Quantico returns today! To celebrate, Lenny Platt sat down and chatted with us about the season, terrorist theories, and the new upper class.
The winter finale left viewers with so many questions, and opened the door for so much more to come in the next 11 episodes. Alex getting put on trial, each NAT looking guiltier than the last, and a third bomb. Hopefully more will be revealed tonight. In the meantime, new member of the team Lenny Platt was able to carve some time out of his busy schedule to tell us a little bit about becoming a part of the Quantico world!
Your character name is Drew Perales, right? What is he like? What does he do in his spare time? What does he listen to at the gym when he works out?
Cash Money Records, Drew would definitely be into. Drew is from Chicago. He’s from Humboldt Park, Chicago, which is a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood. When I got the part — well, first of all, the character’s name was Drew Walker. They changed the last name. My mother’s Puerto Rican, and my dad’s half Dominican and half Polish, which is where I got my name, Leonard Platt. Otherwise, three quarters of me is Hispanic. So they asked my permission to write [my actual ethnicity] into the character. So he’s from a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago, and he’s an ex-NFL player. He actually plays for the Bears. He’s a star wide receiver, which is a pretty cool character to play on TV.
That’s awesome that they wanted to write him more to fit you and give him your ethnicity!
Yeah, this is one of the most collaborative shows I’ve ever worked on. The whole process has been really fun because we bring them ideas, and they either shoot them down or bring them in, but either way I feel invited to take part in the process of creating this character and being part of a large show. It’s been really fun for me so far to be more involved in that process.
Yeah, it seems like the cast and even some of the crew are really close, and work really well together. Has that seemed true?
For sure! We shoot the show in Montreal, which is an amazing city, and we’re having a really good time here, but I think it’s really interesting that it’s shot away from L.A., where a lot of the cast is from, so it creates this work family environment where we work together on set all day and at night we go to dinners, or go to music festivals together. We went to this thing called Igloo Fest as a group up in Montreal, it was a music festival that was outside and everybody wears these snow parkas, and they have theme nights where you dress up, like ’80s themed or neon themed. It’s fun to be in this new place with everyone and explore together.
But what’s also interesting is that myself and Jay and Li, the new NATs, the three of us are from New York. So we immediately bonded over that because the three of us came in together. And on the show, we have this rivalry with Alex and her gang so it was kind of fun to play into that. It was like a New York/L.A., East Coast/West Coast thing. And the New Yorkers, the three of us, would go out and work out together, show off, and play a little bit into this rivalry, this dynamic. They’re going head-to-head, they’re challenging each other. So it’s been fun to kind of use that.
It sounds awesome. So the new NATs — are they technically from the class ahead of Alex’s class?
Yeah, we kept making jokes like, ‘We’re not the new class, we’re the upper class! We’re a month ahead. We’re better, we’re faster, we’re stronger.’ Or so we think. It’s kind of fun that in the premiere we give the audience these new characters and don’t insult their intelligence by having us brought in and saying, ‘Oh, guys, they were in the classroom the whole time, you never saw them, surprise, and here’s their story,’ you know? Josh and the writing team have really tried to figure out an intelligent way to add more characters into this canvas, so we are a month ahead of them. Quantico doesn’t just have one class of FBI recruits; it’s ongoing all year, new FBI trainees are being trained.
Without giving too much away, Miranda and Liam create an exercise where Alex and her gang are pitted against this more experienced class and drama ensues. It’s been interesting, kind of right off the bat it was fun to play against Alex and her team and test them for how good they think they are.
Yeah, I was a little afraid when I heard there were going to be more students in the class and it was going to be like, ‘Oh, you didn’t notice, they were in the back.’ So it’s nice to hear that there’s an organic way to include the new characters.
Well and the reality of TV, too, you know it’s the first season so a lot of these things are still being worked out. And the show luckily has gained popularity and people are watching it. You know, as a show evolves, first you get the pilot, then the pilot gets picked up and you see the first episode. And I think everybody’s happy they got 22 episodes, a full season order, so it’s sort of like, ‘How do we add more story, more characters, and they could work?’ So I think they’re doing a really good job of doing that. I’m excited and feel very privileged to be brought in for the premiere.
There definitely is excitement! I mean, I’m a fan, and I’m excited.
Who do you think the terrorist is?
Shelby maybe? I think that could be really interesting. It could be Drew, couldn’t it?
Yeah, who knows? The reason I ask is because the cast, you know, we all have our own theories. Each episode is written by a particular staff writer, and often they’ll come up to Montreal. The show’s written in Brooklyn, because Josh is a tried and true New Yorker as well. So they’ll send a writer up to cover the episode per week, and it’s fun because — Yasmine is probably one of the ones who’s the most guilty of this — but every time the writer shows up to set, she will grill them. She’ll take the moment when they’re relaxed and sitting in a chair and she’ll be like, ‘I believe Liam is the terrorist, and this is why,’ and she’ll go through all her reasons like a detective and it’s so funny to see her. As actors, we, for good reason, are not given all the pieces to the puzzle yet. I have no idea, and you know for the first half of the season I watched it the same way the audience would. I had to re-watch every episode, so it was fun to watch the first half of the season purely like you, an audience member trying to put the pieces together.
It has to be interesting to now have that inside look and still not really know! Do you have a guess as to who the terrorist is right now?
I have a couple, yeah. I don’t want to share them, though, because I have more information than the public at large. We’re a few episodes further than you guys are. But we’ll see. I’ve made it known to the writers, so at the end if I’m right I can just turn to them and give them a nice wink and they’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, you know?
Who’s your favorite character on the show?
I love playing my character. He’s great, but I think — we mentioned that I came in from your perspective, and when I first started, I was a fan of the show, I mean I love all the characters, they’re all great. They’re all independently interesting and you said that they try to make you think everyone’s maybe bad. So it’s interesting to see what everyone’s red herring/hook is, what might make them the terrorist.
But I have to say, it was just really fascinating to watch her work, but also think about it technically, how they’re pulling it off, but Nimah and Raina. The dynamic of having these twins, and them being trained to embody one person so that person can be a plant in a cell, and how different Yasmine has to play each character. Raina’s more kind-hearted and gentle and has very strict religious beliefs, while Nimah’s, you know, more of a badass in her own way. So it’s been cool to just be on set and see how they shoot it, because it’s really impressive. Twins being played by one person — it’s not like it hasn’t been done before, like in film, but we’re in television, where you’ve got to work so much faster and there’s a lot more done in a work day. To watch them do that is just so impressive. And Yasmine is so brilliant at the way she approaches the character and makes them each unique in their own way. It’s definitely one of my favorite things to watch on set. They have stunt body doubles… I don’t want to pull back the curtain, but it’s all camera tricks, and it’s just mind-blowing for sure.
Well and you also have your own company, BBQ Films, is that right?
Yeah, well we do make some content, but BBQ Films is an immersive film screening company, and what that means is basically what we do is we put you inside your favorite movies for a night. And how we do that is we screen a cult film, whether it’s Back to the Future, or Fifth Element, or Beetlejuice. And we’ll screen the film in a setting that feels like a set from the movie. And then we have actors there who are in costume, who play the characters from the film. We have live music, drinks and food and we immerse you in that world. Then we ask our audience to come in costume as well, so as the audience you can interact with everything, the people, furniture, things, music, and then we sit you down and we show you the music. It’s basically putting you in your favorite story for a night. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s been a blast.
That sounds incredible. What a killer party idea.
It’s a neat thing to work with! And at each of our events, there’s a charity component. We donate money to a different charity depending on the film, whatever seems appropriate. Like, for Back to the Future we donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, for Beetlejuice we’re donating to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender. So yeah, it’s an exciting thing.
Okay, last question: If you could go undercover with the FBI and create a whole new identity, who would you want to be if you could create a whole new person?
You know, I keep making this joke, and this is purely based on me and being a movie nerd, I can’t help but — and I don’t think the writers think this at all, so I’m going to preface that — but my mind keeps going here. My character is like this pro star football player who becomes an FBI agent, so I’ve been kidding around with the production team. I’m like, ‘If I make it and I’m alive in season 2, can we try to do like a Point Break thing where I’m chasing surfing bank robbers?’ Cause that’d be pretty cool to have to practice surfing for a whole summer to prepare for a role. Keanu Reeves, his character in that movie, is this famous college football player that turns FBI, so there’s some parallels there. Just saying. The FBI does a lot of cool stuff, not just the terrorist thing. And I just finished Narcos on Netflix, and I speak Spanish, so I’m like, ‘Hey if you guys want to do anything with, like, cartels, I’m into it.’ So, drug-dealing, surfing bank robbers, that’s your answer! (laughs)