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Mayan M.C.’s Richard Cabral Talks About The ‘Hardest Role’ Of His Career As Johnny ‘Coco’ Cruz [Exclusive Interview]

It’s Tuesday which means that Mayans M.C. is back on FX tonight. Season three looks like it’s going to be a turning point for various characters in the series. Especially for one Johnny “Coco” Cruz, played by Richard Cabral. I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t seen last week’s episode but while his brothers in the club were fighting amongst other Mayans for their lives. Coco was fighting other demons. Tonight’s episode could be a very important turning point for him.

The character development in Mayans M.C. has been fantastic. But I dare to say that while all the drug running, relationships and club politics have been great, I feel that Coco’s story is stealing the spotlight. We see that Coco has really hit rock bottom with his drug addiction. To the point where he is stealing from his daughter and his brothers in the club. Cabral has done such a masterful job at immersing himself into the role not only mentally but physically as well. As the third season approached he lost 30 pounds to be able to show that emaciated state of Coco.

Mayans M.C.
MAYANS M.C. — “Overreaching Don’t Pay” — Season 3, Episode 3 (Airs March 23) Pictured: Richard Cabral as Johnny “Coco” Cruz, Vincent Rocco Vargas as Gilberto “Gilly” Lopez. CR: Prashant Gupta/FX


Cabral had a very rough upbringing. Being raised without a father,  involved in gangs by the age of thirteen, and a crack addict by fifteen. At the age of twenty, he faced the possibility of thirty-five years in prison for attempted murder. But thanks to a plea deal he was able to get out at twenty-five where he vowed to change his life. Thanks to organizations like Homeboy Industries, which help reformed gang members find jobs, Cabral was able to take acting lessons and get some auditions.

Richard Cabral

Finally, he broke through in 2006 in his first series role on NBC’s Southland. In 2015 he received an Emmy nomination for his role as an ex-gang member on ABC’s American Crime. Now we find Cabral as the role of “Coco” in FX’s Mayans M.C. in what he calls the “hardest role” of his career.  If you have kept up with the third season of the series, it’s clear why this would be such a difficult role for him.

MAYANS M.C. — Pictured: Richard Cabral as Johnny “Coco” Cruz. CR: James Minchin/FX

LRM Online had the privilege of taking some time to talk with Richard Cabral about his role on Mayans M.C. as Coco. During our conversation we talk about how he is able to bring out that character and what it takes to be able to decompress after shooting. He also gives us his thoughts on working now with Elgin James as the showrunner for season three. It’s a deep conversation that you can check out down below!

Here is the synopsis for Mayans M.C. from FX:

Mayans M.C. follows the life of Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (JD Pardo), a newly patched member of the Mayans M.C. charter on the Cali/Mexi border. Once the golden boy with the American Dream in his grasp, EZ and his brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas) are closer than ever after uncovering the truth behind their mother’s murder while their father Felipe (Edward James Olmos) struggles to reconcile the choices he and his sons have made.

After U.S. Assistant District Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) threatens to deport Felipe, EZ and Angel chose to leverage incriminating information to protect him rather than to free rebel leader Adelita (Carla Baratta) from federal custody, leaving her to give birth to Angel’s son while in handcuffs. Meanwhile, Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino) is left reeling over the loss of his mother to apparent suicide, while others quietly suspect foul play. Additionally, the Mayans seek vengeance on their rivals, the Tijuana M.C. Vatos Malditos, after a surprise attack on their club. When the smoke clears, they discover the body of a Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original – there will be hell to pay.

Michael Irby, Raoul Max Trujillo, Richard Cabral, Emilio Rivera, Sarah Bolger and Sulem Calderon also star in the gritty motorcycle drama.

Mayans M.C. was co-created by Kurt Sutter and Elgin James. The series is executive produced by James, Michael Dinner and Sutter. The 10-episode third season is produced by 20th Television and FX Productions.

FX’s Mayans M.C. can be seen Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX. Then the next day on FX on Hulu.

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