Andrew Rotilio: “Toronto is home to me. And The Expanse feels like family”
May 3, 2019
You have been a staple character on The Expanse, as Diogo for 3 seasons. But that wasn’t always written in stone, can you share some of the ways you solidified your role on the show?
Honestly man, I have no clue. I could never have imagined this… I signed up for 2 episodes in season 1 and now three season’s later— I mean, I’m still here! Feels like such a gift to be working with such an amazing cast an crew my first time out. Just to give your readers a little context, The Expanse is a sci-fi television series adapted from the New York Times bestselling books by the same name. And it’s been adapted by the Academy-Award nominated writing duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby who wrote Iron Man and Children of Men. In other words, it’s a dream come true!
Here’s Where to Watch The Expanse Seasons 1-3
As of February 8, Amazon became the exclusive place to stream The Expanse, which is also when Season 3 finally became available after originally airing on Syfy last spring and summer.
The show was canceled on SYFY but was picked up by Amazon, how does it feel to be able to live on a new network and continue The Expanse’s journey? Also can you share what it feels like to hear Jeff Bezos is a fan of the show?
I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news about SYFY canceling our show! We loved this show and then one day it’s just gone. It’s pretty crazy how things can happen just like that; it really is a roller coaster ride. One thing you learn fast as an actor in this business is that nothing is guaranteed and every day is a blessing. That said, we were all speechless when we heard we got picked up by Amazon. But how we got there is even more incredible. We heard the fans banded together and crowd-funded their own money to fly a private plane over the Amazon Studios Headquarters with a “SaveTheExpanse” banner trailing it. And yeah - I had no idea Jeff Bezos was a huge fan!? It’s crazy, I feel like a kid in a candy shop, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!
You film the show in Toronto, can you identify some great aspects about filming in Canada? Do you think it influences the show or you as an actor in any particular way?
Toronto is home to me. And The Expanse feels like family. As a first-time actor, you get pretty nervous when you don’t know what to expect on set but they took me in with open arms. That’s the thing about our city, the people here are really amazing people. We have the best cast and crew who are passionate about what they do and I think when you have that, it really translates on screen. The attention to detail, is out of this world. Our showrunner Narren Shankar has a degree in physics and he nerds-out on the science of this show being 100% accurate. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something that really matters to us.
Can you share what the process is like breaking down T.V scripts and how you prepared to play your role?
Well I don’t have any formal training so I’m just piecing things together with scotch tape and glue. That said - when you put on the space suit and you step onto the massive three-story sets you start to feel like you are actually there. And being on the set of one of the biggest budget TV shows is a gift because it’s like having a front-row seat to the best film-schooling. I pinch myself every day. And then on top of that, I get to go head-to-head with Academy-Award nominated actor David Strathairn, Thomas Jane and Jared Harris. Like I said - a dream come true. I’m basically busy just trying to keep up. That said - when you work with such talented and generous actors, they really make you raise your game. So to answer your question, you learn a lot on the job.
Do you remember what the audition was like?
Yes… They asked me to do a Jamaican accent. I have to admit I was a bit confused, at first. It was my first audition and I guess I just thought maybe this is how they all are. But then, turns out they were just pranking me. They wanted to prepare me for “Belter,” which is the made-up dialect my character speaks, developed for the show.
What would you like to see happen with your character in Season 4?
I would absolutely love to see Diogo back in action in season 4! That said, for those of you who know him well, I really think he needs to straighten out his act first…
What are your thoughts on the power of the fans of any given show?
The fans are everything. We love them and without them there would be no Expanse. Period. Actually, without them there would be no Diogo. The fans are really the ones who save him, from season to season. They started this hashtag online called #SaveDiogo and then it just snowballed from there. I couldn’t believe the outcry. #TeamDiogo just blew-up and the writers decided to bring him back, again and again. And then, of course - the fans did it one more time to #SaveTheExpanse. And now it’s on Amazon Prime Video in over 200 countries! Crazy. Like I said, I could never have predicted any of this…And I am eternally grateful for the writers taking a huge chance on me and I’m happy the fans responded how they did. Actually I just want to take a second here to say a quick and sincere thank you to any fans of the show who might be reading this - your support is truly mind blowing and we appreciate every single one of you.
What advice would you give an aspiring actor?
It’s hard to give great actorly advice at this stage, mainly because I’m very much still learning the craft. But I think it’s important to dream big and to follow your art till the end of time. To surround yourself with great people and never let go of what is truly you. And never let go of what feels good because that’s all we really have at the end of the day.
Here’s everything you need to know about The Expanse in case you haven’t seen the show—
The Modern Actor Pick Of The Week