Mitch Glazer’s ‘Magic City’ Guide: Episode 8 – Three Master Performances Close Out the First Season

by | June 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Magic City

Dominik Garcia-Lorido as Mercedes Lazaro & Yul Vasquez as Victor Lazaro in Magic City (Starz)

Join us each week as “Magic City” writer-creator Mitch Glazer offers an insider’s guide to one critical scene from the 50s-era drama after it airs on Starz (Fridays, 10/9c).

In the first season finale (“Time and Tide”), Glazer takes us behind the scenes of three masterful, heartbreaking performances from Jessica Marais (Lily), Dominik Garcia-Lorido (Mercedes) and Yul Vazquez (Victor).

Mitch Glazer: I’ve been very lucky to work with some blazing talents over the years but this “Magic City” cast is the finest ensemble of actors I’ve ever known. Episode 8 features three brave and wrenching performances from Jessica Marais, Dominik Garcia-Lorido and Yul Vazquez.

Dominik’s Mercy truly comes alive in Episode 8. Dominik’s work is always so raw and human but the scene in the car where she defends her love for Danny is my favorite. Her reading of “That boy is my heart” slams me in the chest every time I see it.  And when Mercy gets the news from her father of her mother’s death — Dominik’s lovely, innocent smile breaks into utter sorrow before our eyes. We shot that scene without sound from outside the Riviera coffee shop set but Dominik’s  wail of loss came through the glass. So real, almost voyeuristic.

Yul Vazquez is a master actor. To watch Yul create Victor’s reaction to Maria’s murder was an acting class. Director Ed Bianchi loosely blocked the shot but it was completely Yul’s call as to how Vic took that moment. Victor’s angry denial at the impossibility of Ike’s words and his retreat to Victor’s place of comfort, his one safe place behind the front desk and then, even there, pacing, caged by his pain — was the perfect, the only, choice for the scene. Yul’s Victor, stiff, slightly formal, fights for control and finally surrenders to the grief as we watch. It is a specific and heartbreaking moment.

The Ben-Lily pool “love” scene was nearly as wrenching to shoot as it is to watch. It was shot from midnight till dawn at the “Ben Diamond mansion” on Indian Creek. Ed Bianchi broke down the violence into controllable pieces, carefully staging and shooting each moment in a brutal mosaic that would be later editorially assembled into a whole. And even so, my heart was in my mouth the entire night. Jessica tore something so desperate and fierce from herself.  She yanked Lily from suicidal to survivor before our eyes and, even in the most horrific moments, as Ben lashes out at Lily in his full fury,  even when all seemed, felt, must have been, totally out of control — Jessica/Lily never let her hand from the throttle. It was an exhausting, precise and inspiring performance. And as you watch Jessica’s fearless abandon, remember that she is also four months pregnant.

An incredible end to our first season of “Magic City.” See you all in 2013.

Thank you!

Mitch Glazer

Watch the Season 1 Finale of “Magic City” Below: