HBO premiered its witty, acerbic new show “Camping” at a pretty-damn-posh party on the Paramount Lot in Los Angeles. Not sure if I’ve heard a bigger crowd reaction at a premiere screening, which bodes well for the Jennifer Garner-led ensemble cast and crew.
I ate many fine meats, was taller than everyone and took in the funny and at times uncomfortable first two episodes. Jon Hamm was there, the cast was there, there were huge tents and beautifully curated environs, and the DJ got it crackin’ right when it was time to crack. I sat down with series regular Arturo Del Puerto, who plays Miguel, a recently-separated from his wife human rights lawyer who falls hard for a chakra-reading DJ, played masterfully by Juliette Lewis.
We talked about working with Girls duo Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, his character’s sexual revolution, and filming with the constant threat of rattlesnakes.
The Knockturnal: So you play a character who is blindly in love…
Arturo Del Puerto: Blindly in love is actually the right way to put it
The Knockturnal: And we can all kinda relate to that. I’ve been that way. Where were you taking your inspiration from?
Arturo Del Puerto: The inspiration really came from the information. Talking to Jenni and Lena, they gave us a lot of information. It was something actually created from the inside. And also, what I got on the page gave me so many ideas that I didn’t really initially think of. And also there’s a friend that I have in Spain…I have certain similitudes to Miguel – but also my friend in Spain has certain characteristics of Miguel. So there was a little bit of him. It’s not that I played it like my friend at all, cause my friend is super nervous and super jittery. And Miguel is more like crazy and loose when he’s with Jandice.
The Knockturnal: And what was it like working with Juliette?
Arturo Del Puerto: It was great, it was fun. We had such good chemistry on set, and we just were able to get crazy with each other. It was a great experience. My character loves Jandice so much, she shows him so many aspects of his character that he didn’t even know he had inside. So it was good discovering that through the season.
The Knockturnal: You have some lines in this that really make me laugh. Some lines about eating ass. When you read the script what was your first impression?
Arturo Del Puerto:[Laughs] My character is literally going through a blind love phase where he’s discovering all this new stuff that he couldn’t do with his wife. Or that his wife wouldn’t do with him. Definitely those lines, when I read them it was like ‘I can’t wait to say this.’ [laughs] It was great.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell me about the audition process? How did you get involved with the show?
Arturo Del Puerto: So my managers and my agents, who work very hard and I’m very happy to have them, they got me the audition on a Tuesday at 7 pm. I got 11 pages of dialogue to learn. And I think the audition was the next day at 3 or something. So I didn’t have a lot of time. So I really had to crunch it in a small time frame. I really connected to the material as soon as I got it. It really just resonated with me so much that it was kind of second nature when I went to the audition. I was so relaxed and so connected to the material. I mean I guess I did great cause I got the part, obviously. Six minutes after I left the audition room my managers called me saying ‘they want to put a pin on you.’ And then two hours later the deal was closed. Normally you have to wait so much longer. You have to wait a week or a week and half. At least three or four days, you know, to book a series regular on an HBO show. That was the first time this ever happened to me, but I was so happy I didn’t have to wait. They just made it quick, like a band-aid.
The Knockturnal: Whoa you must have really killed it. I need to see that video.
Arturo Del Puerto: [Laughs] Yeah you do
The Knockturnal: This is a great ensemble cast. Did y’all do things beforehand to build chemistry?
Arturo Del Puerto: We had two weeks of table reads where we had lunch together. We got to get comfortable with each other and tell personal stories and do acting exercises. So it was good to break the ice, y’know? To get to warm to each other before we went to set. Instead of just like ‘Hi…nice to meet you. We’re supposed to be best friends.’ So it was good to have those two weeks of rehearsal. It was very gratifying.
The Knockturnal: So no trust falls or anything?
Arturo Del Puerto: [Laughs] Well, there were enough trust falls in the series. [Laughs] We had to trust each other very much.
The Knockturnal: One of my favorite scenes is when you and the other guys are fishing. Can you tell me some more about that scene?
Arturo Del Puerto: Actually that was one of my favorite days of the whole series. We shot in Lake Piru, a beautiful location. It was just the three of us just talking shit. And just having fun with the guys. Chris, Brett, David and me were just having so much fun that day. And the location was so pretty that it was just a gorgeous day. I hope it shows in the scene that we’re really having fun when we caught the fish and all that. Cause it was a fake fish, I hope it doesn’t look fake.
The Knockturnal: I didn’t know that, ha.
Arturo Del Puerto: [Laughs] Ok good! We were like ‘ooohkay you move this, I move that, we’ll make it work, don’t worry!’ [Laughs]
The Knockturnal: Yeah you fooled me!
Arturo Del Puerto: Great!
The Knockturnal: Are you a particularly outdoorsy person?
Arturo Del Puerto: Yea! I love hiking. I rescued a dog on December 30th 2017, so he’s almost a year old. And we go hiking to Griffith Park every morning. And I love going to Joshua Tree. I love playing golf, to be around nature. I’m very outdoorsy. I love water skiing, scuba diving. I love it.
The Knockturnal: So was this a little easier then? There were no particular challenges of working outside?
Arturo Del Puerto: Ehhh no. The most challenging thing is the dust. It’s so dry and there’s so many people and so much equipment moving around that there’s a dust lifted in the area. All your orifices, when you take a shower you have dust everywhere my friend. So that was the biggest challenge of shooting outside. It wasn’t that hot cause it wasn’t summer. We were shooting March, April, May. So we didn’t get the 110-degree weather up there in Santa Clarita. For me, it mostly was the dust.
The Knockturnal: Just looking at it you can picture bugs crawling up your leg.
Arturo Del Puerto: There weren’t that many bugs. Mostly rattlesnakes. We had a wrangler named Marco, he goes around the perimeter looking for rattlesnakes. One day I think he found 20 rattlesnakes. I only saw one, one day. Maybe he was thinking ‘Oh I just found 20 rattlesnakes today, it’s fine! You guys just keep on playing pretend.’ [Laughs]
The Knockturnal: What was it like working with Lena and Jenni?
Arturo Del Puerto: It was awesome. We had so much fun on set and they have so much fun together. It all translated. Sometimes we’d be shooting and they’d come up to us with a different suggestion for the scene or something. So it was really gratifying to work with such talented people.
The Knockturnal: And they were really hands-on?
Arturo Del Puerto: Yeah! Jenni was always on set, Lena was coming and going cause she was also writing, so she was also in New York. But they were both there 100 percent for sure.
The Knockturnal: Was there anything unique about working with HBO?
Arturo Del Puerto: Well, it’s HBO. That’s what’s unique. They do the best stuff. I always wanted to work with HBO since I moved to Los Angeles. That was one of my goals, be a series regular on an HBO show. So I projected it and it happened my friend. So let’s hope my other projections happen, too.
The Knockturnal: [Laughs] Exactly. We gotta know what those are. Or you could just keep em.
Arturo Del Puerto: I’ll keep em for now. [Laughs]
The Knockturnal: You’ve worked on a lot of projects where there’s a lot of guns. Fear of the Walking Dead, Independence Day. But it’s this show where you get shot!
Arturo Del Puerto: Well I also got shot in Ride Along 2 by Kevin Hart. Not the first time I’ve been shot. And in this one, I got shot with a BB gun so it wasn’t that bad. But it was interesting to be on the other end cause normally I’m the one shooting the people. Or killing the people.
The Knockturnal: You must have been cursed this time!
Arturo Del Puerto: [Laughs]
Camping premieres October 14th at 10 PM.