Nestor Carbonell as Alex Romero in Bates Motel. Photo copyright of A&E.
Perhaps you remember Nestor Carbonell as the mysterious and seemingly ageless Richard Alpert in the long-running ABC series Lost, or the super-powerless but nonetheless enthusiastic costumed crime-fighter Batmanuel in The Tick, or even exercising his comedic chops playing Luis Rivera opposite Brooke Shields in Suddenly Susan. On the big screen, Batman feature film fans know him as Mayor Anthony Garcia in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. With close to three decades of work experience under his proverbial belt, the dark, handsome and talented actor has portrayed a wide range of characters in a number of genres, including for the past five years, Alex Romero in A&E’s decidedly creepy drama Bates Motel. Besides his work on the series in front of the camera, Carbonell also stepped behind the camera three times to direct, most recently for Dreams Die First, airing as part of the show’s fifth and final season. The chance to explore this facet of the business is one for which the actor is extremely grateful.
“The only thing I’d directed before this were my kids on my iPhone,” jokes Carbonell,” so I have Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin [series co-creators/executive producers] as well as A&E and Universal Television for this incredible opportunity. They rolled the dice on me and I hope I didn’t screw it up because I truly relished every moment of it. Yes, I was challenged by everything, but I also had the most incredible support from everyone around me. Vera Farmiga [Norma Bates] had some really good advice for me after I finished shadowing our producer/director Tucker Gates and before I started directing my first episode [season three’s The Deal]. She directed a very good film called Higher Ground, having never directed before, and something that someone had told her and that Vera imparted to me was to, ‘Avail yourself of everyone’s talents. Don’t pretend to know everything, because you won’t. You’re surrounded by talented people, so just open yourself up to them. You’re going to get three or four opinions on everything, and then make your own decisions.’
“It was phenomenal advice, which I subsequently followed, and while I did have many, many questions, each time I directed, certain elements of the job came that little bit easier and quicker to me.
“I had some huge challenges with the last episode I was given to direct [this year’s Dreams Die First]. Rihanna joined us this season on the show, and it was one of her episodes. I was honored that they trusted me with it, because it was a demanding one production-wise due to her schedule. Phil Abraham, who directed Rihanna’s second episode, and I only got to work with her for five days, and in that time we had to shoot almost 40 pages of script between the two of us. So we knew we’d be under the gun before we even began shooting, and it was extremely tricky as far as the time constraints were concerned, but, again, I loved every minute of it. It was a pleasure working with Rhianna, who is such a trouper and brought her soul as well as her phenomenal work ethic and love of the show to the job. We knew Rihanna was a big fan of Bates Motel and that is certainly reflected onscreen with her beautiful and powerful performance.
"Dreams Die First" airs Monday, March 20th @ 10:00 p.m. EST/9:00 p.m. CT on A&E. As noted above photo copyright of A&E, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!