Danny Ramirez: "I'm the best FIFA 2020 player on the planet"
Top Gun: Maverick star Danny Ramirez on the joy of a phone call, the need to make a proper football film – "We can’t be sitting around with the world’s greatest sport and keep failing it" – and the thing that makes him sweat...
The athlete turned actor can reel off a list of names from across both fields, listing everyone from Aryton Senna to Judi Dench.
That's the kind of mentality we all need to get through lockdown.
The Top Gun: Maverick star also talks about the joy of the good old-fashioned phone call, dream lockdown partner Ariana Grande (fair), and even throws in a Shakespeare reference to boot.
Our kinda guy...
What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?
Excited is a gross understatement. I’m losing my mind about everyone finally getting to watch Top Gun: Maverick. It’s especially hard to wait any longer knowing just how truly shocked everyone will be at how Director Joseph Kosinski, Cinematographer Claudio Miranda, Writer Christopher McQuarrie and Man-Myth-and-Legend Tom Cruise, were able to create and capture the drama in dynamic flight sequences. There’s little more I can say without spoiling. Just make sure you’re safely strapped in.
There’s also another massive barrier breaking project I can’t quite announce yet that I’m stoked about. You’ll find out soon enough. I’ll be shouting it from the roof tops.
No seriously, I can’t say. I’d have to kill you… Yup, I actually would have to. It’s in my contract. “If by any means you leak information on this project, it is your responsibility to terminate those who know” Section 4 paragraph 16. Sorry. It’s not personal.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I think making my first student loan payment haha! There are some career milestones that I’m incredibly proud of like having my first true film experience, Assassination Nation get into Sundance or filming scenes on Top Gun, while soaring through the skies. But that first payment after years of hustling was a moment I’ll never forget.
If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
Easy. Assassination Nation not being seen by as many eyeballs that should have seen it. A modern tragedy. You all can still stream it online. It’ll still sting but you know, better late than never.
Besides that? Not a damn thing. It’s been wonderful and awful and fun and stressful and exhilarating and fulfilling and all the ands I could ask for.
What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?
Too many things. I want to act, direct, write, produce, develop, find, adapt and inspire stories from all walks of life. For the most part things I don’t know yet. I’m discovering and searching every single day so I’d be bold face lying to you if I answered that question with any sense of certainty.
Wait... Here’s something certain though: We need to finally nail a proper football (soccer - for my American brethren) film. We can’t be sitting around with the world’s greatest sport and keep failing it. It’s inexcusable.
Beyond that, I’d say stay tuned. We’ll both find out around the same time.
Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?
Biggest single inspiration is impossible to answer so I’ll restructure.
Before acting, my entire identity revolved around being an athlete. The foundations of my work ethic and pursuit to be one of the best at whatever I do comes from icons like, Michael Jordan, Ayrton Senna, Kobe Bryant, Sean Taylor, Zidane and Messi.
Which translated to having inspirations in the performing arts with a similar obsessive pursuit for working at their craft. Alejandro Inarittu, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo Del Toro, Meryl Streep, Mark Rylance, Nicole Kidman, Christian Bale, Viola Davis, Daniel Day Lewis, Judi Dench, Will Smith, Tom Cruise (don’t tell him), Leo DiCaprio, Brando, Arthur Miller, Denzel and Laura Dern. To name a few…
I’ve never come from a place of having one person be my inspiration, I’ve tried and will continue to steal something from each. Oh, also - Greta Thunberg! She inspires me on the daily. A legend.
Tell us something nobody knows about you…
Even the thought of spicy food makes my face sweat. I enjoy eating it but even the mildest spice gets my body to react. Am I allergic? Possibly. Who’s to say.
How are you finding lockdown?
Well, I think I’ve found it. For sure. It’s been found. And it’s not too bad actually.
I initially hit the wall after a week or so. I had recently flown back to LA from my first time filming/ever being in Europe - I was extremely jet-lagged and everything was miserable. But once I flipped my sleep schedule, I’ve been able to regain some of my sanity through sheer structure.
Obviously throughout these long days, there are times I feel like a mouse in an experiment and other times that I feel like it’s a normal day indoors.
It all depends on what show or film I most recently watched. Westworld season 2 for instance, really jacked me up for a few days.
Best thing about lockdown?
Being able to watch as many films I want to a day without pressure. Turns out, one film is a necessity, two is my emotional max, three is my “this day doesn’t count, you must consume everything” max and luckily, I haven’t hit four movies in one day during this quarantine yet.
Also, FIFA 2020. I’m pretty sure I’m the best player on the planet. Who’s to say? I am to say.
Worst thing about lockdown?
Lack of human interactions. I love people more than anything. People watching, hugging, cuddling, high fives, making a beast with two backs (AYO! Snuck in a Shakespeare reference only cause you’re UK based and I’m immature) and spending time in the presence of others. That’s been the hardest thing to adapt to.
As a citizen of the world it is our duty to be as responsible as we can during this moment. It is incredibly tough but of the absolutely utmost importance. Knowing that if we bunker down a few more months, an immeasurable amount of lives can be saved is what keeps me from becoming too negative about having to stay indoors during this time.
Top tip for surviving lockdown?
I’ve said this 10 times this week and I’ll say it again… phone calls.
Now before you say “FACETIME”. Let me state my case.
On the phone, you can at least close your eyes and imagine that your friends, family and loved ones are in the room. If you FaceTime, you might as well be Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar, the other person could be a million miles away.
I don’t think you should stop FaceTiming, I do it all the time. I just think giving an old-fashioned phone call might really help but what do I know I bought my first plants, just to have something to take care of.
If you could be locked down with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?
Ariana Grande. Have you heard her voice? I think having someone that could sing like that would make this quarantine experience so much easier and then maybe who knows… we could fall in love? But let’s take things slow and see where it leads.
God, this is embarrassing am I actually going to submit this? Eh. We’re in a quarantine. Fuck it. This will only come back to haunt me if she ever reads it… which in that case means she knows about me…
Also as an alternate answer, I’d like to nominate: Don, Carole’s husband from Tiger King. Ask him once and for all what went down. Is he living in Costa Rica or did he become tiger chow? I need answers. I think he’s alive and will argue that point with any takers.
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
I’m looking forward to traveling out to Miami to see my mom and my sister to give them a big ol’ hug ‘cause I miss them dearly.
Then going to the beach or a park or literally anywhere with my closest friends.
Then returning back to a set - there is no place more magical and chaotic!
THEN, grabbing a cup of coffee with someone, anyone!
THENNNN! watching LIVE sporting events. F1, College Football, NFL, Premier League, Champions League, NBA, literally anything… except baseball!!
THENNNNNNN, putting on something nice and going out to a dinner and catching a film in a packed movie theater. Laughing with hundreds of people, crying with hundreds of people, being with hundreds of people.
One final note: thank you so much to all the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, bus drivers, janitors and all other essential workers that are making a difference day in and day out. All across the world. You all are modern day heroes and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.