Luis Antonio Ramos knew he had achieved the much-sought after status of “working Latino actor” long before being cast as a series regular in the ABC drama series, Lucky 7, which makes its network debut Tuesday, Sep 24 (10-11pm). Yet, while being interviewed at this summer’s meeting of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Ramos readily admitted he had rarely felt any sense of true accomplishment. “I’m a Puerto Rican guy,” he declared. “I’m a Latino from New York, and I’ve been in this business, like, 34 years. I’ve done a lot of different shows. I’ve played bad guys on every show on every network and every cable network. At one point I’d had enough. I actually left L.A. five years ago because I was tired of doing that. It was just sucking away my soul. ”
Playing mostly bad guys might have been soul-sucking, but his body of work is impressive, having performed extensively on stage, film and television, including starring opposite his childhood idol, Oscar-winner Jose Ferrer in the 1987 feature, The Sun and the Moon. Ramos is perhaps best known for his role as bail bondsman Ricky Guzman on USA Network’s The Huntress, for which he was nominated for an Alma Award in 2002. In Lucky 7, he portrays Antonio, a family man and accomplished auto mechanic who is one of seven gas station employees in Queen’s New York who just might have hit the lottery jackpot, changing their lives and relationships forever.
Ramos feels the opportunity to do this series has changed his life. “I wasn’t sure I had made the right choice when I returned to New York to work in live theater and do independent films. But it was in New York that I got the opportunity to audition for this. After reading the pilot and first two episodes, I realized this justifies everything. To get into something like Lucky 7 as an actor, especially as a Latin actor in the climate that this country is in right now, to represent somebody with a heart and soul and integrity, that’s big for me.”
Ramos paused, took a deep breath, clearly exhibiting the emotion he felt about this opportunity. “I was tired of playing bad guys and stabbing people in the neck and doing those kinds of things. It was, like, wearing me out. Now, to read these scripts and to bring Antonio to life, man, you can’t beat that. That’s the lottery for me as an actor at this point in my life, at my age. And I get to work with these actors.”
Ramos sweeps his arm, taking in his series co-stars, including Lorraine Bruce, Matt Long, Anastasia Phillips and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. “These are actors. These are not, like, guys that are posing, trying to be actors. These guys have got mad, crazy game, and that makes all the difference in the world. And, yes, this series is about working class people. It’s about the 99 percent of the people in the world and what they do and what they are about and how they get through a day when things aren’t really going their way. I can’t imagine I could be any happier than I am right now.” Not in attendance at the TCA conference were series regulars Summer Bishil, Christine Evangelista and Alex Castillo who portrays Antonio’s wife, Bianca.
Lucky 7, based on the British series, The Syndicate, was written by David Zabel (ER, Detroit 1-8-7) and Jason Richman (Detroit 1-8-7) and is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Zabel and Richman. The series is produced by ABC Studios and Amblin Television and is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format with a 5.1 channel surround sound.