WARNING: THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE MAYAN’S M.C. SEASON 4 EPISODE 5, “WHEN I DIE, I WANT YOUR HANDS ON MY EYES”
What can seem like such a joyful journey in life can come crashing down in an instant. This was very evident in this week’s latest episode of the FX series, Mayans M.C. For weeks now we had seen how Justina Adorno’s Nails was preparing her home for the arrival of her baby. It seemed like she had already even picked out a name. This life event had Clayton Cardenas’ Angel Reyes re-thinking his priorities. As well as Edward James Olmos’ Felipe the hope of a grandchild and something to focus on.
But like in many cases around the world, the beacon of light was put out by a miscarriage. In this week’s episode of Mayans M.C. titled, When I Die, I Want Your Hands on my Eyes, we see Nails go through one of the most terrifying moments in a woman’s life. From the moment she first realized there was a problem, to the moment where she is in bed, alone trying to process what had just happened to her. The only positive in this story was that Felipe arrived in time to at least be with her during that time.
With this episode of Mayans M.C. now available on Hulu, LRM Online‘s Emmanuel Gomez spoke with Justina Adorno about it. During the interview, she tells us how she was able to prepare for the role and how personal this moment was for her. As well as how they approached shooting those moments and praised the crew for their amazing work on set. Adorno also tells us about how special it was for her to work with Olmos. Who she had watched as a little kid in theaters. It was an emotional conversation that I was very fortunate to be able have with her that you can check out down below.
JUSTINA ADORNO INTERVIEW FOR MAYANS M.C.
LRM: Obviously, one of the main things we’re going to cover today is that gut-wrenching episode, that most people are going to have the privilege to watch tonight or tomorrow via Hulu, “When I die, I want your hands on my eyes.”What are your feelings on that episode, being that you have such a very emotional and very dark moment in Nails’ life?
Justina Adorno: I’m actually really anxious. I woke up super anxious. I was just like, “Oh my gosh.” That’s kind of how I was leading up to filming that episode for Nails, just because it’s a moment where no woman wants to go through that. I’m not looking forward to watching it tonight, if that makes any sense, just to relive it.
This episode really impacted my life, just because it made me really take motherhood very seriously. I’ve never had children, but because of that, it made me more self-aware and just made me actually want to become a mother and do my best pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy. I was just like, “Wow, okay, this is a lot.” So I’m just really anxious, actually.
LRM: It’s a terrible moment. I could tell you this from experience as a person who, with my wife, we went through that, and so it brought back a lot of those memories and feelings. Then similar to Nails, we saw one of our best friends go through that entire sequence of her holding the baby, just like Nails did. I remember as a man who didn’t have to carry the child, just being on the sidelines not understanding completely why you would even want to have that in your arms. It’s such a terrible moment, such a thing to happen. So for you, how do you even begin to prepare, as an actress, to try to emote those same feelings as these to-be mothers?
Justina Adorno: That’s such a great question. That was something that I took very seriously and handled with care. My mother actually went through that right before she got pregnant with me. So I went back to my mom and just started talking to her. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t even make it out of the apartment consciously, so Nails at least got to leave, and had some help with her. She was able to be there mentally in a sense. So I just basically talked to my mother.
I reached out to some other women in my life that unfortunately have gone through the same experience and it just opened my eyes to like, “wow, this really happens.” It just became so very real for me filming this episode that there’s nothing, you can’t really do anything to prep for something you’ve never gone through really, especially that heavy.
So I just listened to all the stories of all the women that I know. I’ve gone to some conventions for women who are pregnant and who have gone through those things and just listened to as many stories as possible. Like you when I saw this baby, I was like, “please don’t give… Don’t even let me see that baby until I have to, because it just evokes so many emotions for me.” I feel like as difficult as it is to hold the baby, make that choice to look and then see your child that you’re never going to hold again, I think it would be even more painful to not even have the moment to say bye. You know? It was really difficult because, man, the team really made that baby real as f***, and I was like, “Oh Lord, Jesus Christ. I can’t handle this.” So this episode is for all the women who have gone through that alone or with someone.
LRM: I shed tears when I saw the episode and I had to sit quite a few minutes afterward and really process it all over again. Thank you for answering that. How did Elgin and the writing team approach you with that next step for Nails? Early on, it wasn’t like they just gave you a script and you just had to find out on your own, was it?
Justina Adorno: Yeah, well, I had told him, “please challenge me this coming season. If I’m going to be back, I want to be challenged. I want to tell stories that aren’t told. I want to be as vulnerable as possible.” And they sure f***ing gave me that. They told me, and I was just like, “whoa, whoa.” For a moment, I was like, “whoa, am I going to be able to do this?” As an actor, we want to be challenged. We want to do the craziest things and do our best, but this became so personal so very fast. I was just like, “whoa, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this.”
They believed in me and they knew how empathetic I am and how sensitive I am and how much I put my heart into things. So they trusted me, and with that, I trusted myself, and it was exciting. But also very scary when they told me and like I said, it wasn’t until episode four or five that I knew it was coming, that I was starting to have nightmares.
To be honest, of just imagining myself in that situation and just feeling very like “Stranger than Fiction” moments. Like, “Oh my God, we’re doing this to Nails. Why are we writing this story for her? Why are we doing this to her?” I was very… I felt very, very sorry for her and that I had to live through that with her.
If that makes any sense. For the first time ever a character, I felt so close to a character, and I felt like I was sabotaging someone’s life. You know, I felt so responsible.
LRM: You guys all together do such a great job. Taking us on this journey of really being excited about the crib, grandpa’s involved, Angel’s making some changes, and you guys are almost starting to low-key build that picket fence type of life. Only for it to be just gutted all and taken from us. It is one of those things of life and if there’s one thing this show does really, really well is showing some of those dark moments and how characters like you are going to have to fight through it and continue to live on.
Justina Adorno: They do such a great job with that and literally shout out to Elgin and the writers for doing something that we don’t really see often on TV. Which is those intimate moments with women having a miscarriage on camera and showing most of the process. You know what I mean?
We don’t see that, because it’s uncomfortable and it’s horrible. We don’t want to see those things. But if we’re showing people being murdered on camera, on-screen, we should show the things that happen every day to the people around us that we don’t even know about. I think it’s important and beautiful that we did that so that conversations can happen, and the conversations that didn’t happen can probably be brought back up because people need support with it like we see Edward going through it with me. It’s hard for him too, seeing his grandchild and seeing his grandchild in that way, the grandparents need the support, the fathers need support, and above all mothers need support. So I’m glad that we did this so that it’s not so taboo, and so that maybe after this people can feel like they could talk about it.
LRM: With it being such an intimate moment, especially in some of those scenes in the house, and then obviously to the hospital, were there any special accommodations that were made for you? Maybe fewer people on the set, or maybe did you have a request on a way to decompress afterward?
Justina Adorno: No. There were definitely fewer people for some moments. But I didn’t really ask for it much except for just silence, whenever we were about to film. They definitely gave me a couple of moments before I was to start any action. But it was so… I don’t even know how to describe it. It was so in the heat of the moment of things that we just pushed through things. Melissa, our director, I love her so much. She was so great. She would always tell me, “keep going until you feel like you were there.” But I was just always there.
I feel like it was just really hard for me to actually hold back. In the beginning, I was just very much so emotional and just kind of in shock at what we were doing. It felt so real to me, it felt so real to me that I had it. Remember, I don’t know yet if this is going to be bad news, just because I saw some blood, because sometimes that just happens with pregnancy. But I was so anxious, and I know me as a person. One little red flag, I’m like, “Oh no, oh no.” You know what I mean? So Nails was very much part of me. I was very much part of Nails. So the biggest thing I asked for onset was to just be there with me. “Just be there with me, everyone.”
LRM: Someone who was definitely with you that whole time was Felipe. Of course, you talked about the grandparents played by Edward James Olmos. I caught while we were talking on the red carpet, you saw him for the first time that night and you guys had a really, really warm embrace.
Justina Adorno: Yeah.
LRM: I was watching that episode I realize maybe why you felt so strongly when you saw him on the red carpet. How important was it to have him with you and how was that experience to be able to at least go through that with somebody who’s been through so much in Hollywood?
Justina Adorno: Working with Edward was a blessing in disguise. I didn’t know I would ever work with him in my career. When I found out that I was working with him the most this season, I was so excited and we just had an amazing connection from Day One. Just person to person, we have so much in common. We’re both Pisces, we’re both vegan, we both love the arts like truly love the arts. It was everything to have him there with me. His support was just so real and that day in particular for this episode, we were so connected and he was just so supportive with how delicate the situation was. We cried together outside of filming and we just talked so much about parenting and just how our craft is crazy, like what we do is wild, but also very important.
His support was everything. I grew up watching him in the movie Selena. I was five years old when I freaking saw that movie in the theaters, you know what I mean? So he as a person, as an actor was very impactful to me, and to work opposite him was just, it was surreal. But I just felt so connected with him, with Eddie, and I felt like we just understood each other, and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be there with me. Honestly. I felt the spirit of my great-grandfather through him who passed away last year. It was just surreal, honestly, like life didn’t feel real working with him. It just felt like we were in a whole other reality if that makes sense. It was so crazy.
He made me feel like Nails and I felt like I was talking to Felipe. It was just very grounded and I’ve learned so much from him. So much. And when I saw him on the carpet, he’s just one of my favorite people now, and I was just genuinely so excited to see him and yeah, we definitely have a connection.
LRM: As you should be. I was excited to see him too. After women see this episode tonight, after families who’ve been through this, tonight, what is your message to them from Justina?
Justina Adorno: I just want to say that you’re supported, you’re seen, you’re heard. The pain is real, the love is real and the support is there, and healing is a process and it’s not linear, obviously. One moment you could be okay, and it could take a lifetime to heal, and your babies are always there. I just want everyone to feel the support and the space to talk about whatever they need to talk about, to feel whatever they need to feel, to let go of whatever they need to let go of, and to know that they could hold on to whatever they need to hold on forever.
LRM: Yes, definitely I look forward to the next few episodes to see really how she copes, how she grieves.
Justina Adorno: Yeah, also that it’s nobody’s fault. It is nobody’s fault.
LRM: That’s true. Just like you’re saying, there’s no wrong way to grieve when something like this happens. Like you said, it’s nobody’s fault. Justina. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. It means so much to me because as a fan of the show and somebody who’s seen this firsthand, it means a lot. It’s a lot more than an interview and it’s… I’m not exactly sure how to describe it at this moment.
Justina Adorno: No worries. Of course. I just wish there was more accessible support outside of just family and friends that women and the fathers who go through this could have. I hope it brings just more awareness as well because I think that’s important.
Here is the synopsis for season four of FX’s Mayans M.C.
Mayans M.C. follows the life of Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a member of the Mayans M.C. charter on the Cali/Mexi border. EZ, his brother Angel and the rest of the Santo Padre M.C. face retaliation from other charters after a failed attempt to align under one King. Meanwhile, EZ and Angel have grown distant from their father Felipe (Edward James Olmos) after a heart-wrenching betrayal.
You can check out Mayans M.C. on Tuesday nights on FX and the next day on Hulu.