For millennials and older generations, Blockbuster defined our Friday nights. Blockbusters have become all but obsolete in the era of streaming, but the Netflix series Blockbuster is giving viewers major throwback vibes. “It’s a big love letter to Blockbuster and the generation. That time was a big staple of people’s lives,” Tyler told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY.
The series follows a group of co-workers running the last Blockbuster Video in America. When you watch the show, it’s an instant nostalgic kick seeing the store and the Blockbuster uniforms. For Tyler, stepping into the Blockbuster set for the first time was quite the experience.
“That was a moment for me. We’d got to Vancouver, and we were doing pre-production and the sets were being built, so it wasn’t all finished yet. Every time I’d come to set to do a fitting or table read or something, I’d be like, ‘Is it ready?’ I’d always go into the stage to try and see if I could see it, and it was never ready,” Tyler explained. “And then I remember the first moment when it was ready, we walked in and I was like, ‘Oh my God. It’s real. It’s here.’ With the costume, they were very specific about it. We had to be accurate. I think Blockbuster was very specific. Like, you have to wear these clothes. They were very keen on us accurately dressing and not making it our own costume.”
Tyler plays the movie-obsessed Carlos, who wants to become Hollywood’s next great director. Carlos and his parents are immigrants, and Tyler was drawn to Carlos’ struggle to want to make his parents proud and pursue his dreams. “They have these visions and dreams that they want you to pursue, and you might have dreams of your own. But it’s this constant battle of like, do I do what makes my parents happy and please them? Or do I go off and make a path of my own?” Tyler said about Carlos’ journey.
Carlos is also bisexual, but his sexuality isn’t the main source of storyline for the character. Tyler thanks creator Vanessa Ramos for her approach with Carlos. “It’s just a piece. We talked about it in one episode. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m bisexual.’ I feel like a lot of times that becomes a defining moment, like the defining piece about the character. You should never allow one thing to define you. We are multifaceted people, so that is one thing that I loved about it. It was just a piece of his life. He’s just a guy.”
At the end of the season, Carlos learns that he’s been rejected by a film school that he applied to. HollywoodLife asked Tyler if this will dissuade Carlos or be the push he needs. “That’s a great question for Vanessa Ramos. I have no idea. But I feel like there’s a lot more to grow in that area, I think. I’m interested to see what’s to come in the next season. How we deal with it because I think it’ll be I think it’ll speak to a lot of people,” Tyler said.
Tyler rose to fame in the Netflix comedy series American Vandal. If Blockbuster gets a second season, Tyler has one person from American Vandal he wants to see walk into the video store.
“Griffin Gluck, duh. He was filming at the same time that I was filming in Vancouver, and he stayed around the block from me. We hung out every day. It was like we were filming together again,” Tyler told HollywoodLife. “It was the best. He was filming Cruel Summer, the next season. It was the best because it was like getting to work with him but also not getting to work.”
As for what’s next, Tyler has a new movie coming out. But he really has his eye on the stage. “I’m trying right now to find a play. That’s what I really want to do next. I did a play in New York before the pandemic at The Roundabout. It is the best experience in my creative career, in my life, ever. I love theater so much, and I didn’t want to do theater as a kid. Even growing up, I didn’t want to do theater because I was afraid of it, which is why I didn’t want to do it. And then I saw Death of a Salesman closing night with Philip Seymour Hoffman, a year before he died, and I was like, I have to do it. I did a play, and it was the best thing ever.
He continued, “It was about deportation. The mom gets deported in the beginning of the play, which spans over 8 years, and you see how it affects everyone’s life in the family. My character is on the spectrum. I got to play him at 15, 18, and 22. He comes home from the war in Afghanistan with severe PTSD. It was the most fun thing in my life to make a play experience of it. I’m looking forward to that in New York, of course. Or London would be great, too.”
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