"We're colorful and contradict ourselves," 'A Million Little Things' Christina Ochoa on playing bold women
Christina shares with us her insights on what makes AMLT different from all the other friendship dramas, and how even in the current climate - she is optimistic about Hollywood.
ABC's new drama, 'A Million Little Things' is set to premiere on Wednesday. A classic buddy-drama revolving around friendship, love, support and tight bonds, the show highlights how a suicide affects those near and dear to the deceased.
Working along the basic mantra of "everything happens for a reason," the show - starring David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco, Allison Miller, Christina Moses, Christina Ochoa, James Roday, Grace Park, Stéphanie Szostak and Lizzy Greene - is about a search for the reason behind one of their friends' suicide.
As expected, there are dark secrets and twisted truths leading up to what looks like a promising season ahead, and as cast member Christina Ochoa would like to assure us, despite being compared to hit shows like 'This Is Us', she feels the comparison in itself is a big win for those involved with AMLT. In a candid chat, the Spanish actress who has also excelled as an author and as a marine biologist, shares with us her insights on what makes AMLT different from all the other popular friendship dramas, and how even in the current climate - she is optimistic about Hollywood.
Here are some excerpts of her conversation with MEAWW.
Your upcoming show – 'A Million Little Things' – is about to release soon; tell us a little bit about the show.
It’s a one hour drama centered around a group of friends who reevaluate their life choices when one of them unexpectedly commits suicide.
It’s been quite a long time since the topic of adult friendships has been explored on TV shows; what was your experience like working on one? Did you have a chance at making tight bonds behind the scenes too?
Every member of this cast has brought something unexpected and magical to their roles... it’s hard not to be in awe of their work. Yes, we’ve definitely connected and I have to say, not just the cast; the crew is also very much a part of that energy!
Tell us a little bit about your character, Ashley. How similar, or different are you from her in real life?
Ash is very different from anyone I’ve ever played, and from myself. She’s measured, careful with her words, and I’d say confused in many ways. I’ve usually played strong, impulsive, bold women. With Ash, there’s a softness and a despair I wanted to tap into. She also doesn’t wear her emotions and thoughts on her sleeves... that’s very fun for me to play.
The trailer made me nostalgic. It reminded me of One Tree Hill. How do you feel about the possibility of a comparison with shows like those? What do you think sets A Million Little Things apart?
We’ve been getting a lot of ‘training’ on what to say when asked about those comparisons (Parenthood, This is Us, Big Chill, etc). “Here’s how to set the show apart...” which is fine, but the truth is, it’s a huge compliment when they compare AMLT to ones that left a mark and tapped into the emotions of an audience as successfully as the shows we’re compared to! I’m grateful for them paving the way so that the public WANTS to watch shows about human emotions, relationships, and timely topics that affect us all. If we get half the love the audiences felt for them, I’d consider it a huge win.
You’re also an author and a marine biologist. Was it difficult for you to change paths from them to the showbiz industry?
I worked as a science communicator but not as a scientist, and although I studied Marine biology (and it will ALWAYS be my first love), given my filming schedules these last few years, I work more as an ambassador/advocate than anything else in that field... BUT, science and art are not that different. Curiosity, thinking outside the box, being open-minded and being able to change course when presented with new data; that’s all in a day’s work on set as well.
How similar or different was playing this role from your previous roles on shows like Animal Kingdom and Blood Drive?
I love playing Renn on 'Animal Kingdom'. We just finished airing Season 3 and I’m excited to see how her story plays out next year. I will always have a soft spot for her, her relationship with Craig (played brilliantly by Ben Robson) and John Wells for welcoming me to that family. 'Blood Drive' was, to date, the most fun I’ve ever had on set and is the one to beat in my book as far as experiences go. I laughed for 8 months straight with those lovely, talented & crazy human beings.
You’ve also consistently performed in rather bold, dramatic roles. Is that a conscious choice or was it a coincidence? What is your personal preference when it comes to acting roles and genres?
I like playing roles that show the subtleties and nuances that women have in real life. We’re colorful and we contradict ourselves. Show me that on screen. I do make a concerted effort to play strong women and make sure their confidence always comes from high-level competence, not from external circumstances and superficial factors. I like playing women who are good at what they do and take hold in that to overcome their obstacles.
If you weren’t an actor, what alternate profession would you be in, and why?
Wildlife photographer. Travel + Animals + Storytelling all in one? C’mon!
As a Spanish actress, how do you feel about the representation and/or discrimination if there are any within the industry? Have you ever felt it yourself? Do you consider it more challenging for you?
I guess I don’t really identify with any characters currently portrayed in TV… so that’s one aspect. There aren’t any Spanish characters that I can think of. Latin ones, yes, but I also don’t feel like I’ve been strongly discriminated against. Perhaps because I don’t have an accent and generally ignore types/ethnicities when looking at a role unless that’s an integral part of their story. I’m proud of the recent push in diversity and yes, we have a long way to go in the industry, but I also know so many people behind that initiative – fighting the good fight for inclusion in all forms – that I’m optimistic about where Hollywood is currently headed.
Is 'A Million Little Things' going to be filled with plot twists? What is one aspect viewers should look out the most for? What does your character’s arc look Like?
Every week, we will get new information on these characters that will turn your prior opinion of them on its head. Be ready.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’re thrilled about? Tell us a little bit about them.
My new partnership with Oceana, as well as some projects I’m developing, are my main focus outside of work at the moment. Hopefully I will be able to share more specifics with you on that soon.