Aimee Garcia Talks About Working With Michael and Jennifer, Dexter's End, Jamie Batista and More

Dexter co-star Aimee Garcia talks with InstitureMag about her life, RoboCop, working with the cast of Dexter, how she wants Dexter to end and many more. Read her interview below:

Institute: Tell us about your journey into acting.
Aimee: My parents took me to see Annie when I was 3 years old. I remember watching this little girl sing on stage and I was mesmerized! I came home and started singing and dancing around the living room. So, my parents put me in dance class. I started dancing professionally when I was 7 and then segued into commercials when I was 9. In high school, I started doing professional theatre in Chicago and later attended Northwestern University. I majored in Economics, Journalism and French… so after I graduated, I went to New York to work in finance for a year. Up until college, acting was a way to pay for college tuition, but after working in finance for a year, I realized I loved acting. I packed up my things, moved to Los Angeles and I haven’t looked back since. My journey into acting was a non-linear one…I needed to prove to myself that I could succeed in something different than acting before I committed to it. My dad always said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Institute: Who influenced you in your early years? How about now?
Aimee: My parents. They were my role models. They worked hard and always seemed to have fun along the way. They remain the most influential people in my life. I consider myself very lucky to have them as parents. Hit the 'read more' button for the whole interview.

Institute: You are set to star in Robocop. What can you reveal about your character Kim?
Aimee: Kim is a scientist who helps bring RoboCop to life. She is Gary Oldman’s assistant and an MIT graduate. She’s an instrumental piece of the team that puts RoboCop together.

Institute: What was it like to work alongside some of Hollywood’s greatest?
Aimee: It’s a dream come true! Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton are iconic actors. They are so talented, but were also so fun… which was nice, because sometimes good actors tend to take themselves a little too seriously. Our director Jose Padilha was incredible too. He’s such a visionary! He comes from a documentary background and has an organic and instinctual style of directing. So, I was really inspired on set.

Institute: How did you prepare for the role?
Aimee: I watched Ted talks, read books about neuroscience, interviewed scientists and MIT graduates, and even shadowed a few scientists around their lab. I immersed myself in the world of science because I wanted to understand all the technical things Kim was saying and doing.

Institute: Did Gary Oldman share any acting tips?
Aimee: Yes! To not take everything so seriously! Gary Oldman is one of the most generous actors I’ve ever met. He is an incredible listener and is completely present when the cameras are rolling, which is an actor’s dream…every take was different. I loved watching him on the monitors even when I wasn’t in the scene and seeing the different nuances he gave each take. He can break your heart by just standing there! Plus, he made the shoot fun, which is greatly appreciated when you’re working long hours. We would dance and sing in between takes. He’s a class act.

Institute: What first attracts you to a character? 
Aimee: Figuring out what motivates them, what makes them tick, and what they want out of life. Every person is a product of their environment and I love figuring out why people are the way they are. I’ve always been attracted to characters with a strong backbone.

Institute: Do you become emotionally involved in your characters?
Aimee: Absolutely!!! Ending a film or TV show is like breaking up with a boyfriend. You’ve invested so much time, energy, and heart into creating a character and then you have to let it go. I’m an all-or-nothing girl so, yes, I get VERY invested in my characters. I get into their skin and I FALL IN LOVE with them…that’s the only way I can do them justice.

Institute: Does costume complete you character transformation?
Aimee: Definitely. On Dexter, when I put on my short shorts and bikini top, I walk differently…I’m more free and unapologetic with my body. When I was shooting Vegas, which was a period piece, I was wearing vintage dresses and sweaters from the 60s so I instantly pushed my shoulders backed and started walking with better posture. For RoboCop, my lab coat made me feel professional and dignified. Costumes inform how you FEEL and therefore how you carry yourself, which is crucial to developing a character.

Institute: Are you sad to see Dexter come to an end?
Aimee: I am. I think it’s an iconic series and those don’t come along very often. I’m going to miss working with Michael, David, Desmond, Jennifer and the rest of the crew. Dexter was such a fun place to work…we had great writers, actors, directors, producers and crew. It’s the longest show I’ve ever been a part of, so it became home, but all good things come to an end.

Institute: Are you sad to say good bye to your character Jamie Batista?
Aimee: OMG yes! I love her! She’s smart, sexy and fiercely loyal. She knows who she is…I’ve always admired that about her. She’s unapologetic and is very clear about what she stands for. There is no grey with her. She stands up for what she believes and is very protective of the people she loves, like her brother, and of course, Harrison and Dexter. She’s young so she doesn’t have a lot of baggage. She’s a good student and good at her job, but she also knows how to have fun! I’m flattered that they kept her around. She was only supposed to be in one season and ended up being in three. So, yes, I fell in love with her and am going to miss her dearly.

Institute: What did you learn from Dexter, that you think you’ll carry with you?
Aimee: I learned that actors can make a simple scene pop. Watching Michael and Jennifer, I saw how a simple scene can have so many layers and nuances. Michael has this incredible ability to communicate so much by doing so little. He really seems to trust himself, and working with someone like that helped me do the same. I’ve always trusted my fellow actors. I’ve always thought of acting like tennis…you’re only as good as the person you’re playing with. Before Dexter, I would always second guess my choices, but being on set with these incredible actors for three years, I started to trust my instinct and go with my gut. I now trust that the camera will pick up my thoughts if I’m specific and honest in that moment. I also learned that I don’t have to have everything planned out and I’m more comfortable with finding my way through the scene in front of the camera instead of having the journey planned out. That’s an invaluable lesson I will carry with me forever.

Institute: What would you like to see happen to Dexter?
Aimee: Nothing! I want him to continue being the vigilante he is. Dexter is the best anti-hero ever…he also happens to be the best boss. But, now that he’s broken The Code, he might have to deal with the consequences of that. If I had my way, I’d like to see him survive and run away, but since he opened Pandora’s Box last season, that might not be possible.

Institute: What was it like working with Michael C Hall?
Aimee: Amazing!! Michael leads by example. He really sets a tone of professionalism and creativity the second he walks on set. He’s always on time, prepared and invested in the scene. In the 3 years I’ve worked with him, he has never phoned-in a scene… no matter how short or inconsequential it seemed. If something doesn’t make sense, he collaborates with the director to make it work. He’s a team player and such a gracious leader, but also has a great sense of humor. It’s hard not to do your best work when you’re working with one of the best actors of our generation.

Institute: If you could star in a re-make of a classic film, who would you want to play?
Aimee: Rosemary in Rosemary’s Baby…is that too dark? If so, then Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn’s grace and charm. It’d be a tough act to follow, but I love that role!

Institute: How hard do you push yourself?
Aimee: Very hard…sometimes a little too hard. I get frequent massages because I run on all cylinders. It’s hard for me to relax and I live my life like I might die tomorrow. I’m all-or-nothing so I tend to really go for it. If I learn about a great project, I immerse myself in research about the character and try to put my best foot forward. I realize how lucky I am to be a professional actor so I don’t take that for granted. My motto is No Regrets.

Institute: When are you completely satisfied with your work?
Aimee: I’m actually pretty good about being objective. I’m hard on myself but I also recognize when I’ve done good work. I think a lot of actors never give themselves credit and carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and I think that could be destructive. I’m satisfied with my work when I’ve done all the prep, let go of all of it on the day we’re shooting and I’m driving home knowing I left it all on the table. I’m also satisfied when I know I was free, open and surrendering to my impulses during the scene. I’m a control freak so it’s hard to let go, but I feel fulfilled when I trust that what the other actor and I come up with in that moment is much more interesting than anything I can come up with in my head. So, I’m most satisfied when I let go, trust my instincts and don’t get in my own way.

Institute: What are some of the greatest fears you think actors face?
Aimee: I think a lot of actors are afraid of letting go and being “wrong.” A lot of actors want to be “perfect” and “right.” I used to want to be like that, but now I love it when things go “wrong”…if my scene partner messes up a line, forgets what to say, or if they do something unexpected… or even if a crew member coughs. I love those unplanned moments because they make me respond and do something I didn’t know I was going to do. I think because acting as a profession is so difficult, when actors get the opportunity to act, they make it precious and a big deal… they want to be perfect and don’t want to mess up. I say, MESS UP, be free, don’t have everything figured out and surprise yourself! That will lead to more discoveries…it’s scary to let go and trust your gut at first, but the more you do it, the more you won’t want to work any other way.

Institute: Do you have any great inspirations?
Aimee: Yes! I’d love to create my own content and become a producer. I would love to get to the point where I can have the power to hire the best actor for a job and tell stories we haven’t seen. I’d also like to start a charity for kids who have the grades but not the money to go to college. As far as my Travel Bucket List, I’d love to go to Africa, Machu Picchu and Berlin.

Institute: Do you have a preference when it comes to TV, film and theatre?
Aimee: Theater! I always say: Theatre is an Actor’s medium, Film is a Director’s medium and TV is a Writer’s medium. In fact, I’m considering going back to New York and doing theatre after I wrap Dexter. I really miss getting to explore a character for months in rehearsal. Film and TV are so fast that you don’t really get that long discovery time and I miss that.

Institute: How do you keep yourself occupied in-between projects?
Aimee: I golf, read, write, do yoga, sing, hang with friends and family, and travel. It’s hard for me to sit still…like I said, I live life like I might not be here tomorrow.

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