A Martinez : Cruz Castillo's confidences

 By Joan Mac Trevor, CinÚ TÚlÚ Revue, 1989

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A Martinez lives with his wife Leslie and his son Cody in a small house of pioneer style in the residential district of Loz Feliz, east of Hollywood. Family and marriage are for the interpreter of Cruz virtues impossible to circumvent, and he never stops repeating it. This extreme moral rigour however does not prevent him from commenting with much frankness and humour the love scenes he plays on screen and his backstage relations with Marcy Walker, alias Eden, the object of his flame in the famous show. Humour, as much as a total absence of prejudices, it is better to have some, because the shootings of the love scenes is not the funnier for a soap actor.

Are you happy to be father for the second time ?

Madly. My son Cody will be three years old in July, and my wife awaits a child for next 15 June. But I do not know yet if it will be a boy or a girl. I do not have preferably. We hope to have three children.

Does that obstruct you to be recognized in street ?

At all. Popularity is the dream of any actor. I am pleased all the more to be recognized that people want me only good. It is not the case for everyone. Marcy (Walker), who did not always have the good role that she has now, was accustomed to being scolded by people who recognized her in street. Obviously, they confused her with her character.

How to explain that the daytime soaps became so popular, whereas before they were despised to the advantage of the great nightime soaps like Dynastie and Dallas ?

Simply because the daytime soaps allow a greater intimacy between the public and the characters and between the characters and their interpreters. We are on the air five days per week. Some televiewers know us better than their environment. This is sad, but here is the explanation. The same phenomenon failed to arrive to me. By professional conscience, I started to look at Santa Barbara. In a few weeks I was taken by the characters. And I can tell you that my wife, my father and my parents-in-law, who started to watch Santa Barbara because I was inside, cannot be detached some more.

What do you think of the popularity of Cruz, the police officer whom you play ?

I am quite simply dismayed by his popularity ! He does not have anything heroic. And, as a police officer, he is perfectly ineffective. In fact, he solves only few enigmas and, when he tries to protect somebody, the unhappy one is found or dead or wounded. Actually, so that a soap continues to live, it is necessary that the things turn badly and that reality thwarts the intentions. But I find astonishing that the public has such respect for a police officer in front of who the inspector Clouseau of The Pink Panther would seem to be a genius.

Who is the person to who you are closest on the stage of the show ?

Marcy Walker. But that was not always the case. It is extremely difficult to have a simply friendly relation with somebody whose scenario wants that you are passionately in love with. The contacts, the kisses, to share the same bed on a stage are often uncomfortable scenes. That can't be learned. It is necessary to discuss about it with your partner to be detached the most as possible. Especially in a soap, when you find this partner day after day and you establish habits with him. There were some days when we were really frustrated to not be able to give the best of ourselves to the point to have words backstage.

What kind of frustration ?

The one which born from the discomfort of the intimate gestures that you must play in public. A work which is not facilitated by the other members of the team. As by chance, as soon as a love scene must be shot, everyone is on stage. Even those who do not have anything to do there and who you usually do not see of the day.

In these conditions, it must be easy for an actor to fall in love with his partner ?

I believe it. I would even say that, to well mime love with a person, you must be in love with her. Was this only with one aspect of her personality. Her body for example. It is almost impossible for a human being to have physical relations, even in front of a camera, with somebody without feeling a slight shiver.

How did you personally solve this problem with Marcy Walker ?

One day, we decided to discuss of that after an argument. We spent all the weekend together, in Rhode Island. Only us, far from the job. To discuss and live the pleasure of being together. Since, we are the best friends of the world.

Honestly, when you play a love scene, do you only play or do you try to slide into the character ?

Our job is to make the public believe that we are really in love the one with the other, that we sincerely want to make love together. And, believe me, we do all what is in our capacity to satisfy it. A love scene also depends on the directives of the director. There are some who tell you exactly what it is necessary to do. The gestures become purely mechanical then. Others only specify the situation in which you are and grant to you 90 seconds to play something convincing. But, there are rules : one cannot see the tongue, one cannot touch the sexual parts of the partner, and one cannot overlap. The result is thus still enough far from an authentic love scene.

How do your partner and you attack this kind of scene ?  Do you plunge into or do you discuss it beforehand ?

At the beginning, when we were confronted with this kind of scene for the first time, we took the habit to repeat, because we pertinently knew that at the least touch, at the least contact of our skins, we would have been unable to remember our text. We then took the habit to lock up us in our box and to "try"  the love scenes by miming them. Rather odd, isn't it ? The result is that today we are perfectly comfortable and we do not need to repeat anymore.

Does this kind of situation  always move you ?

I will answer you as this famous actor to whom one had ask the same question : "In this kind of scenes, I always take care to wear seven thicknesses of underclothing."

How does your wife react to this kind of professional requirements to which you must submit yourself ?

it was hard for her  to be accustomed to it, but she ended up accepting it. At the beginning, when we watched at an episode on television together and that occurred this kind of scenes, she hit me. Not wickedly, but with a little of jealousy. Then, one day, she arrived on the stage unawares. I didn't know it, but she attended to the repetitions of a love scene between Marcy and I. Since, she understands the difficulty better and the embarrassment for an actor to play physical passion... and I do not receive any more blows.

Did the fact of having become a sex-symbol for millions of people change your life ?

I acquired more insurance. There was a time when nobody wanted to hire me. I spent months without work. But I do not feel myself at all as a sex-symbol. What people like in me is Cruz and not Martinez, even if I receive tens of love letters per day.

Now that you have a job which pays, do you lay by for your old days ?

Do not believe me richer than I am. It is true, I am comfortable now. But, when I was hired in Santa Barbara , I was in a disastrous financial situation. I had borroxed to all my friends and acquaintances, and I had to pay them back progressively before I could begin thinking of me and my family.