'Graceland' Exclusive Interview: Manny Montana on Johnny's Middle Child Syndrome
'Graceland' Exclusive Interview: Manny Montana on Johnny's Middle Child Syndrome
Carla Day
Carla Day
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Last Thursday's series premiere of Graceland introduced us to the multi-agency undercover agents that live together in a house on the beach. Manny Montana plays FBI Agent Johnny Tuturro, the funny guy in the house. He pulled a fast one on Mike by giving the newbie housemate Dale's orange juice to drink and trouble ensued.
Manny Montana spoke with BuddyTV about his role as Johnny and that while the agent is a jokester in the house, he's more of a peacemaker. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

How does Johnny fit into the Graceland house?

It's pretty apparent in the pilot episode what Johnny is. Johnny's that middle child. He just wants everybody to get along. He's the heart of the house. Whenever people start getting into their stuff and it's going to happen throughout the season, there's going to be people turning on each other. And, there's going to be people who just love each other and Johnny just wants everybody to get along. He just has the biggest heart. He's going to get into people's messes and he's going to try and clean it up. He's a good guy. I really like him a lot.

We find out in the premiere that Paul may not be as legit as an FBI agent as we're initial led to believe. Does Johnny find out the truth about Briggs?

Yeah, but you know what. Yes, Briggs is gonna have his issues, but everybody in the house is going to have their issues and things that come to light. But, the relationship between Johnny and Briggs is like -- You know when you're a kid and you see your parents as being superhuman like they never make mistakes, they don't curse, you don't see them as normal people. 

And as you get older and start becoming a man or a woman you're like, "Holy f*ck, my mom has some issues or my dad has some issues." And, that's what's going on with Johnny and Briggs. He's starting to realize that Briggs is not the mythical figure in his mind. He's starting to realize he's a man and he has flaws. He's a great dude and Johnny loves him and they'll always be tight, but he's like, "Wait. Is something going on with him? Like is all the shit that people are telling me, is that actually the truth?" 

So he's conflicted with helping him and also investigating him. Where do you draw that line between "My friend wouldn't do that?" to "Holy shit, would he?" He's conflicted throughout the whole season.

Johnny seems like the jokester of the house, does he use that humor to calm situations?

Yeah. Again, it's the classic middle child. He wants to make light of everything and he wants everybody to get along. He eases the tension. But, it's also a cover for himself. Most people that are always laughing and joking, there's usually something going on inside. I think Johnny, coming from the area that he comes from, you don't want to take everything so seriously. Coming from Long Beach, you know, we don't grow up with a lot of money. And, the one common thing that the four people have is humor. We laugh through everything. So, even though that's a great quality to have sometimes it's just to hide. I think that's what Johnny has and he does it well. And, he wants everybody to get along when shit starts hitting the fan in the house. So, that's the main thing about Johnny.

How does Johnny's relationship with Mike progress? Do they end up trusting each other?

I think from jump they do. From jump, Johnny was the newest member of the house and I think it's implied as the season goes along and then when Mike comes in, he doesn't want to haze him. I mean, he wants to mess with a little, but he just wants him to have an easier transition than Johnny had. So, their relationship is great from the jump.

Like I said, everybody in the house is gonna to get into their own shit amongst each other. But, as far as Johnny and Mike go, they are just really good friends.

What type of cases will Johnny be working on?

Johnny has no cases. Me and the writers laugh and joke about that all the time. It wasn't planned that way, but as the season progressed, we sorta realized that Johnny just helps everybody else in their cases. And, at first I was like that's kinda f*cked up. Johnny should have his own stuff, but at the end of the season, I was like this makes more sense for Johnny. 

It speaks so much to who he is. He just wants to help everybody in what they are doing. And, he's better off that way, like Johnny's not the guy who's gonna be researching, and his paperwork and his due diligence. He wants to me on the streets and he wants to be going undercover and he wants to help. So, I'm pretty happy with him not having any real cases.

There are two very attractive women living in the house with these men, is there any hanky panky going on?

[Laughs] There's some stuff that goes on. I can't say anything without giving it away, but they get their love both inside and outside of the house in different ways. I'll leave it to the viewers to figure out how it's gonna happen.

Graceland airs Thursdays at 10 pm ET on USA.

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(Image courtesy of USA.)