Edgar Ramirez Enjoys Playing the Dark Comedy in Florida Man

The Netflix series is really more of a crime drama, but with its meme-invoking title, the show had to have a few laughs.

by | April 14, 2023 | Comments

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Edgar Ramirez’s Mike Valentine is most definitely not the “Florida man” of his new Netflix series Florida Man.

Sure, the character hails from the Sunshine State, but he does everything possible to avoid going back there until he’s forced to. And while he’s there trying to track down Delly, (Abbey Lee) the girlfriend of the mob boss he owes lots of money to, Mike’s investigation is interrupted by real examples of the classic Florida man meme.

Although Ramirez has a hefty and diverse body of work as an actor (American Crime Story: Versace, The Undoing, and Jungle Cruise to name a few), this series allowed him more time to play with comedy, something he told Rotten Tomatoes he really enjoyed.

With the drama (which features dark comedy) now available on Netflix, Ramirez talked about figuring out how to play his drama-attracting character, how he picks his acting projects, and what keeps him so motivated.

Edgar Ramírez in Florida Man

(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Jolie Lash for Rotten Tomatoes: You are very busy as an actor with role after role after role. And they’re also really diverse parts. Do you have a list of what you’re looking for before choosing a project?

Edgar Ramirez: Not really. And I always get asked that question: “What would be the dream role or that next experience I would love to explore?” And I don’t have it. For me, it’s like, I don’t see my career as a checklist. It’s like, “Today, I play the terrorist, and now I’m going to play the bureaucrat.” But at the same time, I’m very curious. So, if anything, I have an idea of kind of like the mood that I would like to explore … more than a specific character or a specific world. [It’s] more like an atmosphere. I mean, my tastes and my interests as an actor are very related to my own tastes as an audience member. I consume all types of content. So, for me, it’s about going through an experience, because, you know, I’m a journalist. That’s what I did before I became an actor. I never went to drama school. I’m not a trained actor, like classically. So, I think that curiosity … in a way is what guides me.

And since Yes Day, my movie directed by Miguel Arteta — this beautiful movie I did with Jennifer Garner – that opened up a door to comedy that I’m enjoying very much. … I feel that comedy is very subversive; comedy has the ability to touch upon discomfort and awkwardness in a way that otherwise would be more difficult. I think that comedy always [acts] as a perfect vehicle to speak about the greater subjects of humanity. It’s a great way to talk about trauma, to talk about suffering, to talk about the things that somehow elicit awkwardness. So I’m enjoying the exploration of comedy. And, of course, Florida Man is right up on that alley.

Abbey Lee and Edgar Ramírez in Florida Man

(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Your character Mike has so much going on, and he’s got really complicated relationships with the other characters on the show — his dad, his ex-wife, Delly and Moss. Was it hard to find him, as an actor, because Mike has so much going on?

Ramirez: He wants to believe that he avoids drama, but I think that by avoiding it, he sinks deeper and deeper into his own drama, you know? He foolishly believes that the best way out of chaos is by creating more chaos. He thinks that his best chance to get out of trouble is by creating more trouble and he strongly believes that that is the way out and that he’s going to be able to juggle with 10 balls up in the air. He strongly believes in that. I mean, there is this very almost endearing, overconfidence that he will be able to pull it off, and that, to me, is as endearing as it is foolish, and kind of delirious in a way. And that contradiction — that a person would believe that he’s able to have so many dishes in the oven, and that none of them is going to get burned, and that he himself is not going to get burned — that to me is cute (laughs), and that to me was very interesting, was very appealing.

Abbey Lee in Florida Man

(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

How does Delly fit into Mike’s life? He’s drawn to her in ways he isn’t drawn to anyone else and he knows she’s bad news for him. He doesn’t care.

Ramirez: It’s because it’s all a gamble. I mean, he can’t avoid it. He can help it. He is attracted by disaster. You know, actually, he’s attracted by the possibility of avoiding disaster. So it’s like, he wants to fly over the volcano and not get burned. He strongly believes that he’s going to fly toward the sun. He’s like Icarus. His wings are like, glued with wax and he believes that the sun, which is Delly, is not going to melt them. And that to me is so poetic. That’s pure poetry — the impossibility of the possibility of things. You know, he goes after the impossibility. And that’s why I found the love story at the core of the piece so endearing because it deals with these two kind of like con artists trying to con each other and falling in love in the process.

I think that I have always wanted to explore a love story that had that level of outrageousness and desperation — they start to become addicted to each other, and that is something that I’ve always wanted to explore and then it was presented to me through this story.

Edgar Ramírez in Florida Man

(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Has there been any talk of potentially taking this character beyond the series? Like a one-off movie or another season?

Ramirez: I mean, listen, these characters are so rich, and the love story between Delly and Mike is so rich that I guess there’s always a possibility to take it somewhere else. But for now, it was conceived as a limited series. But let’s see. I mean, I don’t think that any option is off the table because there is a lot of richness in these characters. But let’s see. I think the story closes in a very beautiful way. Like a movie from the early ‘90s or the late ‘80s, it’s got this kind of open end. There’s still a lot of questions at the end. And yeah, maybe there is a possibility to do something in the future.

If you have time. Your schedule is a little busy. It looks like you have seven projects in the works or coming out. What makes you just so able to work so hard? Is it because you’re so interested in things?

Ramirez: Well, thank you very much. I think it’s this irrepressible curiosity. I’m very curious. And honestly, we’re only here for two minutes. I mean, I’m very lucky to be able to do what I love, and I know that that is a privilege, because most people in the world don’t work in things that they love. And, so to me, and it might sound tired, but to me, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s not that I don’t get tired, but the thing is that I work hard, but I play harder. So I’m not the guy that will need a break because I need to replenish, it’s like, I replenish myself every minute I have the possibility to do it.

Edgar Ramírez in Florida Man

(Photo by Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

I try to look at the world with innocent eyes. I try to keep that in my work. It’s like I’m a journalist, you know?

I’m living the dream. I never imagined that I would be an actor. I was not the kid that grew up dreaming that he was going to be in the movies. It was something that happened to me. And since I’m giving it a shot, I want to try to embrace as much as I can.

Florida Man: Limited Series (2023) is now streaming on Netflix.

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