During his nearly 50-year career in the film and TV industry, Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver) has worked with some of Hollywood’s best directors – from Ridley Scott to John Sayles to Gregory Nava.
Recently, Olmos got the opportunity to share the set with his son, director Michael D. Olmos, for the first time on a TV series. The pair had connected before on indie films like the 2012 music drama Filly Brown and the 2019 September 11 drama Windows on the World. This time, Michael directed his father in the fourth episode of Mayans M.C., which aired Tuesday evening on FX (May 4).
Edward said that whenever a young director like his son comes around, he enjoys watching them bring in a “new sense of values and perspective.” Rarely, has the series brought on someone new to direct an episode that didn’t excite the cast with their take on the narrative.
“New directors want to move the line and want to get [the episode] to a place where people can say, ‘Wow, [the series] has grown so much since he or she came on as director,’” Edward told Remezcla during a recent interview. “Most of the directors we get [on Mayans] are really good. That’s the key. That’s what Mikey did.”
Luckily for Michael, he had kept up with the first three seasons of the series, so stepping into his new role as director felt natural. Co-creator Elgin James even allowed him to read some of the scripts for Season 4 before the season started.
‘[Elgin] invited me to the set, too,” Michael also told Remezcla. “I hung out with him for about three weeks. I got a chance to talk about everything. This was the most prepared I could have been for anything.”
In the new season, the drama is rising for Edward’s patriarchal character Felipe Reyes. After four seasons, Edward says that “karma is catching up to him in a bad way” and is excited for viewers to see where the story goes.
“It’s been a heavy price to pay,” Edward said. “The fourth season is really dark. I think people will appreciate it because there’s so much truth in it.”
That truth, he said, has been there since the first season of Mayans. It’s been made easier to communicate since he considers his character one that isn’t weighed down by stereotypes. “You take him at the beginning of the series as being a kind and gentle soul, and as time goes on…you start to find out about his past, and you start to realize he’s probably darker than his boys,” Edward said. “[Felipe] tries very hard to be a good person, but his past catches up to him, and it gets very difficult to handle.”
Ultimately, Michael hopes he was able to capture the soul of Mayans in his episode where he got to direct his dad Edward James Olmos. He wants to take that energy to his next project, whether that’s another episode of a TV series or an independent film project. “I want to tell stories that resonate,” he said. “Usually for me, it’s something that’s grounded in emotional truth wrapped around something fantastic. Mayans is the perfect example of that. It’s a biker story with Shakespearian undertones. It’s really heightened drama.”
Mayans M.C. air Tuesdays on FX at 10 p.m. ET and streams on Hulu.