Ricky Martin Is Just Getting Started With Acting After Starring in ‘Palm Royale’

TheWrap magazine: The musician tells all about riffing with comedy greats Carol Burnett and Kristen Wiig and why he “wants to work like this forever”

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The Apple dramedy series premieres Wednesday, March 20. (Apple TV+)

With more than three decades under his belt as a musician, Ricky Martin feels like he’s just getting started in his acting digs after starring in “Palm Royale” opposite comedy greats Kristen Wiig, Carol Burnett and Laura Dern.

“I want to do a lot of acting — Maybe this is another phase in my career that I’m only starting,” Martin told TheWrap, revealing that he has several “challenging” projects lined up after the Apple TV+ dramedy series, which recently scored a Season 2 renewal.

While he admitted he could retire happily, spend time with his family and “do a tour once in a while if I feel like it,” that’s not how the “Livin’ la vida loca” singer envisions his next chapter.

“It feels like the first days in music — even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, it feels like rocket fuel at this moment of my life,” Martin said. “It’s not that everything is new, but I feel like things [are] new for me and I’m inspired, I’m motivated. I wake up and I’m thrilled about life.”

Martin stars in “Palm Royale” as Robert Diaz, a closeted gay Korean War veteran who has a close maternal relationship with the matriarch of 1960s Palm Beach high society, Norma Dellacorte (Burnett). When outsider Maxine (Wiig) arrives on the scene with an eye on Norma’s fortune, Robert is skeptical but eventually finds her relentless optimism endearing.

It’s his most prominent role since he played Antonio D’Amico, the longtime partner of Versace in Ryan Murphy’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” who faced a similar battle of hiding his sexuality as Robert. Martin sees Robert’s fear of being rejected by society as an achingly honest portrayal of what the queer community experienced in the 1960s and still experiences today.

“Even though so many years have gone by — we’re talking about 50-something years — there is a huge community that struggles with their identity and there are men and women out there that can’t accept who they are,” he said. “That’s what Robert brings into this picture: this need to be accepted, yet wanting to be quiet and not too overexposed because of the pain he’s felt in his past.”

For this reason, Martin’s performance has resonated with viewers, who have told him “Palm Royale” gave them strength to embrace their identity, or encouraged to connect more with their queer loved ones.

Alongside Robert’s journey to embrace his sexuality, “Palm Royale” is packed with all the comedy you would expect from its leads — which also includes Allison Janney, Josh Lucas, Leslie Bibb and Julia Duffy. Entering his first major comedic role with a stacked cast of legends, Martin admitted he was nervous, especially about working with Burnett. But her kindness and generousity set the tone for their characters’ companionship.

“She makes the relationship between Norma and Robert so loving,” Martin said, noting Burnett would ask him he was genuinely doing each day and was curious to learn more about his family. “She breaks those barriers, and I will be forever grateful that I had the honor to work with her.”

After studying the scripts start-to-finish, Martin wasn’t expecting improvisation to become the norm on set, but he embraced the playfulness, especially when it came to the physical humor within Burnett’s scenes, as her character was paralyzed in a coma for the majority of the first season.

“It was the day-to-day exercise that brought the show to where it’s at because of the freedom they gave us,” Martin said. “We were just having fun, like children. I want to work like this forever.”

A version of this story first ran in the Comedy Series issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine. Read more from the issue here.

Larry David photographed by Mary Ellen Matthews
Larry David photographed by Mary Ellen Matthews

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