One of the biggest surprises of ‘On My Block’s season 3 time jump was Spooky’s transformation. HL spoke with Julio Macias about Spooky’s big turnaround, Spooky’s relationship with Cesar, and more.
Spooky sure got the adult problems he was asking for in the On My Block season 3 time jump. As Spooky found himself out of the gang life and with a girl and baby on the way, Cesar became the new head of the Santos gang. This is quite the transformation for the brothers, who have done a complete 180. Turns out, Spooky’s time jump scene was the very first thing Julio Macias filmed when he returned for season 3. He just didn’t know where that scene would fall in the timeline — or if it was even real.
HollywoodLife talked with Julio all about the time jump and what his reaction was to Spooky’s evolution. Julio’s primary concern with Spooky at the moment is what his relationship with Cesar is like. Even though Spooky seems to have escaped the gang life, Julio isn’t so sure that’s the case. Can Spooky really be out? That’s the “biggest question” Julio has right now. He also reveals a theory he has about Spooky’s fate. Check out our Q&A below.
First and foremost, let’s just get to that ending. Were you surprised by what happened to Spooky in the time jump?
Julio Macias: That was the very first scene that I filmed of the season. Lauren [Iungerich] doesn’t give us the last script until closer to the end of filming. So even though I filmed that scene before I shot anything else, I didn’t know where it fit in with the story. But I was just as surprised when I read the final script. I thought it was sort of a dream sequence or something, but it turns out to be or at least what we think is his reality 2 years into the future. I’m very happy for him. I have a lot of questions. Is he out? How did he get out? What’s his relationship with his brother right now? I am happy with how it ended. However, I just need to know just how his relationship with his brother is at that moment.
Cesar is now the head of the Santos gang after the time jump. Do you think that Spooky tried to stop Cesar from going down that route? What’s your take on that?
Julio Macias: I have two [takes]. I have the emotional response, and then I have the let me sit down and think about this response. The first one would be he’s obviously not happy if he’d spent all this time trying to get his brother out or trying to show his brother a different way, especially this season. I’m sure that he’d be more than upset and kind of hurt. Because of everything that Spooky’s done for Cesar, I just don’t feel like he would give up even if Cesar went in. But again, we don’t know but we haven’t seen that. And the other part of me kind of thinks, if you reflect on what’s happening in Mexico right now with the cartel and whatnot, even though people like El Chapo and his associates at the top should be held responsible and put in jail and whatnot, when you take the head out of a clandestine organization like that, it’s not going to just dissipate. Either a general is going to rise up or there’s going to be a warring situation between little cliques. We talk about how violence is bad for business. We establish that Spooky very much cares about business. If Spooky isn’t out and he has come to the understanding or realization that his brother wants in and that’s not going to change one way or another, does Spooky step aside and just let someone from the 18th Street gang who is clearly very violent and thinking about just killing people and being reckless take over? Or does he give in to Cesar? At least if he’s the head of the Santos, then there will be some sort of level-headedness at the top of the organization. So that’s my reality on that.
That would provide some protection for Spooky…
Julio Macias: Not even just for Spooky. If he really cared about his community the way that he says he does, if he’s going to leave that community, who’s going to protect it? If he gives that command, that charge, to someone who is going to be ruthless but fair, in whatever way you can consider it fair, then why not his brother?
Do you think it’s a possibility they had a falling out?
Julio Macias: Yes, I think that is a possibility, especially how we’ve seen Cesar be a little bit more emotional. Oscar’s kicked Cesar out once, but how many times has Cesar blamed Oscar for doing all these terrible things, and at the end of the day, come back running, asked him for help, or told him that he was right? I think that if there was any animosity, it would be more from Cesar’s point.
One of the best and most devastating scenes this season was between Spooky and his father where Spooky said he had to learn how to be a father without ever having been a song. How do you feel about Spooky’s emotional evolution in season 3?
Julio Macias: That was one of the things that I was the most excited about and the most scared about going into the season. One of the things that attracted me most to the character when I first auditioned for it was the writers’ willingness to go into the heartbreak that is such a hard character and seeing that they didn’t pull any punches and wouldn’t just have him be Cesar’s brother. They wanted to show what this guy was going through and everything that he had held up against his father, even though he turned into his father in a way. For me, we moved to the States when I was 8 years old to Los Angeles. Prior to that, even though I have pictures and I understand that my dad was very much present in my life, he was also working really hard to be able to afford us what came next in his career. He brought his company from Mexico to the United States and that took years of developing and planning and traveling back and forth. Before 8 years old, I don’t particularly remember my dad, so even though I know that he was present and very involved, I remember him always working. So I doubled that and added Oscar’s circumstances and, in a way, took out the frustrations of me not having a particularly typical childhood. I see the differences between me and my wife. She grew up in Orange County in a suburb where you’re riding your bikes and seeing friends since elementary school. I grew up in Mexico City, jumping schools, and then flying between Mexico City, Los Angeles, and then eventually Miami. These three major metropolitan cities where I constantly changed trends. In Mexico, especially, you see the social differences and the class system so very apparent just from walking on the streets or going up into a building. I grew up, I guess, quicker. My parents were older when they had me so my mom and my dad had conversations with us as adults. I grabbed all those mini frustrations and ramped them up to the 10th and 11th degree and kind of used that to ramp me up. Honestly, once I had committed the words to memory and then once Ian [Casselberry], who is a phenomenal and very gracious actor, was there, all the prep work that I thought that I had done was gone. It was just Oscar living in that moment, truthfully. For two years, we have seen him hold it and hold it and hold it and hold it, and this is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It really pushed Oscar to the edge. When Spooky reaches the edge and his breaking point, he doesn’t take out a gun. He doesn’t beat his dad. He doesn’t charge him. He doesn’t throw shit at him. He embraces him. He breaks down and he cries. He goes back to day one because that’s where his heart wants to go. I feel like something similar would have had to happen with little Spooky. Now, once the moment has passed, conditioning comes into his mind and he pushes his father away. There was maybe a window of a couple of seconds where everything could have been alright. But because of stupid conditioning over the years, he had to separate himself.
Is there anything you would want to explore in a potential season 4 with Spooky? Do you hope he’s out of the gang life for good?
Julio Macias: I don’t believe that he is. You know, when they say blood in, blood out, even people who aren’t out-out, they are still affiliated. There’s still a certain code, if you will, that people adhere to. So how can he really be out? That’s just my biggest question. Is he out-out or is he kind of in the middle of limbo? What I would like to see is maybe Spooky, if he really is out and his brother is in, seeing how he goes back in to try to get him out. It’s not a popular opinion, but I am of the ilk of Harrison Ford where he’s like a character has been utilized and now the best thing to do is sacrifice him. Again, that’s up to the writers to see what they want to do with it. But it would be, I think, a gut-wrenching punch not only for the audience, but a cold splash of reality to Oscar who has seen all these people around him drop like flies, but his brother just kind of seemed like this solid beacon, this sturdy wall that is unfathomable and unbreakable. But if he goes back in and tries to help his brother out and he gets taken out maybe that’s what Cesar needs to understand that the only way out of this really is in a casket.