The cast of “9-1-1” is routinely asked to rappel off cliffs, perform underwater rescues and negotiate buckled streets after an earthquake. So being lowered into a hole on a harness should be a comparative piece of cake, right?
Not for Ryan Guzman. The 32-year-old actor, who plays fireman Eddie Diaz on the Ryan Murphy drama, had to fight off claustrophobia in the middle of a freezing night on location.
Guzman is the focus of a standalone episode that hearkens back to Eddie’s military service in Afghanistan, where he was awarded the Silver Star for heroism. A weather-based hitch in the rescue of the boy in the well summons up feelings about his own son, Christopher (Gavin McHugh), who has cerebral palsy and nearly disappeared when a tsunami struck the Santa Monica pier in LA. In Monday night’s episode, Christopher has asked his dad to speak at a school assembly about how he came to be given the Silver Star and the audience learns the details of the event that resulted in such distinction.
Guzman, who was born in Texas and grew up in Sacramento, Calif., spoke to The Post from Sherman Oaks where he lives with his family.
This episode shows viewers how Eddie was awarded his Silver Star while serving in the US Army in Afghanistan. What was it like filming those war scenes?
I had the ability to have my cousin hired. His name is Randy Hudson and he did five [military] tours himself. He was so influential in the shooting of any of the warfare scenes. Down to the patches we had on our uniforms and the equipment. Some things are stretched for entertainment’s sake, but for the most part he authenticated everything. He rewrote, actually, quite a bit of the script.
How deep was the hole that Eddie goes into to rescue the boy who has fallen down the well?
That hole was the bane of my existence. It was maybe a 10-to-12 feet deep. Width-wise, I’m guessing it was maybe three feet. So if you’re claustrophobic, it would already get you. At the same time, the way they lower you down, you have to be in this harness. And harnesses are usually meant for you to lean back and it takes most of the weight on your backside. I couldn’t [do that] because I had to go straight down and I had a wet suit on with my costume because it was rainy and windy out. Because of that all of the weight had to go straight on my groin. As they lowered me down I’m having 185 pounds go straight on my groin. I had to do that for three different takes. Needless to say, I had to tell my girl, “I don’t know if we’re having any more kids.”