Heroes Week Friday – Murtz Jaffer Interviews Dania Ramirez

Strikingly beautiful, Dania Ramirez is one of the newest actors to join the cast last year’s hottest new show Heroes. The actor who is best known for breaking AJ Soprano’s heart on The Sopranos joins the show for its second season and plays the role of Maya, a character who is rumored to possess a dark power. I had the chance to speak to Ramirez when she came to Toronto to participate in the Heroes World Tour and I thoroughly enjoyed her fantastic sense of humor and quick wit. She helped to provide some insight into what joining an established hit was like (since she has now done it twice) and briefly discusses what to expect next season.

Murtz Jaffer: So the one question that I have to ask you is that you were on The Sopranos.

Dania Ramirez: I was on The Sopranos.

MJ: And it was like the funniest role that I have seen because I don’t know how you could deal with AJ Soprano whining all the time.

DR: Hello?! And those are all the reasons why she was like ‘get it together, I want a man.’

MJ: I am out of here!

DR: I want a father for my child. (Laughs).

MJ: What did you think of the finale that everybody was talking about?

DR: I thought it was genius. Honestly though? As a fan, the first time that I watched it and the TV went black, I looked over at my fiancée and I thought he had turned it off by mistake. I was hitting him like ‘what are you doing?!’ He’s like, ‘it wasn’t me, it wasn’t me.’ But then I watched it like three or four times and I am a fan of the show, I was a fan of the show from the beginning. I am originally from Jersey. So for me to be asked to be a part of it or to even have gotten to the point where I was a part of it for more than one episode which I was only hired for the season finale of the season prior the final season, I was only hired for that episode. I was like ‘wow, I get to be on the season finale of The Sopranos and I thought that was cool. And then when they called me and said ‘we want you back,’ I was like ‘get out of here!’

MJ: I think that moving from The Sopranos to Heroes, it doesn’t really get much bigger for an actor. How great is that?

DR: Amazing, amazing. It’s like I have been telling people all day. I went from one amazing with such an amazing cast that I looked up to and that I followed for a long time to another one. Season 1 was just incredible. I was such a fan of the show. I was like ‘now I get to be part of it’ and not only part of it but like play an amazing role. I mean Tim Kring has a way to create these complex characters that are so layered and so interesting for an actor, it’s like a dream come true for an actor to get to play somebody that has an arc, you know?

MJ: This is the second time where you have come into a show that has already been established. Is it harder for you to come in when you are the new girl? I remember when I was in school and the new girl came in, I would always try and steal her lunch.

DR: Yeah right? (Laughs). You know what’s interesting about Heroes? What’s interesting about Heroes is because of the nature of the show, everybody has their own kind of story going on. For the few episodes, it was like I was on my own show. (Laughs). I don’t get to work with other characters until later on. So the transition was kind of smooth because I kind of had met everybody. I met all the guys and all the women on the show prior to working with some of them so that was pretty cool. Sopranos was a completely different show and a completely different thing. I can’t even compare the two.

MJ: Can you tell me more about the character that you will play, Maya?

DR: Like with any good character, she starts off in the middle of a crisis situation and she has to flee to get herself out of it. She starts off in the middle of the Dominican Republic.

MJ: Why should people watch this season?

DR: Because it’s all new. New characters, new conflicts, new problems. All the questions that you had from last season… some will be answered but others are all new. And everybody should pick up the DVD before so that you can catch up on everything before it starts on September 24.

Before she became of the few Dominican actresses working in Hollywood, the raven-haired, olive-skinned Dania Ramirez launched her career in her family’s home of New York City at the age of 15. Reportedly approached by a modeling recruiter while working in a store as a security girl (collecting patrons’ handbags), Ramirez soon established herself as a successful print model, then transitioned, sequentially, to commercials, television, and big-screen features. Ramirez met director Spike Lee when cast as an extra in HBO’s omnibus feature Subway Stories (1997) – a connection that spawned their collaboration on Lee’s 2004 picture She Hate Me (in which she played the minor part of Alex Guerrero). Ramirez then signed on for supporting roles in such features as Fat Albert (2004), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and Illegal Tender (2007). On the small screen, Ramirez portrays Maya on the second season of the adventure series Heroes (2007).

– The second season of Heroes premieres on NBC in the U.S. on Monday, September 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

– The second season of Heroes premieres on the GLOBAL network in Canada on Monday, September 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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