In the new thriller Fatale, Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) stars as Valerie Quinlan, a police detective who has a one-night stand with a married man (Michael Ealy) and then turns around and attempts to ruin his life after he spurns her.
Cuban American actor Danny Pino (TV’s Mayans M.C.) stars in a supporting role in the film. He plays Carter Haywood, Valerie’s ex-husband and local politician, who has placed a restraining order on his ex-wife after she negligently puts their daughter’s life in jeopardy.
“You lost the right to be a part of her life,” Pino’s Carter tells Valerie during a heated confrontation when she asks him to rethink custody. “If you come anywhere near my family, you’ll have a lot more to worry about than a restraining order.”
Pino sees his character as the catalyst to Valerie’s bad behavior as an officer who abuses her power to try to hurt someone. “The screws get tightened all the way through the story,” Pino tells Remezcla during an interview Friday (Dec. 18). “I think Carter is one of those screws that begins to tighten around Valerie in a big way.”
There is a power dynamic in play in every scene, Pino says. The fact that his character has custody of their daughter and can pull strings with city officials gives him the power over his family’s circumstance. Valerie has the power as a detective because she has a gun and a badge and is calling the shots. The story is believable, Pino says, because Swank’s talent affords her the ability to play vulnerable and vicious.
“Hilary is such a strong actor that she gives Valerie an intimidating presence whether she’s a victim of the attack or not,” Pino says.
Pino also says he tried to make his character grounded, so that audiences could see his actions as relatable and something they might do themselves if put in a similar situation. “When you’re dealing with your child, and something that severe is caused by somebody you once loved, it’s easy to believe that his emotions and vitriol and venom would be directed at the person responsible for that.”
Fatale is currently playing at theaters.