Exclusive: Julio Macias Speaks More on Netflix’s ‘On My Block,’ Not Being Typecast, and Showing Range as an Actor

Exclusive: Julio Macias Speaks More on Netflix's 'On My Block,' Not Being Typecast, and Showing Range as an Actor

On My Block is returning to Netflix for its fourth and final season. The fourth season will focus on the East LA crew and their struggles to make friends as they navigate high school’s final year and the transition from teenager to young adulthood. Since last season, there have been many changes.

The Netflix series follows four friends who balance high school and life. Fans have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, both triumphant and tragic, throughout the series. Julio Macias played Oscar. He was trying out a new life away from gang life when season 3 ended. Macias tells Popculture.com that Oscar will be given a second chance this season.

The show has proven to be a breakout role for Macias, who has since gone on to star in the Selena series, also on Netflix. Macias also discusses his time on the show, how he picked his roles and what he is currently working on.

PC: How excited are you for the fourth season of On My Block

JM: I’m very excited. It’s five years in the making. I’m excited for everyone to see their destinations.

PC: Season 4 will begin two years after season 3, which is a considerable gap. Cesar and your character were almost trading places by the end of season 3. He was the leader among the Santo’s. After a happy marriage, you entered into fatherhood. Can you give the audience an overview of the relationships within the group without going into too many details about Season 4? 

JM. The real ones will be the ones who have stuck with you since the beginning. That group changes over time, and it evolves. Sometimes, people you thought were closest to you in elementary or middle school can suddenly feel distant. Personally, I like the place they are at. You still feel the love and affection they share for each other at the beginning of season 4. Oscar is more than being known as “Spooky” now. He is trying to get rid of as much of it as possible.

PC: What I love about Oscar’s growth is the progression of his transition. It’s not often explored on TV. It is true that art can imitate life, and some people work hard to escape this lifestyle. What do you hope viewers will see about your character development for this season? 

JM. I am excited for people, too, to witness that exploration. Some people choose to live this life out of necessity, fear, or a sense of cultural duty. These groups were created first and foremost to protect the community. They could have evolved into violent and criminal organizations. It’s been decades of this culminating. At first, it was just a matter of ‘The cops aren’t going after me in my neighborhood. We have to police our communities. This is how it begins. You have to have this history. It’s sold that way for certain people. Oscar is one of those people. You see many people who get the most out of life. They say, “Blood in and blood out.” But others stay in and continue their lives. These organizations are more like, “All right, you did your time. Now you can live your life.” Others remain involved and work to fix problems. Oscar thinks it’s effortless. He remembers Santo’s time. He now wants to live his life. Is he worthy of a second chance at life? We don’t know. But he is determined to win it.

PC: People form emotional connections with these characters. The show won’t last forever. Is it your opinion that viewers will be satisfied with how the show ends?

JM: Some fans will be thrilled with how the show ends, and others will be saying, “Well, I would’ve done it differently.” As an actor and participant on the show, I can only tell the truth about what’s on the page. And I believe that the writers, who did an incredible job with the first three seasons, will wrap it up in a way that makes the characters feel right. I think that fans will be pleased. I feel we are ending on solid notes. It is a bit sad that we are ending our show, but not enough to wish it would. I do wish shows like ours had a longer shelf life. I would love to see more shows with a longer shelf life and tackle the same issues. We also continue to do so with humor, entertainment, and humor.

PC: That’s a great point. I think the show is very popular with viewers. It fills a niche within the target audience because of its storyline. What do you feel like On My Block has contributed to the culture?

JM: My wife tells me all the time that it’s a blessing to be able to play the role of Oscar. It will be a role that people remember for a long time. That goes for my character as well as the entire show. These were the issues that were being tackled by late 80s and 90s shows. However, even back then, not everyone was ready to embrace this idea fully. We now know that people are passionate about this and spread the word all over the globe. I think it’s fantastic because these shows are because of how many people responded to On My Block that companies see similar shows are worth the investment. It’s time to support Black and Brown stories more. While I am proud of my show, I am even more proud of the people who supported it and said, We want more of that.’

PC: When you first entered the show, did you feel nervous about being typecast. Exclusive: Julio Macias Speaks More on Netflix's 'On My Block,' Not Being Typecast, and Showing Range as an Actor

JM: Absolutely. I think that was one of the biggest reasons why I did Selena right after this. It ensured that people knew I was an actor and that I was playing an acting role. I wasn’t just going to play the Mexican stereotype. It was a strange sense of what my parents had told me growing up that I felt when I auditioned for the show. This is what I believe to be the truth. My parents brought my sister and me from Mexico to help us have a better lifestyle, to keep us from all the troubles and problems in Mexico. They protected us from many things and wanted us to do better. My mom said to me that I wanted my career as an actor. We’re educators. We are more than stereotypes. For a long time, I thought that was it. It was then that I fell in love with the script and the one scene with Oscar on the beach with Ceasar and Ceasar. Then I thought, “Yo, he’s doing it for his brother,” and this led me to a spiral of reframing the story. I did my research. When I became curious about American culture and found an American movement, I was hooked. Although I was afraid of being typecast, I realized that I could play a role that wasn’t the stereotypical thug. Exclusive: Julio Macias Speaks More on Netflix's 'On My Block,' Not Being Typecast, and Showing Range as an Actor

PC: What are your following plans? What are other projects currently in your pipeline? 

JM. I’ll be doing some voiceover work for another animated series. My goal as an actor to be a chameleon is to not stick with one thing. However, whatever the thing, whatever my job, I’m doing it to its best. And that’s what I want people to see.

Season 4 of On My Block is available on Netflix beginning Oct. 4.

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