Wilmer Valderrama’s Dramatic Return to Primetime

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He might be best known as Fez in That ’70s Show but Wilmer Valderrama has returned to primetime as anything but goofy in NBC’s new mind-boggling thriller Awake.  Audiences don’t know if Wilmer’s character is good or bad, real or fake, and according to the actor, the series is building to an “explosive” climax that will “leave you speechless.” The show centers on Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaac) who survives a fatal car crash. Whenever Britten goes to sleep, he experiences a different reality: one in which his wife perished while his child survives and another, in which his child died and his wife lives. Valderrama plays Britten’s police partner in one of the realities, hired to keep an eye on the delusional Britten, but according to the actor there’s much more to his character and the series.

DC: I’m confused trying to figure out which of Britten’s (your TV partner) two worlds is the real one.
WV: It is a lot more than a dilemma than you think. It actually poses the question, “What would you do if you were given the opportunity to live in two parallel worlds where one is just a dream and the other is reality?” In Michael’s case his son lives in one world and his dead wife lives in the other. On top of that Michael is a working detective solving cases while living an emotional roller coaster. I think it is a wonderful premise because it really poses the question, what would you do?

DC: So I’ll ask, what would you do?
WV: My co-stars and I have actually talked about that. Do you live in a world with the love of your life and then procreate to start a new chapter or do you live with your flesh and blood and help them understand who their mother was and help them live a full life? Speaking only for myself, I would chose my wife if I were married. If I had the opportunity to always have my best and most loyal friend by my side I would feel I could get through anything. It is a tough call….

DC: You play Detective Efrem Vega, Detective Britten's cop partner on this series. What caught my attention is your character is a part of Britten’s red world, the same one where his dead wife lives. Is your character real or in his imagination?
WV: We don’t know which reality is the real one. Actually I do but I am not telling you (laughs). All Michael knows is what the characters know and if you keep watching you will learn where the clues lie. You will see how things evolve.

DC: Sounds a little like the Sixth Sense to me.
WV: Element-wise, I can see that. I think “Awake” is more of a mystery. That movie was more about the paranormal while this shows focuses on one man’s condition, which makes everything else you see totally unpredictable. 

DC: This series really makes you think the entire time, huh?
WV: I couldn’t have dreamed this up if I tried (laughs). It does challenge your mind to try and figure out the puzzle.

DC: As the mystery continues to unfold what will we find out about your character?
WV: You will find out if was I hired to be Michael’s loyal partner or if I hired to follow him and report everything I see. Let’s just tease it by saying a whole conspiracy storyline is about to be introduced that will come full circle in the future episodes. The next few episodes will be explosive before leading up to the season finale, which will leave you speechless.

DC: Dish….
WV: Without saying too much and getting in trouble there is so much more to the car accident that claimed the life of Britten’s wife than meets the eye. Not only will you learn about the conspiracy I just mentioned but you will also discover if I am loyal or not. The big shocker will be when you come to know what’s behind everything that has happened.  

DC: Many of your fans remember seeing your funny side from your starring role as Fez on That ‘70s Show.What is it like to shift gears and now work on a program that centers around mystery and suspense?
WV: It is very fulfilling for me. I did eight years of comedy on primetime and that was truly the best time of my life. I knew when I decided to return to television I wanted to tackle different genre and embrace a whole new experience. This is a format I have never done before and really challenging for me as an actor.


Photo Source: moviespad.com

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