What Makes Longmire so Good? 'Every Character Has Demons' Says A Martinez
Against all odds, the police drama Longmire will live on for a fourth season despite being canceled by A&E. With passionate, heartbroken fans of the series making all kinds of noise online, the video-on-demand service Netflix came to Longmire's rescue, adding it to a growing roster of original programming that includes the acclaimed series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.
The fans have been overjoyed at the news—and the cast members are celebrating as well. Actor A Martinez (the "A" is short for Adolph), Apache and Blackfeet, is one of several Natives who've seen significant screen time on Longmire, having appeared in 13 episodes as Jacob Nighthorse. But Longmire is just the latest chapter in Martinez's long Hollywood success story. He's best known for a run as Cruz Castillo on Santa Barbara that lasted more than 1,000 episodes and won him an Emmy Award; he's also been a regular on L.A. Law (39 episodes), General Hospital (95 episodes), and One Life to Live (52 episodes).
Martinez took a few moments to reflect on what makes Longmire so special, and his journey as an actor.
First off—congratulations on being picked up by Netflix!
Thanks so much—you know it is like a dream, almost. If you look over the course of this show's lifetime, it feels as if some entity that is huge and is above you gifts you, and you just have to swallow it. It is really great to be part of something where there is some kind of genuine power in the reaction. This amazes me to be part of it.
There has also been incredible fan support for Longmire, especially on social media.
I have been doing this acting thing for a long long time. The way people feel about this show is so different than the norm. I'm sure there are some people that will look at this and shrug, but the percentage of people who look at the show and decide to buy in is huge. This is so special at this point in time to have stories told from a viewpoint that is not cynical. We are actually allowing these people to be fully rounded human beings. Every person and every character has their demons to wrestle with. It helps to recognize them as people.
Are you saying that having some sort of demon raises the characters above the level of stereotype?
Exactly, all of us know what it is like to carry a burden through life. When you are trying to sort it out, and then you are taking the same concept into a community of characters that are drawn this way, you recognize yourself.
Your career as an Emmy award winning actor spans decades. You have a vast body of work under your belt from movies to television—and now Netflix. How does it feel to be pioneering a new type of media, which is what you're doing in a sense with Netflix?
Thank you so much, it feels really good. We shall see where this is going to go in terms of development and a new delivery system. This will be a journey. I have a lot of difficulty making my peace with the sense that all reality has become a marketplace. This ascendancy of corporatocracy in which everyone must bow down to the realities inherent in this world—and the sense that you can have a direct connection with an audience in terms of the stories they want to see—all of this is a positive development.
Yes, you still have to purchase the whole umbrella of the Netflix idea, but now you have the concept of being able to listen and watch an entire episode without being interrupted by commercials.
One other nice thing is we can perhaps be a little grittier in our storytelling, which is closer to what the books are like. We can afford to get just that much closer to the bone.
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