Interview With Actor Eric Aragon, “Pumpkin Pie Wars”

By Ruth on October 30, 2016 in Halloween, Holidays, Interview, movie, television, Thanksgiving
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While I am cognizant of the fact that the “Christmas Countdown” films are upon us already, and this year’s “Fall Harvest” films are but a memory on the treasured Hallmark network, due to technological glitches, I was unable to interview Eric Aragon, a new addition to the Hallmark family, before Pumpkin Pie Wars aired. However, he and I chatted fairly recently, and the conversation was brimming with his story (and the unearthing my wealth of knowledge concerning social media, actors, etc.). Before you turn the calendar over to the month of November and bid a fond farewell to the autumn films of this year, please consider reading through this newsy and fun dialogue I had with Eric about his career and his work on this beloved autumnal film.
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RH: I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Pumpkin Pie Wars

EA: I’ve only heard from my family, so it’s kind of hard to know what’s real and what’s not.

Well, our family loved the film, but I have also heard from the fans. I asked if anyone had questions for you, and I got no real questions.  Fans kept saying, “It’s our favorite of the fall movies.” It was very well-liked. I think it was a fun story because it wasn’t just the same story over and over again. This one was a little bit different. 

Well, that makes me happy.

I know that you had a fan question sent in, so let’s start with that one. What is your story about how you became an actor?

I didn’t really start acting and taking it seriously until later in my life when I was about twenty-eight. Really, it was by chance. I wanted to be a firefighter or a police officer ’cause I come from that background. But I went out one night with some of my buddies, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and told me about a reality show I should look into. I said, “I don’t know about that stuff.”   But she called me in, and I went in, and we literally had the casting at the bar. I got the job, and they flew me to Cancun, Mexico. When I was there, I fell in love with production and how everybody worked as a team. And I thought to myself, “This is like what I had envisioned for myself since I planned on working with a team of people having a very similar goal. ” And I made that choice for my life. I was going to be an actor.

So what was this reality show that you were on?

I don’t even remember the name. It was an MTV spring break reality TV show where they mixed real world and real rules for just a couple of weeks–that kind of thing. It was a competition, so I was eliminated after the first day. But I enjoyed it, and I got a chance to hang out with everybody. I wasn’t in front of the camera for the rest of the time, but I did get to stay in Cancun for almost two weeks. So after that, you say, “Of course, I’m gonna be an actor. That’s what I want to do.”

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-1-10-03-pm-1So after that, what kind of training or classes did you get for acting?

In the past year, I’ve been very heavily focused on my training. Prior to that, I did take a bunch of acting workshops. I’m from Miami, but it’s really a commercial-based market, so there wasn’t much opportunity to really act. I mean they had some theaters out there. They did have some shows that would come in, and when they did, I would go after them. And if I booked them, I booked them. But it was always small parts. And it wasn’t until I did The Perfect Wedding, which was an independent feature, that I started to get noticed. That was my first time actually acting, but I still didn’t have any real thorough training. But I recently moved to Los Angeles, and I thought that if I was going to take this seriously, I had to be at the same level as everybody else that’s doing this. So it’s been about a year of really hard, intense training.

I don’t recognize a lot of the works you’ve been in, but since you were mainly a regional actor, that makes sense. But you mentioned The Perfect Wedding. I saw that listed. What can you tell us about that role and movie?

I was the lead role in that film. It’s a romantic comedy, and it took place during the holidays. After that, you wouldn’t recognize much of my work. That film is pretty much the most-recognized work I’ve done to date. I was on a sitcom called I Live With Models. That was for Comedy Central UK. I don’t expect anybody to know who I am, to be honest. When I hear positive feedback from my family, I think that’s great. They know what I’ve done, but nobody else really does. I think it’s so special that anyone wants to ask me questions, and I’ll answer them happily.

img_4683Well, that fills in the details a bit for me. One of the things I love about Hallmark is that they give unknown actors the chance to do something. You don’t always see that, and a lot of the other networks want the big names. When I looked over the cast for Pumpkin Pie Wars, it didn’t have a big star like Candace Cameron Bure or Lori Loughlin or someone well-known. So I thought it was cool that you had this opportunity. 

Me too. In fact, when we got the call, my agent said, “Do you know anything about Pumpkin Pie Wars?” And I said, “Pumpkin Pie Wars? I’ve never heard of Pumpkin Pie Wars in my life.” And once we found out it was coming through Hallmark, we jumped at it. “Absolutely! Let’s just go for it!” And I’m glad we did ’cause I can see that Hallmark has a huge fan base. I can see that they’re very loyal and good people. So to be a part of something like that, I feel blessed. I feel very, very lucky for that. And I hope that I can continue growing with Hallmark. That would be really nice.  But yeah, I was super lucky to be a part of this project. But eating pumpkin pie wears me out!

So how did you get the role in Pumpkin Pie Wars?

Actually, there was no audition whatsoever. Somebody at Hallmark had seen The Perfect Wedding at a film festival.  They put me on their mind until something came up, and when something did came up, they thought, “What about Eric for the lead?” I believe that’s the short story of it. They reached out to my agent, and I was available and happy to take it on. So it just fell in my lap. I wish I had a crazy story like this was my tenth audition for this role, but I didn’t have to do that.

14711064_1384282394916979_6646600118139864722_oNo, that is a really cool story. I’ve heard the crazy stories. I’ve heard the more normal stories.  It’s really neat that they reached out to you and you didn’t have to go through all the auditioning. There are many actors who want to do more with Hallmark. They go in for auditions, and they don’t always get the roles they would like. 

I talk to a lot of my actor friends, and they ask, “How was it?” And I feel bad ’cause it just kinda came to me. I didn’t have to go through the struggle. And it creates a lot of jealousy because I didn’t have to go through the struggle. I’m sure there’s going to be more. I had to audition in the past. I had struggles with the sitcom. I had to go through several castings.  In LA, acting is just a challenging business. But I would like to have all of my opportunities come this way. “Are you available?” “Yes, I am.”

{laughs} Yeah, unfortunately they all probably won’t come to you that way.

Yeah, they won’t.

I didn’t look this up. Where did they film Pumpkin Pie Wars?

All of it was shot in Vancouver.

Your co-star–

Yes, Julie Gonzalo.

I had not heard of her prior to this. I don’t think she’s a big name, but I could be wrong.

Yes, I didn’t know who she was either. In fact, I didn’t know that she was a “somebody.” My sister had mentioned it. I think we were shooting the first week, and I posted a picture of me and Julie together on set. And my sister was freaking out. “Oh my gosh, I saw her in Freaky Friday! She’s huge!” And I know she was also on a show called Dallas.

What was the atmosphere like during the filming of this movie?

I don’t know if it’s just the Canadian people, but they were really kind and welcoming. I thought maybe it was just a Hallmark thing, but I think it’s a Canadian thing. Everyone smiles or laughs. Just a very pleasant atmosphere. The director {Steven R. Monroe} was always making a joke. He’s a very funny guy. Then we had a great executive producer, Michael Larkin, who was the overseer to make sure everything was going in line. Once in awhile he would step up and put his two cents in, but everyone seemed to work really well as a team. I felt really supported from the network all the way down to the smaller PA’s who were just starting out. Vancouver seems to be so busy that they’re willing to train practically anyone to be a PA. So everybody from the top to the bottom made me feel at ease. I loved it.

So is baking something you do in your spare time?

No, I don’t. I’ve baked before, but I’m not really a baker. I think the best dish I can create is crepes.

14670803_10157580098765313_1468886230967201090_nWell, you played this guy that definitely seems to know his way around the kitchen, so I was just curious. 

That is not my field. I can make a good smoothie. But they did teach me how to crack an egg with one hand. That is now my “go-to.” If anybody asks, “Can you show me something?” Give me an egg, and I’ll show you that.

Are there any interesting behind-the-scenes stories you’d like to share?

Everyone got along great, so there was no heavy drama behind the scenes. I know that Julie did something very, very nice. Towards the last week of filming, she rented a coffee/smoothie-making truck, and the guy literally showed up on set with this truck and offered coffee to everybody and anybody on set compliments of Julie. I was so shocked, but in a good way. She didn’t have to do that, but I took it as a lesson. Maybe the higher I go, I should try to top that. Maybe I should bring a taco truck. Maybe I should bring in Chef Ramsey.

Yeah, probably not Chef Ramsey on Hallmark{laughs} If it’s Lifetime, you might be able to get away with that. But not Hallmark. Well, that’s really neat. I hear stories like that from time to time. I’ve heard great stories about Hallmark and Canada in general.

They were just so friendly from the driver picking me up at the airport on the first day and how easy it was to have a conversation with him. And how much he offered to help me. He even gave me his phone number and said, “If you need anything, let me know.” He was sincere about it. It left me with this feeling that they’re just good people.

Well, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that there are a lot of good people in the entertainment business. {pause} What you said about Hallmark fans is true also. You will find them to be incredibly loyal once they make a connection with you.

I’ve been impressed. When I first got hired for the project, word started spreading through my family. And then people started saying, “Oh my gosh, I love that channel! I love the movies of the week.” Hallmark is huge! And I didn’t realize how big it was. Hallmark greeting cards, okay. Hallmark movies. My mom has been so supportive. She had a party at the house during the premiere. She’s been sending me picture texts of what people have been writing to her. Someone has sent me a gift basket with pumpkin pie cookies, a Starbucks pumpkin latte, ground pumpkin coffee card, and it just keeps going on and on.

That is great. Hallmark fans are also great when they find a fan-friendly actor. They feel like the person is just a normal human being and they can send them a tweet and get a response which is just great.

I hope I can keep that up forever. I’m still new to the social media and “celebrity” thing, so I don’t know what it’s like to be bombarded if you’re having lunch or something like that, but I can see someone appreciating your work and being able to say “thank you.” I hope I can use social media to my advantage and reach out to a lot of people at once. I’ve never personally messaged a celebrity of any kind, whether it’s a politician or an entertainer, to say what I think, so I don’t know if anyone takes it personally if you don’t respond. I hope not. I definitely want to do my best to respond. I like instagram and I’m pretty good at it. I like pictures.

img_4579So do you have any other upcoming works you can mention?

I don’t know the air date. There’s a show on CBS called The Inspectors. It’s a cool show. I think it’s probably geared towards young teenage boys and girls. I’m on one episode, and I play a bad guy. That’s nice for a change.  It’s a cool show, and it’s funded by the postal service. So whatever money they gather from people committing crimes and such, rather than creating brochures, they decided to create a TV show. And so they funded the entire show based on that. {He’s on episode 14 of Season 2 called “Bribe and Prejudice.” The show airs on Saturdays on CBS. For more information, including what episode they are currently airing, click here.}

There’s also a Lifetime movie that should be coming out next year called Boyfriend Killer. I got to work with Kate Mansi. There are a lot more actors in the film, but I only worked with Kate. And I believe that the producers are making Girlfriend Killer as we speak.

It’s great to finally be getting some recognition for my work instead of just doing small stuff that no one notices. It’s a different feeling. Not that I’m getting a big head or anything. It’s just nice that people know who I am and want to support my career.

There is also something out in film festivals now called Fame Dogs. It’s not available for everyone to see at this point. I have never been a producer nor been on that side of having to raise money, and I really don’t have any desire at this point to do that. I’ve only been to one film festival, and I think that was a lot of fun to go from one movie to the next. I love independent films. I prefer them to the big studio projects. It’s only because the studio projects have their own agenda, and that’s what they’re making their movies for. As a viewer, I prefer a good story, and those don’t seem to come out of the studios as much.

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While Eric’s involvement in the movie/TV industry has been sparse at this point, he seems to have found his passion and is investing everything into the fulfillment of said dream. Thankfully, Eric is making the right decisions and advancing his career through effective and fervent actor training, and I believe that he is right on the brink of “stardom.” Although Eric is a virtual unknown, the fact that he has been cast in such a fan-favorite film makes his tale even more prodigious. Eric is decidedly at ease on camera and quite willing to glean as much as he can from others through the art of active listening. At one point, it was as though he were interviewing me, but in so doing, I was able to give him copious food for thought. In turn, he demonstrated through his candid, grounded, and witty responses that he is a versatile actor who takes his craft soberly but enjoys every minute of it. Not only that, but Eric is the kind of human being who is as down-to-earth as they come, and I highly salute him for that. As he is finally being cast in meatier roles, I believe we have only just begun to see the prowess of Eric Aragon, and I can only hope that Hallmark and other networks will see the genuine spirit, heart and soul that are a viable part of his innermost being that he so willingly shares on the screen and in his daily life. Eric is an actor who can cause the art of character portrayal to appear effortless, and in so doing, he has baffled those around him with his innate skill, inbred charm, and unpretentious nature. I would invite all of you to look up Pumpkin Pie Wars if you never have had the opportunity to view it. But I would also request that you follow Eric on the links below as I am convinced in the weeks and months to come, the name Eric Aragon will become associated with everything wholesome, jubliant, and profound.

FOLLOW ERIC

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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