Graceland's Manny Montana on Johnny Taking Charge & Going 'Really Undercover' This Season!
We’re gearing up for the highly-anticipated second season premiere of Graceland and we’ve got a weeks worth of scoop for you!
Up first is the always affable Manny Montana as FBI agent Johnny Tuturro, the go-to guy for a good laugh who typically runs the behind-the-scenes operations for his colleagues.
We caught up with Manny during a recent visit to the set in Fort Lauderdale where he opened up about Johnny’s journey this season, which includes a big undercover case of his own!
We also talked possible romance, the new roomie, and how we’ll meet Johnny’s mother. Check it:
Graceland returns on Wednesday, June 11 @ 10PM on USA!
JustJared.com: So tell us about season two! What can we look forward to from Johnny this season?
Manny Montana: Well, for Johnny – I was telling somebody this yesterday – he keeps the same heart. He’s still the same guy he is in the house, but he wants to take charge. And he wants to be looked at the same way people look at Briggs and the same way people look at Mike – he wants to be taken seriously. Uh, so he gets involved in this case…it’s just crazy! And I told Jeff – the creator Jeff Easton – we talked way back before the season started. He asked me what I wanted this season for Johnny, and I told him just, like, make me as uncomfortable as possible as an actor and as this character. And he definitely did that, and you’ll see as the season progresses! Like he goes really undercover, if that makes sense.
Click inside to read the rest of our interview with Manny Montana…
JustJared.com Interview – Manny Montana
JJ: We don’t know too much about Johnny’s past, but we are going to meet his mother this season. Will we learn more about why Johnny came to Graceland?
MM: Yeah, there have been hints about it all throughout the season. I think in at least multiple episodes now, but it’s not how Mike ended up or how Briggs ended up – it’s not a story like that. But we hint at it, and it’s just…I just feel like it’s unnecessary for Johnny to know how he came up. I feel like it’s pretty obvious that he was a street kid that did right, you know? Just a little ghetto kid that did good.
JJ: And what can you say about his mom?
MM: I think my mother sees me as the people I grew up with, you know, in the area I grew up. It’s similar to my real life too. I mean, my mom doesn’t think that about me, but my friends growing up, they were just hoodsters. Not gangsters, but just kids that were just going go to high school and work and f-cked around and did drugs and whatever. But in the show, my mom views me that way. She thinks I’m just like the knuckleheads I grew up with, but I’m not. And I can’t tell her what I do for a living because I’m undercover. So I think it really hurts Johnny that he can’t tell his mom because she would be so proud, right? She would think that he’s the best instead of like all his brothers and his friends. So it’s a complex relationship that we have.
JJ: Did your real life and your childhood influence your interest in the role?
MM: Yeah. When I read the part, there were so many similarities to the character and myself. I was never a bad kid. I always got good grades, and I just wanted to play football. That was my life. But when I read the part – sometimes when you read a script, the words just come out easy, and you memorize it quickly. As an actor, when that happens, I know the part is right, and I know it’s for me. And as soon as I met with Jeff, and we talked about the character, we had the same goal and the same vision for the character and where we wanted it to go. But it definitely did influence me and the writers are cool with this because I changed a lot of stuff. I don’t change a lot because the writing is great as is, but I add certain words how I might speak. Because I come from, you know, a ghetto area. But [the writers] lay a great foundation, and I like that they let me change little words here and there. And that’s the best thing about this show is that it’s just a collaborative effort on everybody’s part from the directors to the writers to the actors.
JJ: Last year, we saw Johnny get some action. Will we see a love interest this year?
MM: [smiles] Yeah.
JJ: Can you elaborate?
MM: He’ll get some action (laughs). I’m sorry I wish I could tell you more, but you’ll love it!
JJ: What can you tell us about the new roommate who comes in? Is he welcomed with open arms?
MM: First of all, we got along immediately. And that’s great because that’s how we are on the show too. He’s the guy that comes in the house, and it is good that I’m not the new guy anymore. You know, Mike was, but he wasn’t really the new guy. But this guy comes in, and we’re just…we’re buddies. And he’s like me. He’s a goofball, but he gets the job done. And he comes in and does — ah, I can’t give that away.
JJ: There were a lot of secrets in Graceland last season. Where’s the trust at in the house this year?
MM: Stuff’s going to come out about other people, but I feel like the trust level starts off very high and then goes down and then goes in the middle and then goes up. It just…it starts off good.
JJ: Johnny was always the one rallying the troops together. Is he backing off that role now?
MM: I think so. I think he still has that, but again, he wants to be a man now. So it’s still gonna be there, but it’s not as – how can I say it – it’s not as prominent as it was last season where Johnny wanted everybody to get along and he had nothing going on his own. He was just helping. He has is own stuff going on, but he also wants the house to be great.
JJ: Any last teasers for this season you can share?
MM: I want to tell you guys so much because I’m so excited about the season! And I’m not just saying that! And I loved our first season, but I think this season is going to be so much better. And we go so — I don’t want to say too dark, but we do. We go darker, and it’s much more of an ensemble piece this season. I say that not as an actor but as a fan of shows. I love when I watch, you know, Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones where I see a character and then I don’t see them again for an episode or two. I like missing characters, and I like that that’s what’s happening on this show now where everybody has their own storyline. And it’s all interesting.