TCA 2020: Roundtable Interview with Stephen Dorff and Yara Martinez for Fox’s Deputy

From the executive producers Will Beall (Training Day) and David Ayer (End of Watch, Netflix’s Bright), Fox’s Deputy will capture the nitty-gritty aspect of a newly-appointed sheriff, who takes over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after unfortunate death of his boss. With the lack of respect from his co-workers and politicians due to his personality, he must balance his family life and work-life while representing law enforcement.

Stephen Dorff (Blade, Immortals) stars as Bill Hollister, the newly appointed sheriff of the department. He is supported by a cast that includes Bex Taylor-Klaus (Voltron: Legendary Defender), Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin), Brian Van Holt (Black Hawk Down), Siena Goines (Criminal Minds), Shane Paul McGhie (After) and Mark Moses (Platoon).

LRM Online was at the Television Critics Association winter meetings to participate in a roundtable interview this week for a discussion with actors Stephen Dorff and Yara Martinez. They delightfully talked about the respect for law enforcement, Martinez’s hospital training, and the family aspect for the television show.

Season one of Deputy airs on Fox every Thursday at 9/8c. The first episode aired last week.

Read the roundtable interview below. The interview was edited for clarity.

Question: For tattoo artists, when they’re starting, they worked on like cantaloupes. You mentioned sutured on a banana.

Yara Martinez: Pretty much. [Laughs] Or at least tried too. I watched this video that she sent me an trying to figure it out.

Question: Was it a plantain?

Yara Martinez: No, it was a banana solid yellow banana. That was the surgical training I had.

Question: You’re a surgeon. How difficult was it to memorize multi-syllable words?

Yara Martinez: For me, it’s challenging. Thankfully, I don’t have too much of those words on this show because all I do is say them out loud like the entire day before over and over. I’m that annoying person in the grocery store saying the words and saying the words. [Laughs] I’m talking to myself. Anything that’s emotionally driven, it’s super easy for me. But stuff like that, I don’t want to sound like an idiot, you know? It’s pretty hard for me.

Question: What was it like to prepare for this role, especially with so many things that are happening in real life? There’s so much to work with because of what you see on TV in the news. How was it to develop your characters to bring them grounded to what reality is?

Stephen Dorff: First off, it’s the story’s set with the backdrop of the LA Sheriff’s Department. The first step for me was to learn about that department. I’ve played law enforcement in different variations over the years in films and stuff. I have the utmost respect for people that put their lives on the line for strangers. People will never meet people who will never know — thousands of them.

That’s just a good part of all of these guys, whether you’re a fireman, whether you’re a 911 emergency team, whether you’re Sheriff’s Department or LAPD. You break down as far as jurisdiction and all the things the Sheriff’s Department has. Like I said on the stage [earlier today], I’ve didn’t know about. I didn’t realize how much bigger they were than the LAPD. The LAPD is the size of an ant next to the Sheriff’s Department’s power, jurisdiction, and scope.

It’s not brain surgery. This show is about true life. It’s about a hero. It’s about love. It’s about family. It’s about protecting the things you love. Protecting your life. Creating a safer environment for the city and the county.

Ultimately, I tried to fill it. I get on what I’m given as far as material, and then we play it. Besides working with the Sheriff’s Department, I had a feeling of who this guy was. Now, as we’ve been up and going, we’ve done almost 10 hours of television together as a team. I feel like now we’re in a groove. Now we’re able to play these characters. In the pilot process, it’s miraculous that a show even goes forward.

Yara Martinez: Everything is so intense.

Stephen Dorff: You put all these new people together. Everybody gets a gig. You put them all in the room, and you say hi. Then you’ve got to pretend like you have these incredible relationships for many years. It’s a very awkward, strange thing of the pilot process. I’ve only done it once before. I’m amazed whatever we did in those four weeks, we were able to spark something to where Fox believed in us. They gave us the run at this. As the show continues, especially with episodes two and three coming in the next two weeks, we’re at a groove, and now we’re just coming out of the gate. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

Yara Martinez: Yeah, it’s exciting cause in the pilot, you get the part. The show has to go. There are so many people involved. It feels like everyone’s like a little tense. It’s hard to relax.

Stephen Dorff: It’s a terrible process. [Laughs]

Yara Martinez: It’s anti-intuitive for an actor. You feel tight. For anything, you need to be relaxed and open. One thing that I appreciate is having Stephen [Dorff] as a partner, David [Ayer], and Bill Hollister. I feel like the three of you guys have in common is that there’s no room for bullshit. Even with the lines. How is that going to come out? You cut the fat out of it, and it’s straight to the truth of the scene. I appreciated having them in the pilot for that because I’m not a massive fan of doing pilots like that anyway.

Stephen Dorff: We made it through. We made it through the nightmare.

Yara Martinez: We did it. We’ve been in a groove. I feel like super comfortable with Stephen and also more comfortable bringing more Yara to Paula as the episodes go along.

Question: You mentioned a positive portrayal of the Sheriff’s Department and touching on the story of your friend’s funeral service. These are the sacrifices these men and women have committed to the safety of our county. David touched on the fact that he wanted people to be encouraged to call the police.

Stephen Dorff: I liked it when he said that. That’s really what we’re doing. We’re not the federal government. It’s not our job to disrupt 9 million families to get one bad apple. That’s what Bill is talking about in the pilot. He’s going on instinct, but his instincts are true. If we do our homework and we know where the bad guys are. We’ll get them.

But, we don’t need to do this huge fucking thing to inconvenience lives and separate families. For what? For maybe catching one bad guy? The truth is the homework hadn’t been done. Bill was against that.

I liked the fact that Bill’s going to shake up the system. Bill’s going to change things. He’s going to do things his way. But, I love what David said. If people are afraid in communities to call us to help them, then there’s no point in law enforcement. We have to be tight within our communities. You have to make sacrifices. You have to build trust amongst your enemies to, therefore, catch the bigger criminal. It’s that thing that David was saying. I liked what he said about that because that’s very true.

We do that. Bill isn’t there just for the wealthy communities. Just the rich people don’t deserve, and we don’t work for them 24 hours a day. We work for everybody. That’s something that comes up in a future episode. We have a significant episode in West Hollywood where there’s all these home invasions on the inside in very opulent homes. The mayor of West Hollywood is a fan of Bill Hollister’s outward speaking and his shaking things up. He wants him to run. As Bill is still thinking about it, that episode is strong, in my opinion, because the rich people have to realize that we don’t all just work for them 24-7. We have other communities to protect. Ones that don’t have money. Ones that don’t have influence.

If we can make friends there, then we can do our jobs better. He’s a smart dude, Bill. He’s open to learning about new things that haven’t come into play with before. That’s what makes him a cool character. Sometimes old school throwback cowboys, you’d think they’d be pretty closed off to certain things. You’d be closed off to a bishop situation and different situations. Bill’s very open to wanting to understand. He’s very honest too. I don’t know what the hell any of this is, but I’m willing to understand. I liked that part of him. I want to encourage him to be more of that. The better he is, the smarter he becomes in all these different facets. He will do his job better.

Paula and my daughter, my family, encouraged me to be that person too. It’s who you are at home. It’s who you surround yourself within the downtime. That shows who the person is, the vulnerabilities of the person. They have a very tight relationship, which we’ll probably talk about certain things. Paula will help Bill understand something that he might not have commonly understood. That part of him I like, because that means he’s a multifaceted guy. He’s tough. He’s old school, but he’s modern. That’s the tone of what we’re doing in this show.

Question: Could you talk more about the family dynamic? Because both of your characters have very high-stress jobs and usually most relationships can’t last that way.

Stephen Dorff: Well, there’s probably a divorce episode coming soon. [Laughs] I’m just kidding.

Yara Martinez: There will be therapy sessions. [Laughs] They’ll drink a lot of wine.

Stephen Dorff: They’re in love. When they get stressed with each other, they’ll come to an agreement.

Yara Martinez: I think they respect each other.

Stephen Dorff: They respect each other, and they love each other. Part of what I love the most about the home scenes is that you see Bill as a person. Not just the tough guy that’s doing crazy stuff.

Yara Martinez: And by seeing him with Valeria Jauregi, who plays Maggie, brings out like a beautifully sweet side to Bill. When I see those scenes, it’s sweet to make you care more about Bill more out on the street.

Stephen Dorff: I loved that in a way. I loved the Bill has a daughter instead of a son weirdly because it brings out a sensitive protective thing. I don’t have children personally. But, I’m playing dads a lot now that I’m old. [Laughs] Now that I’m an old man. There’s something about a father and a daughter. That’s a unique, intimate relationship. She’s great, Valeria.

Yara Martinez: She’s amazing. The fact that they deal with these high stakes. People can’t usually relate to people’s jobs. They can be there for each other. That’s beautiful to explore.

Stephen Dorff: I look forward to all the home scenes with the gals because we have a natural kind of effortless chemistry. I look forward to those scenes more than just hanging out of a chopper with a AR 15. Those are fun too. I’ve done all that in movies forever. This concept is cool to explore the two sides–to see the man at home and the strength that these women give to him to be able to go then and suit up and do this job every day.

Yara Martinez: I think he’s Paula’s also, which is nice to see too.

Stephen Dorff: And we met when I was stabbed, and she sewed me up, so it doesn’t get more romantic than with blood and guts and love.

Season one of Deputy airs on Fox every Thursday at 9/8c. The first episode aired last week.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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Gig Patta

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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