he brought the fiesta. You’re a professional and you show up to do your job and tell a story. How fun is that? So it's long hours, shooting 16 hours a day. But if it wasn’t fun it wouldn’t be fun to watch. Jose created this environment where people felt the most creative.

Do fans still recognize you as Jaime Batista from “Dexter?” What was being on that show like?

All the time. I was just in New York taking the subway, and someone came up to me: ‘Can we talk about the ending for a minute?’ [Laughs]. After working with the amazing Michael C. Hall, I thought, ‘Where do we go from here? How do I top this?’ My character was great -- always taking care of the kid, never suspecting, wearing a bikini, cooking. Now I’m in a lab coat!

What’s next?

I’m trying to develop my own show. I’m up to working with [Breaking Bad creator] Vince Gilligan. Or any movie opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.

Really? Jake Gyllenhaal is your crush?

You just made me blush.

Madeleine Marr

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