Edgar Ramirez says his new series “Florida Man,” now on Netflix, may share a name with the popular meme of the same name, but it is not making fun of the state or its residents.
“It does not make fun of that, it has fun with it, which is completely different,” said Ramirez in an interview.
In “ Florida Man ” — the TV show — Ramirez plays Mike Valentine, an ex-cop in Philadelphia who falls from grace because of a gambling addiction. He also still owes a big debt to a local mob boss (Emory Cohen) so he often has to do his dirty work. On his orders, Ramirez's character begrudgingly returns to his home state of Florida to track down his boss' runaway girlfriend (Abbey Lee). What he intends to be a quick trip turns into a wild treasure hunt that opens up a Pandora's box about his past.
“It is funny, but it’s dark. It’s offbeat, it’s strange, it’s weird," Ramirez said. "The absurdity of the situations is where the comedy lies.”
He says Valentine is one of those people who believes he innocently finds himself in absurd situations — but in reality, he courts it.
“He’s very dramatic. I think that he foolishly thinks the way to get out of chaos is by creating more chaos. He believes that he can outrun the ghosts of his past,” he said.
Despite its title, “Florida Man” is filmed in North Carolina. To get a feel for Florida, Ramirez spoke to the show's creator, Donald Todd, who is from there. He also traveled to the state.
"I went to the places that inspired the story ... to look at the characters, the atmosphere in the air and the mood that inspired the show,” he said.
Before he ever went into acting, Ramirez worked in journalism in his home country of Venezuela and says that desire to learn about people and things is still within him, and serves him today.
“Maybe it has to do with my journalistic background, you know? I’m interested in the human experience. I’m a very curious person," he said. "That curiosity is the driving force of everything that I do, not only as an actor, but in other interests that I have."
The actor — whose past roles include “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Carlos" and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” says the fun of “Florida Man” set him up mentally to go into his next job, now filming: season two of Peacock's anthology series “Dr. Death." It's based on the podcast of the same name. Ramirez will play the con man masked as a world-renowned surgeon whom a TV producer falls for, based on a true story. He says that role is “one of the darkest” he's ever had.
“We see it a lot, especially when women are conned. ‘How could she fall for that? Oh, my gosh. She’s so naive' and all of that. It’s almost like they’re being blamed," he said. "The reality is they’re people who dedicate their entire life to con other people, so it’s not the victim’s fault.”