Aimee Garcia joined the cast of Dexter last season as Batista (David Zayas)’s sister, Jamie. She’s become Dexter (Michael C. Hall)’s nanny, and started dating Louis (Josh Cooke), a video game designer who has it out for Dexter.
We got to speak with Garcia last week about what’s happened for Jamie so far on Dexter, and her role in the upcoming new Robocop movie. If you haven’t caught up on Dexter in your Watchlist, beware of spoilers!
Fanhattan: Are you still shooting Dexter?
Aimee Garcia: No, we wrapped for the season and now I am in fulltime Robocop mode in Toronto.
Fanhattan: If you wrapped on Dexter, that’s good news, you made it to the end of the season without something bad happening to Jamie.
Aimee Garcia: Yes, it’s true. You never know who’s going to die next on a show about a serial killer. I definitely flipped through the script very quickly and it keeps you on your toes, I will say that.
Fanhattan: When you first got the role, did you know Jamie was going to become such an integral character?
Aimee Garcia: I didn’t. I knew she would be important to the nuclear family life of Dexter because essentially she’s the mother figure to his kids since Rita was no longer there. So I knew that at least in the personal life of Dexter she would become very important but the thing about the show, it’s so unpredictable, especially when it comes to relationships, so I didn’t know where it was going to go, if she was going to start dating someone or not date someone or move in. There are so many different ways she could go as Batista’s little sister and Dexter’s fulltime nanny, or be at the wrong place at the wrong time and end up with blood all over her so that Dexter can be motivated to make a justified kill. So I definitely had no idea and was just kind of along for the ride.
Fanhattan: We’re only caught up to the fourth episode of this season, so what’s coming up for Jamie?
Aimee Garcia: Well, in typical Dexter fashion, mum’s the word over here, but she continues to fall for Harrison more and more and really, really loves that kid like her own. She has love goggles for her boss Dexter. He’s the best boss in the world. He gives her spending money when she goes to pick up the kids, Astor and Cody. She just really trusts him and thinks that Louis is crazy for thinking that Dexter is anything other than an amazing father. So she definitely keeps wearing bikinis, I can tell you that much as a true Miami girl, but beyond that, like I said, she could always be at the wrong place at the wrong time on this show or not.
Fanhattan: Were bikinis part of the job description?
Aimee Garcia: Not initially but any time you see the word Miami, you have to assume that half naked is pretty close behind.
Fanhattan: Are you comfortable with that as an actor?
Aimee Garcia: You know, I am actually. I’m part Puerto Rican so I think it’s in the blood to just be comfortable in island wear. I am actually. I did have to do my first nude scene on this show which was a bit of a challenge, but when you’re working on such a critically acclaimed show with amazing actors, you know that you’re going to be lit beautifully and it’s going to be very professional. It’s actually a very freeing experience. It’s been great. Right now I’m working with Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton, but I have to say, working with Michael C. Hall for the past two years, I told him when we wrapped season six, I said, “You know, Michael, you kind of screwed it for me because working with you is so amazing that I don’t know where to go from there.” He’s just so professional and such an incredible listener. Whenever the cameras are rolling, he’s absolutely present. You can see why he is so good. He just makes you better and it’s great.
Fanhattan: Do you think there’ll be a new love interest for Jamie after Louis?
Aimee Garcia: I don’t know. She is flirty and fun and now apparently single, so I think that’s a big possibility.
Fanhattan: Is she going to find out about Louis soon?
Aimee Garcia: I don’t know. I will say this: The writers are so talented that they rarely plant seeds that they don’t see through. I think that’s what makes the show so special, the way the writers kind of weave everything together, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes out later. But it really is nice. Even a simple scene like we saw this season already, when Jamie tells Dexter that Harrison is growing out of his toys, it sets the stage later for Dexter to realize that he’s growing out of his toys which are his blood slides. So for seven years, we’ve seen the serial killer collect trophies and become very attached to them. Here he sees the nanny of his kid throw away toys that Harrison no longer needs and at the end of the episode, Dexter’s throwing away his blood slides. So the writers have this incredible way of making a scene that could’ve been a nothing scene kind of have a bigger impact on Dexter.
Fanhattan: Were you a fan of Dexter before you got the job?
Aimee Garcia: Oh yeah, absolutely. I really think it changed the face of television. The show is on its seventh year and I think it really opened the floodgates for shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. If someone would’ve said that they were making a show about a serial killer killing other serial killers, I don’t think that anyone could’ve pulled that off except for the exceptional Michael C. Hall. So I feel like this show is so iconic and I think there’s a reason that the ratings keep going up even after seven years. The writers and cast are incredible and it’s very rare I think, especially in 2012 where everyone can see everything, to have a show that keeps outsmarting you and keeps you on your toes. I was in Whole Foods the other day and I overheard these two girls say, “Do you think she really saw his tools? You don’t think that was a dream?” And the other girl said, “I don’t know, maybe it is a dream because it’d be crazy if she really saw it in real life. I’m sure it was just a dream or something.” It was just so cool that after a show being on for seven years, you’re randomly in Whole Foods and two girls next to you are talking about something as if it was the first year of the series. So I really think it’s a special show and I think it really changed the face of television. Maybe I’m biased, but I think it’ll go down as one of the best instrumental shows in television history.
Fanhattan: Is that an unusual position for you to be in the industry, to be watching a show and then years later get a job on it?
Aimee Garcia: I think it’s a really fortunate position. I have friends who are on very high profile shows but they wouldn’t watch it if they were on it. Time is so precious that I just love that I would watch this series whether I were on it or not. It’s so funny because sometimes I forget. The show is about Dexter and about his journey and I find myself just watching the show and getting into the show. Then I’m like, “Oh God, that’s my scene.” But it’s such a compelling show that it is a little surreal I have to say. It’s just so cool to be part of a show that you’re proud of and that you’ve loved for years and you’ve gotten to know all these characters, and now you become one of them. Then the coolest thing is to see how fans of the show really are rooting for you and wondering if Louis is going to kill you and maybe if he’s going to kill you, how he’s going to kill you, and when he doesn’t kill you they get excited. It makes me feel so proud because I think Dexter fans are so smart. They’re really tech savvy. They’re super smart and so to have their blessings is just kind of icing on the cake.
Fanhattan: In Robocop are most of your scenes with Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman?
Aimee Garcia: Yes, and Joel Kinnaman who’s playing the title character of Robocop.
Fanhattan: Is Kim a new character to this version of Robocop?
Aimee Garcia: Well, she’s Gary Oldman’s assistant so she’s a fellow scientist. It’s just been great. Yesterday I had a scene with Joel and Gary and I really felt like I was doing a play. I haven’t done theater in a while so it was just so wonderful to work with such talented actors. I have to say, I think Dexter really was so instrumental in helping me feel completely comfortable working with Gary Oldman who just got nominated for an Oscar and Joel who won the Swedish version of the Oscar, so I didn’t feel out of place, I didn’t feel overwhelmed because I’ve been working with Michael C. Hall so I feel very comfortable and she’s a great character. She has her Ph. D. from MIT. She and Gary Oldman kind of bring Robocop to life and she is whip smart and just such a fun, smart role because I think to be part of an experiment of this kind of epic proportion, you have to be really well read and schooled in everything from robotics to physics to brain computer interface to chemistry to biology. It’s great to be able to play someone who is super, super smart.
Fanhattan: Is that spy photo that came out of Joel Kinnaman in the Robocop suit really the real suit?
Aimee Garcia: I can’t tell you that. I’ve been so trained with Dexter, I’m paranoid so I never say anything because I feel like I don’t want to take away the fun for you.
Fanhattan: Since you’re in those scenes, what was the feeling among the crew that those photos got out?
Aimee Garcia: Look, it’s a huge franchise. It’s a highly anticipated film. I think it kind of comes with the territory so the crew is just focused on shooting. Given the track record of the director, coupled with the cast of Abbie Cornish and Michael Keaton and Joel and Gary, I joked yesterday that the top 10 people in the Robocop cast have all either been nominated or won a Tony, an Emmy, an Oscar or a Golden Globe. It’s almost put together like an independent film but with a franchise budget, so I’m so excited. Like I said, yesterday my scene with Gary and Joel, I felt like I was doing a play. I didn’t feel like I was doing a sci-fi green screen movie and I think that that’s really going to make it hopefully a classic film and make it more like a Matrix type of movie, that not only is cool with the special effects and the greenscreen and the explosions, but it also makes you think and really challenges you intellectually. I think it’s going to be great because so far all the footage I’ve seen and anything that I’ve been a part of has just completely exceeded my expectations.
Fanhattan: We know Jose Padilha from Elite Squad. What is it like working with him?
Aimee Garcia: Oh, Jose is great. He is such an incredible director. I always say respect is something that you have to earn. You can’t pay for it. You can’t force it. It’s something that comes with the decisions that you make and every single person on the crew and the cast just really respects him and trusts him and somehow even though I’m sure he’s under tremendous pressure, he keeps it fun, he’s cracking jokes, he’s showing me how to say swear words in Portuguese. It’s just so fun and he is just such an incredible filmmaker. Like I said, he comes from a documentary background so there is nothing formulaic about him. He can’t even be formulaic if he tried. The only thing he’s done is documentaries and an incredible movie franchise called Elite Squad. So he’s naturally gritty, he’s completely organic. We were doing a scene the other day and we just kept going, even though we didn’t plan on going and the actors didn’t have any marks and the cameras kept rolling and the actors kept going. Jose didn’t call cut because something magical was happening. I feel like that kind of director is going to deliver a really great film because he’s assuming that the audience is super smart so I just cannot wait for this movie. While this is obviously also called Robocop, it has such a fresh perspective and it also really makes you think because I don’t think it’s a sci-fi movie. They’re making mechanical cockroach robots that are going into rubble to save earthquake victims. That’s in 2012. These are things that we’re dealing with now. These things that are happening overseas, could they be prevented. So I think that this movie is very, very relevant and it’s really going to make people think because robots are not something of the future. I mean, planes can fly themselves now. Robots are a very real part of our lives and that’s what this movie addresses. It’s not just a cool special effects film.