Jessica Camacho talks with us about her new character, a public defender on the upcoming CBS series, All Rise. Plus she teases her role on HBO’s Watchmen.
You may recognize Jessica Camacho as Gypsy from The Flash, Santana from Taken, Sophie from Sleepy Hollow, or, more recently, Michelle Vargas on the Netflix sci-fi series, Another Life. Next, Camacho will star as public defender Emily Lopez-Berarro on the upcoming CBS series, All Rise.
The series is part of the network’s fall 2019 line-up and will follow the everyday lives of judges, prosecutors, and public defenders in Los Angeles. Aside from Camacho, the series also stars Wilson Bethel, Simone Missick, Marg Helgenberger, J. Alex Brinson, Lindsay Mendez, and Ruthie Ann Miles.
Jessica chatted with me about what we can expect from the series, how she decides whether or not to accept a role, and the reason All Rise is going to be must-see TV this season.
Hidden Remote: You’ve been pretty busy! Another Life is currently streaming on Netflix. All Rise premieres in September, and then you’ve got Watchmen this fall as well.
Jessica Camacho: It has been a good year!
HR: All Rise is a little bit of a departure from some of your other projects since it’s not in the fantasy or sci-fi genre. Was that intentional?
JC: I was excited to explore new territory. I love sci-fi, and I love action so much because it’s ridiculously fun. Living within the fantasy realm is exciting, the possibilities are endless, but something is appealing about playing someone grounded in the real world. These are everyday heroes.
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It was exciting to delve into research and learn about the reality of public defenders. I researched what it takes to walk in their shoes every day. I think it is interesting to follow how they keep fighting when they are often up against injustice. I was drawn to that. It has been a great experience.
HR: Do you want to tell us a little bit more about your character Emily on All Rise?
JC: She is a fiercely passionate and determined, if flawed, human being. I think her guideline is to see the pursuit of justice. No matter what chaos is going in her life, that is her north star.
For me, as a person, the pursuit of my dreams to become a working actress has helped anchor me through whatever storm I was experiencing at the time.
For Emily, the fact she gets to play this hugely important part in the lives of so many people who are facing what could be the end of their lives as they know it, she gets to be someone who ensures they have a fair trial. At least they have a chance to have their voices heard, and that guides her.
She is trying to make sense of her personal life. She is trying to pick up the pieces and figure out who she is, separate from her identity as a public defender: Who am I as a woman, who am I as a person, who am I?
HR: That makes complete sense. Do you think you prefer playing her as a public defender versus had she been written as a prosecutor?
JC: That’s a good question! I would have enjoyed either. I thought about going to law school at several points in my life. Part of the reason I became an actor is that I could never decide if I wanted to be a prosecutor or a defense attorney. I was like; I’d be a terrible lawyer because I cannot make a decision!
I see shades of grey. It’s difficult for me to see things in black and white. But as a prosecutor, you have to be willing to focus on either black or white.
After having learned about public defenders and learning the complete lack of funds and support they have – a lot of them are doing their best with nothing, I found that rich and fertile ground as an actor.
I love playing that aspect of someone that, despite it being the unpopular choice, despite the fact they could be making more money elsewhere, they still choose to do that every day, I find that very inspiring.
HR: It seems like you’re attracted to playing roles with a morally grey aspect such as your character Gypsy on The Flash or Santana on Taken, is that something we can expect from your character on Watchmen? I know you can’t say much!
JC: You know, you’re right, I can’t say a whole lot. But you are doubly right in that I love playing characters that understand there are shades of grey when it comes to what is right and wrong.
Yet, at the same time, have some unmovable idea of what they think is right and can draw the line within themselves of “this is where I won’t go.” I find that very human.
Sometimes you will get tested. When you play characters in specific scenarios, you will see them get tested frequently and intensely. Playing within that is so exciting and layered.
For a creative job like mine, you can keep digging into possibilities and realizations about how dark a person can feel because of choices. You do things that test you and scare you but also challenge you enough that you grow and learn from it. I like playing complicated characters. I want more of that.
HR: Speaking of Gyspy, I thought it was funny that two of your cast members from All Rise are from Marvel Netflix [Wilson Bethel and Simone Missick], but you’ve got two DC projects going on. Do you have a preference between the two?
JC: I’m an actor. I go where they want to hire me! To me, if an incredible role comes along with an incredible story that has somewhere to go, then I’m there.
HR: If you could give people one reason to watch All Rise, what would it be?
JC: What sets All Rise apart, I believe, is the amount of heart, love, and sincerity that all of us are pouring into this experience. We are living in an intense and scary time right now. All Rise does not veer away from that.
It addresses the reality we are experiencing directly. I think it is cathartic for me, and certainly as an actor, to see our experiences reflected in our scripts. It allows us to talk about these things together.
How do we deal with fear? How do we deal with the scary times we’re living in and yet still function? All Rise is a place where we can do that together. It’s a smart show. I think a lot of people are going to be able to see themselves in the characters and story. That’s what we’re working for, so tune in!
Check out the first official trailer for All Rise from CBS:
HR: Well, I’m excited to watch it! I wish you guys all the luck. Thank you so much for chatting with me! Have a good one, Jessica.
JC: Thank you so much. I appreciate it!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Another Life is currently streaming on Netflix. All Rise premieres on September 23, 2019, on CBS. Watchmen is set to premiere on October 20, 2019 on HBO.