Wilmer Valderrama is a sentimental guy. He has the text Robert Rodriguez sent him telling him that he’d handcrafted a role for him in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series framed and hanging on a wall. “It’s been my dream to work with Robert since 1995 when Desperado made accents really cool, which helped my upbringing,” Valderrama says. “If you had an accent as strong as Antonio [Banderas]‘ back then, it was either really tough, or eventually when the movie came out, it was really awesome.”
When Valderrama arrived in Austin, Texas to begin filming the series — which airs its season 1 finale May 20 at 9 p.m. ET on Rodriguez’s El Rey Network — he hadn’t read a script and had no idea he’d be playing criminal overlord/vampire Carlos Madrigal. “I went to the wardrobe department, and I put on this long leather trench coat, and I looked at Nina [Proctor], who is the guru of all of Robert Rodriguez’s wardrobe, and I said, ‘So, important question: What am I playing? She goes, ‘You don’t know? Robert never tells anyone anything. You are one of our main villains.’ I said, ‘What? Excuse me?’ Because it’s so not the meeting that I had had with him. It came out of nowhere,” Valderrama says, laughing. “I said, ‘Okay, cool. Let’s rock ‘ roll,’ and 24 hours later, I was putting on a three-piece suit with leather gloves and walkin’ around in a very, very eccentric way.”
The season finale finds Carlos in a climactic clash with the Gecko Brothers, Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richie (Zane Holtz). Far less dangerous, EW put Valderrama in the hot seat for our Pop Culture Personality Test. He confesses his unconventional first celebrity crush, his go-to karaoke song (which also helped him learn English), the movie he always quotes, and his most prized pop culture possession.