Why Eddie From 9-1-1 Looks So Familiar
It’s never easy being the new guy.
Fox’s hit procedural “9-1-1” had a full season under its belt before new firefighter Eddie Diaz showed up in the Season 2 premiere. That’s 10 episodes of establishing the core group, figuring out their dynamics, finding who would play what role … it can be tough to arrive just as all that is stabilizing, figuring out where exactly there’s space for you to squeeze in and make some room of your own. And upon Eddie’s arrival, the show initially made it look like whatever role he carved out for himself would come at the expense of squadmate Buck (Oliver Stark).
Then, “9-1-1” does a clever thing with the pair, slowly turning their initial rivalry into a codependent friendship. Buck becomes an invaluable figure in the lives of Eddie and his son Christopher (Gavin McHugh), whom Eddie is raising as a single parent, trying to navigate Christopher’s relationship with his mother and the boy’s cerebral palsy diagnosis.
The introduction of Christopher gives actor Ryan Guzman a dimension unlike other roles in his career, building a years-long parental relationship. He’s used to playing the new guy, someone in a young ensemble: building this new and deeply felt empathy with another character is a fresh challenge for the young actor. Here are a few places you might recognize him from.
Ryan Guzman's first role was a big Step Up
After years working as a model, Guzman jumped straight into the acting deep end, landing the lead role in “Step Up Revolution” despite not having a credit to his name.
“Revolution,” the fourth film in the “Step Up” series, sees Guzman’s character Sean, a Miami local, teaching would-be-professional Emily (Kathryn McCormick) to loosen up and embrace her inner rebel via careful tutelage in chess tactics … no, just kidding, it’s the power of dance. And by dance, we mean large, choreographed flash mobs he organizes with his friends. Guzman would return to the franchise for its fifth and final film, reprising the role of Sean in 2014’s “Step Up: All In,” which sees him leading a dance crew in a high-stakes Los Angeles dance battle.
In an interview with the New York Post for his second appearance in the franchise, Guzman admitted that he did not land his starring role in the franchise for his dancing expertise. “My first dance lesson was ‘Step Up Revolution,'” he said. “But being raised in a Latin household, dance was an important part of your upbringing.” He told the Boston Herald that getting his role was arduous, and involved “four acting and six dancing auditions,” but that ultimately what won him the part was his chemistry with co-star McCormick.
Ryan Guzman was more than just The Boy Next Door
After the pep and energy of “Step Up,” Guzman veered hard in the other direction, taking the role of a teenager who develops a dangerous obsession with his older neighbor in “The Boy Next Door.”
It doesn’t take long for 19-year-old Noah Sandborn’s relationship with his next-door neighbor and teacher Claire (Jennifer Lopez) to escalate. Claire is estranged from her husband Garrett (John Corbett), and finds herself both intrigued yet hesitant when her young neighbor begins flirting with her. The pair have sex, but Claire grows to regret the encounter. When she tries to put some distance between them Noah clings to her in a dangerous manner, stalking her, blackmailing her by threatening to reveal their encounter, and eventually threatening her and her family. It’s a complex part, one that required him to switch from seductive to threatening, sometimes even within the same scene.
Shooting a love scene with Jennifer Lopez so early in a young actor’s career could have been nerve-wracking, but the result found at least one fan, as Guzman explained to People. “My dad went into a theater full of all my friends and family back home in Sacramento. Right around that part in the movie, he decided to get up and yell out, ‘That’s my boy!'”
Ryan Guzman played a reluctant vigilante on Heroes Reborn
Later in 2015, Guzman also joined the core cast of NBC’s “Heroes Reborn” miniseries, the television sequel to the network’s 2006 hit “Heroes.” The series saw him join the main ensemble as Carlos Gutierrez, a war hero struggling with his return to civilian life, who dons the identity of the Los Angeles vigilante El Vengador.
The original El Vengador was Carlos’ brother Oscar, who used the name, the suit, and his own super strength as part of his work smuggling Evos –– evolved humans with various powers –– past the Los Angeles Police Department and out of the country. When his brother is killed by police, Carlos dons the mask and continues the fight — despite his own lack of powers. To improve his odds of survival, he modifies the suit, and becomes something of a Batman-analogue in this particular universe.
But it’s not an easy choice to take up the mantle, as Guzman explained to Teen Vogue. “He’s very self-deprecating because he doesn’t believe in himself so when he’s given this opportunity of greatness, as I like to present it, he doesn’t think he can fulfill what everyone else needs him to be. And I think a lot of people can relate to that in their everyday life.”
Ryan Guzman got the party started in Everybody Wants Some!!
In 2016, Guzman signed up for the Southeast Texas University baseball team in the Richard Linklater college ensemble comedy “Everybody Wants Some!!”
He played Kenny Roper, an upperclassman and team veteran who’s something of the more personable second-in-command to the team’s captain and star Glen McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin). He is first introduced driving his car around campus, packed with teammates as they cruise for girls, and spends most of the movie in that mode, looking for a good time. Even during practice, there is perhaps no one more gleeful about the team’s tradition of “freshman batting practice,” where freshman are duct-taped to the outfield wall while the upperclassman hit balls at them.
Guzman told Sactown Magazine that he, like his co-star Hoechlin, actually played baseball in college before an injury derailed his pitching career. But even though the movie would see him returning to the diamond, he says his parents were a little skeptical. “They didn’t really know who Rick [Richard Linklater] was. So I had to tell them because they made so much more of a big deal about ‘Step Up.’ I was like, “Guys, ‘Everybody Wants Some’ is going to be a million times different in every facet than ‘Step Up.’ You should be very happy that I booked this role.”