Tyler Alvarez, who co-stars in the new Netflix comedy “Blockbuster,” said that the cast didn’t see it as ironic for the streaming giant to make a show about a business that died partly because of Netflix.
“I think [the show] is a homage to Blockbuster,” Alvarez, 25, told The Post. “I think it’s a love letter to that time, and it’s a love letter to movies. That’s what it means to me, and for all of us involved in making it. We stayed accurate to the uniform in the costumes. We wanted to portray it accurately.”
Now streaming, the workplace comedy was created by Vanessa Ramos (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and revolves around the employees of the last remaining Blockbuster video rental store in the world.
There’s manager Timmy (Randall Park); Eliza (Melissa Fumero), who is recently separated from her husband and is also Timmy’s longtime crush; eccentric Connie (Olga Merediz); ditzy Hannah (Madeline Arthur); and Carlos Herrera (Alvarez), an immigrant who learned English by watching movies and dreams of being the next Quentin Tarantino.
“The show has a lot of heart and it’s hysterical,” said Alvarez. “I enjoyed everyone [in the cast] but especially Madeline, since we’re around the same age. We connected and formed an amazing friendship. We’re planning on going to Europe just for a little trip; we’re traveling together at the top of next year. I also think Melissa [Fumero] is like a cool older sister.”
Alvarez, who grew up in The Bronx and is Cuban and Puerto Rican American, said he could relate to his character’s backstory.
“He’s dealing with his parents being immigrants, and my dad is an immigrant. I’m familiar with the pressure that immigrant parents put on their children, which is something that Carlos deals with,” he said.
He said he could also relate to his character because they both identify as queer. “But what I liked about Carlos specifically was that it didn’t define him. I find with a lot of queer characters, their queerness defines their storyline,” he said. “But with this, it’s just a piece of who he was. Carlos is also a filmmaker, and so am I. I love what I do, and that passion for his dreams is something that I find relatable.
“A lot of my friends are in careers that they’re not necessarily happy with. That’s something Carlos is dealing with. He’s studying to become an accountant and is like, ‘Should I stay the course or do something I love?’ I think that’s a question every human being has to ask at some point. ‘Do I go for what sets my heart on fire, or do I go with what’s safe, and what I know is secure?’ I find that dilemma to be very interesting, especially at this age.”
Alvarez, who is also known for “American Vandal” and “Orange is the New Black,” said he has childhood memories of visiting Blockbuster.
“I remember renting video games, and the candy. Those are the things that stick out to me,” he said. “I remember it being a hot summer day, and going to the Blockbuster in Washington Heights, and the air conditioning hits you in the face — and the excitement of picking out a movie, and the competition of who will pick it out and narrowing it down.”