Alexander Nunez Shares Thoughts On His Role As Sammy In New Series “Moonshine”

Kat Harlton

Alexander Nunez is a Canadian actor and writer of Jamaican and Chilean descent starring in the new television drama series Moonshine on CBC and CBC Gem.

Alexander discovered his love for performing at the young age of 10. He would go on to train at the Professional Actors Lab in Toronto as well as Angela Besharah’s The Lighthouse Studio, where he continues to study today.

In 2014, Alexander landed his first professional role in the Disney pilot Try It. Shortly after, he was cast in his first scripted television role on the first episode of the hit CBC and Netflix series Kim’s Convenience.

To date, Alexander has amassed a significant body of work including The Bold Type (Freeform), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Avocado Toast the series (OutTV), A Teacher (FX on Hulu), In The Dark (CW), The Umbrella Academy (Netflix), Grand Army (Netflix), and Private Eyes (Global).

In addition to acting, Alexander is also a screenwriter. His writing credits include This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC), Fixing Sandra Thompson (2018) and the critically acclaimed short, Diversity Hire (2019). Diversity Hire released on October 20th at the 2019 Reelworld Film Festival and has since screened at the Toronto Short Film Festival, the International Hollywood Short Film Festival, and at the 2020 Just For Laughs Festival. Alexander is returning to Avocado Toast the series for their second season as both a writer and series regular. He is also working with Border2Border Entertainment to develop two of his own original concept series, Authentication (AMI), and Well Versed.

Alexander supports several causes that are close to his heart including Black Lives Matter, The Okra Project, and the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.

We had the opportunity to chat with Alexander about his role in Moonshine, what he’s learned along the way, and what’s next.

Kat: You portray the adopted and youngest sibling Sammy, what kind of research did you do for this role? 

Alexander: Sammy and I share very similar roles within our families, so I didn’t have to work too hard on the “stoic emotional rock” front. We’re both natural caretakers, and we both have the same sense of dry, sarcastic humour. I’ve also done tons of research on what it’s like growing up as a black or POC child in a predominantly white family β€” though I’m afraid if I get into the specifics, I might ruin some of our second season for you! I’ll leave it at that.

Musically, Sammy as a character is a tad different on screen than he was when I first received the role. He was (and still is, to some degree) written to be an excellent musician with amazing guitar skills and a knowledge of several instruments. I can’t play an instrument to save my life. So, I did spend several weeks before production frantically learning to play the guitar and forcing my co-star Tom Stevens to give me lessons! In the end, and thankfully for me, they gave most of the on-screen guitar stuff to him. 

Kat: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of your role? 

Alexander: The most challenging aspect of my role has definitely been playing the comedic foil alongside so many talented actors with such crazy characters! Our show is a drama at its core. But Moonshine also has a lighthearted feel to it, so there’s plenty of room for humour. When you’re paired in scenes with characters like Ryan (a human golden retriever), Lidia (a neurotic princess from NYC), and Rhian (a total psycho), it’s your responsibility to support them in the scene. You help set them up so that their lines really hit it out of the park. When that’s your responsibility, you can sometimes feel left out… You want to be eccentric too! It was hard to fight the urge to meet the other characters at their comedic level. But I’ve learned to love playing “the only sane one”. These days I get a huge rise out of acting exhausted by my TV siblings, giving them deadpan expressions that say “are you kidding me right now?”. That in itself is hilarious to me. 

Kat: What has been your favourite scene to shoot, and why? 

Alexander: Aaaah, so many great scenes! I loved filming the montage in episode 1, set to “Time Has Come Today” by the Chambers Brothers. The band actually played live, and I felt like a rockstar (yes, I was playing a cowbell). We were filming over the height of the pandemic in 2020, so it also gave me a little piece of what I was missing β€” concerts, bars, dancing with friends, all that. I also got to witness the very lovely Jonathan Silverman get punched in the face by Anastasia Phillips, which was hilarious (love you, Johnny!).

Kat: What do you hope the audience takes from the show? 

Alexander: I hope they have as much fun watching it as we had filming it! That’s what the show is meant to deliver: a damn good time. There are so many characters to love and relate with, and the music is killer. Moonshine is a fun ode to familial love despite dysfunction. I know we can all relate to that. 

Kat: What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2021? 

Alexander: Sleep! As I speak, we’re wrapping up production on Moonshine season 2 here in Nova Scotia. From there, I have the pleasure of jumping into production for season 2 of Avocado Toast the Series (Season 1 currently streaming on OutTV and Prime Video). But come December… SLEEP.

Connect with Alexander on Instagram!

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