Ramon Rodriguez shares inspiration behind crafting 'Will Trent' character and accent

Joelle Garguilo Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Ramon Rodriguez shares where he gets Will Trent inspiration
This season saw Will trying to connect with his Puerto Rican roots

NEW YORK CITY -- It's a big day for Ramon Rodriguez. The actor was just named the "Padrino" or godfather of this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City and Tuesday night marks the season two finale of his hit show, "Will Trent."

In the series, he plays the title character, a quirky special agent at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

When it comes to his career, Rodriguez is finding everything he could hope for, living the rare kind of moment most actors dream about: co-executive producing and starring as the lead in the hit ABC drama series.

"How did you craft your Will Trent?" Eyewitness News Entertainment Reporter Joelle Garguilo asked.

"We talked a lot about sort of the sounds that this guy might incorporate or have because of where he grew up, being from Atlanta, growing up in the foster care system. But, because he was sort of open ended, who was an orphan, didn't know culturally where he might have come from," Rodriguez said. "And so where he grew up somewhere in the South in the city, and we found a great sort of reference that we can use and be inspired by with Andre 3000 from Outkast. We just used him as like a soundboard that we can reference with certain words and the sound of his voice and not to mimic it, but just to sort of use it as an inspiration as a model."

It's something that the rapper himself might not even know.

"I don't know if he knows that," Rodriguez said. "We took sound bites that we found online from interviews. And, and again, we just reference it."

This season saw Will trying to connect with his Puerto Rican roots... a theme that hits close to home for Rodriguez. His family and community feel pride seeing him on the screen.

"I grew up with, you know, all women in a small apartment in the Lower East Side, my mom and sisters, and then a bunch of family on the island in Puerto Rico, and there's just a lot of pride," he said.

His mother made sure that his big moment was noticed and appreciated by all.

"My mom did a massive premiere for season one in Puerto Rico at my grandma's house," he said. "Season two, when I came here to do some press, she wanted to see all the billboards, it's a pretty awesome thing. And for the community, it's a big deal.

One aspect he loves is being a part of the creative storytelling process and the direction it takes.

"Being a producer, being a part of that process creatively and saying, you know, not only in front of the camera, but to have a voice behind the camera," Rodriguez said. "That's a big thing for me, and to help get our stories told, and hopefully open more opportunities for others."

"Will Trent" filmed part of this season in Puerto Rico and Rodriguez called the experience "unbelievable."

"We actually hired majority local Puerto Rican crew, which is amazing," he said. "We have amazing crew and talent on the island. And people on the island love the show. Like they were so excited that 'Will Trent' was filming on the island. They were so proud to see a Puerto Rican lead on the show. It really was a wonderful, it filled me up."

He just wants to make sure people tune in for what he calls a "gut-wrenching episode."

"It really comes to a head, a lot of things come to a head that we've been watching throughout the season," Rodriguez said. "There's going to be a twist that I don't think anyone's going to see coming."

The season two finale of "Will Trent" airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and the following day on Hulu.