Actor Adam Rodriguez chats about his new role on the FOX sitcom, “The Goodwin Games.” (Photo/Getty Images)

Adam Rodriguez on surprising fans with new TV comedy “The Goodwin Games”

Adam Rodriguez is a hunk Latino audiences just can’t get enough of. Whether in character as a brooding detective on the highly popular CBS series “CSI: Miami” or as a stripper in the smash hit “Magic Mike,” Rodriguez has a knack for delivering a great performance every time. And if history is any indication, fans should clear Monday nights for “The Goodwin Games,” a brand-new comedy on FOX with Rodriguez bringing the laughs as an oh-so-hot math professor.

Read on for our one-on-one with the 38-year-old Puerto Rican-Cuban actor, who gave us the details about showing off his comedic side, returning to film and staying one of Hollywood’s most in-demand Latino actors.

In FOX ’s newest sitcom, “The Goodwin Games” you play a math professor named Ivan. How did the script find its way to you?

Yes!  A math professor!  Which is hilarious to me, because math was never my strong suit.  Although now, I have a really deep appreciation for math and how it actually relates to things that teachers never told me.  I always sat in math class thinking, “I know how to add, subtract, multiply, divide really well so beyond that, what really matters?  And lately it’s becoming clear that it ALL matters a whole lot, IF you pay attention!  IF you apply logic (which is essentially simple math) to the whole of your life, it can be one of the most useful tools you’ll ever have.  Example, if someone in your life does A, B, C and you know that A, B, C always yield the same result, then pay attention to the result because it is essentially a math equation that will continue to yield the same result every time, positive or negative!  Without making things overly complicated, math can really help simplify decision making and clarify perception.

Now that I’ve gone off on this tangent, the script found its way to me as a result of my having worked on Ugly Betty with the star of “The Goodwin Games,” Becky Newton. The writers of “The Goodwin Games” had developed a story line where a childhood math nerd friend of Becky’s character reappears in her life (they literally bump into each other) after having embraced his inner nerd and shed his outer nerd.  Sparks fly and comedy ensues amidst budding love.  The producers asked Becky if she had anyone in mind to play this character and she suggested me.  I met the producers and we had a bunch of laughs, and [I] was offered the gig.  I had a great time working with everyone there.  The show is really funny!

What attracted you to the project?

I have really been wanting to do more comedic acting.  I had so much fun doing “Ugly Betty” and a movie I did last summer with Matt LeBlanc called “Lovesick” that comedies are what I want most to do right now.  People who don’t know me are surprised to know this but I love making people laugh and I want to do that as much as possible!  I also think Becky Newton is a brilliant comedic actress who was so great on “Ugly Betty” where we only had a few scenes together, so this was a chance to be funny with her.

You seem to have really embraced comedic roles over the past year. With so many different options with which to take your career, why is comedy a great fit for you right now?

I think it’s such a departure from the sober nature of “CSI: Miami” and from how most people see me.  I want to surprise them by making them laugh.  It’s a good fit for me because it feels good!

Which do you find more fulfilling: acting in movies or acting on the small screen?

I love doing both!  I love that movies give you a chance to play a character and move on when the show is over.  There’s usually a bit more time to prepare and collaborate on movies but then there’s also the wait time for the completion of post-production and then waiting for a release date or in the case of an indie film, the wait to see if it will even be picked up for distribution, whereas in TV, you know it’s going to be seen and the turnaround time is only a few weeks!

What keeps you going in such a competitive industry?

I love what I do and that keeps me going.  I’m a junkie for work.  I need it.  I want it.  I have to have it.  The process of getting that work can suck at times.  I hate auditioning and the process of maybe being the guy for the job or not because of some random reason like height or ethnicity but it goes with the territory.  In the end, there is nothing else I would rather be doing and the highs far outweigh the lows.

Fans can see you next on “About Last Night,” a remake of the 1986 film. Why this role, right now?

Because it was offered to me!  Seriously though, because it was offered to me AND a great script and a chance to act with some old friends.

In “About Last Night,” you’ll be playing Joy Bryant’s ex. What’s the secret to keeping the peace with an ex?

Never forgetting that you once loved each other.  Regardless of how or why things ended, if you put that before everything else, keeping the peace is easy.

As a Latino actor, what advice do you have for others who aspire to have the type of career you’ve had?

My advice is to be sure that you LOVE what you’re doing and that you’re doing it because first and foremost you LOVE it.  Sounds like the same thing but it’s not.  This is the hard part, give your pursuit of a career or job EVERYTHING you have BUT with little or no attachment to the results and enjoy every second of the ride!!!  On a practical level, READ, READ, READ, LEARN, LEARN, LEARN.  Have something to say as an artist and creatively say it however and whenever you can.  Through writing, through YouTube, through putting [on] a play or a scene in acting class, wherever.  And most of all, be true, in every way.

You’re well known for keeping things interesting in the gym, posting about your workouts. Could you ever see yourself launching a fitness line of products?

I have actually been considering how to do something in this space lately.  I’ve always been into health and fitness and I would love to find a way to educate people on these things.  I think they are the two most important components of well-being and productivity.

What’s next for you?

I don’t know but I’m looking forward to it!

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