As far as in-person interviews go, chatting with J.R. Ramirez and Luis Antonio Ramos was up there on the not-too-shabby scale.
The two amiable — and surprisingly funny — Power stars were at the W South Beach Hotel on a recent evening in the outdoor garden to talk about the premiere of season 2 at 9 p.m. on Starz Saturday.
The gritty urban drama will pick up where it left off: Drug kingpin James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) is still trying to save his nightclub — and his personal life, as his wife is still unaware of his shady career choices.
Ramirez and Ramos know fans have been waiting awhile, and they’re happy to see it back on small screens as well.
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“It’s cruel to do that to viewers,” said Ramos, who plays Puerto Rican gang leader Ruiz. “It’s horrible. People are fiending for this almost a year to the day that season 1 ended. It’s like this slowly oozing toothpaste.”
But that’s the nature of the beast — cable television — and why bingeing is often the only remedy.
“We hear people watch it over and over again,” added Ramirez, whose character, Julio, is one of Ghost’s right-hand men. “And once they see it, they’ll go back to see to realize what they missed.”
Get ready for a ride, they say.
“You’re going to learn more about everyone’s lives,” said Ramirez, who was born in Cuba and grew up in Tampa. “Backgrounds get exposed. We are firing on all cylinders. Stuff hits the fan!”
They say the plot is so intense with so many twists and turns that even the cast got emotional during table reads.
“When we did the script read-throughs we were all kind of gasping,” said Ramos, who is from Puerto Rico but grew up in The Bronx. “The room was full of excitement.”
“I actually cried after one scene,” adds Ramirez, whose mom lives in North Miami Beach. “I had to huddle up with Omari so we could talk about it.”
Also adding to on-set intensity — and potential for tears — was the temperature. They shot in NYC, last winter.
“I am a Florida guy. I don’t do cold,” jokes Ramirez, who lived in South Beach as a model in the early millennium days. “I later asked the producer: ‘We have four seasons. What about doing this in the spring? Or at least fall?’”
The men recounted one particularly frigid nighttime scene by the Hudson River. The cast and crew were informed that medics would be on call in case of frostbite.
“There were icebergs floating in the water,” remembered Ramos, who was also recently seen as the president of Venezuela in TV’s Madame Secretary. “We were like, ‘Oh my god.’ Even though we look like we’re laughing and having a great time, we were dying.”
But they said the brutal conditions helped lend authenticity to the situation.
“The cold weather was like a character,” said Ramirez (CW’s Arrow). “And the show wouldn’t have the texture or color if we weren’t in New York. The city gives it something special that you couldn’t get from a set in L.A.”