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Jamie Gray Hyder Talks Graceland’s New Spin on Sibling Rivalry [INTERVIEW] 

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Jamie Gray Hyder is an actress who’s having success working in a number of areas. She’s one of the leads in a David Guetta music video that was just released yesterday. And she stars in a video game that was featured with the release of the PS4 game system. But what we’re loving about her right now is that she’s currently part of a sizzling storyline on USA Network’s Graceland where she plays Lucia, the sister of crime lord Carlito Solano and Johnny’s latest love interest.

TV GOODNESS: How has your experience been on Graceland?

Jamie Gray-Hyder: My experience has been amazing. The whole cast and crew is so welcoming, so warm. I get to work primarily with Manny (Montana, Johnny) and Erik (Valdez, Carlito Solano) and the two of them are wonderful to work with. Erik and I are like brother and sister in real life. And it’s really been a positive experience.

TV GOODNESS: Can you talk about this twist on the love triangle that’s going on? Johnny is with Lucia but Lucia’s brother, Carlito, is interested in Johnny as well…

Photo Credit:  Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Jamie: It’s definitely putting a new spin on sibling rivalry that’s for sure.

TV GOODNESS: And the love triangle too…

Jamie: Yeah, exactly, that competition on all levels. There’s already enough tension between Lucia and Carlito based on the fact that she’s kind of got to watch out to make sure he doesn’t mess up…she’s like our dad’s watchdog. But then you add that they’re both competing for the same guy…things get pretty heated.

TV GOODNESS: What can you tease about what’s coming up next? The last thing we saw…Lucia and Johnny were headed down to Mexico and her dad and she wasn’t too happy about it.

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Jamie: No, that’s the last thing she wants to do. They’re going to head down to Mexico and we’re gonna get to see more of the Solano family dynamics. And you get to meet dad and you kind of get to see where Lucia and Carlito grew up and spent their lives. And it explains a lot, I think, as for their behavior.

TV GOODNESS: How dangerous is it going to get for Johnny down there?

Jamie: As dangerous for anyone to be down there in these circumstances, but especially Johnny. You know, he really is putting his neck out there.

TV GOODNESS: I assume Carlito will be finding out about Johnny and Lucia at some point…How is he going to react? After all, Carlito does have a temper…

Jamie: Yeah, I think things definitely are going to bubble over…eventually. Lucia and Johnny really do their best to try and hide it even, you know, as you see in the next couple of episodes. But eventually he’s gotta find out. So when he does I think things really do…get pretty extreme at that point.

TV GOODNESS: What’s an episode that we need to look forward to regarding your character?

Jamie: From here on out it’s pretty high stakes, I’d say, for all characters, especially for myself and for Johnny and for Carlito. You’re really gonna see these relationships play out in a more extreme way.

TV GOODNESS: Can you talk about shooting Graceland in Miami? That has to be fun.

Jamie: It is. It’s hot and humid. (laughs) But Fort Lauderdale and Miami are just so great. Miami’s got such a vibrant scene to it that it’s nice on the weekends to kind of be able to go and get away and have fun fishing on the weekends and going down to the Keys…it’s not a bad place to work, that’s for sure.

TV GOODNESS: You just did a music video for David Guetta’s “Lovers on the Sun?”

Jamie: I just finished doing that. We shot it out at the Mojave Desert, featuring Ray Liotta and Andrew Keegan and myself. And I’m really excited to see the final product. Because it was a long, hot day riding horses but it was a lot of fun.

TV GOODNESS: What’s the storyline? Is is it just a Western-y type of thing?

Jamie: Yeah, it’s a Western where actually it’s a female heroine who comes in and tries to save her lover from these bandits out in the desert. It’s sort of the story of how she does that.

TV GOODNESS: What was it like to work with Ray Liotta?

Jamie: He was fantastic. You would barely recognize him because he’s got a big beard and his hair is grown out for a Western that he’s working on. But it was awesome. He’s a really nice guy and we all had a good time that day.

TV GOODNESS: You also shot a video game?

Jamie: Yeah, the video game was released at the end of last year and it’s been doing really well. That was a really fun experience for me. I hope to do future games. Killzone: Shadow Fall is the game and my character is Echo.

TV GOODNESS: You’ve been doing so many different things, primetime television, music videos, video games…which one’s more challenging?

Jamie: I think the challenge is in general…of constantly finding yourself in new situations. I think that’s the thrill and the challenge of being an actor, in particular, is that you’re always getting thrown into new situations and you have to be adaptable. And they all definitely present more challenges more specifically but it’s kind of — across the board — always doing something new is the challenge and the excitement for me.

TV GOODNESS: So you do need different skills for each area?

Jamie: Yeah, some things become more important in different situations. You’re working on the video game, it’s very technical, so you have to be very aware of every move you’re making and all your equipment. And that’s adding a whole other level of awareness to what you’re doing. And then you’re doing something like a music video and you’re trying to get across a whole story in one day. So the challenge there might be going from A to Z in six hours. And then television, you’re trying to keep up a character over a few months period. You need to keep people interested and involved in what’s going on with your character. And that can be hard.

TV GOODNESS: What else are you working on? 

Jamie: We just finished working on Graceland so I’m just back in LA and auditioning…

TV GOODNESS: Can you tease anything about the [Graceland] finale?

Jamie: I can tease the fact that when I read it I was shocked. I was shocked. I’m not sure if [fans] will be upset but they won’t be disappointed in the amount of excitement that it brings.

Check back here for more from Jamie. She talked to me about her time as a werewolf on HBO’s True Blood, which is in its final season.

Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA Network. A preview from tonight’s episode:

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