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Exclusive Interview: Melissa Fumero on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”


Are you guys as into Brooklyn Nine-Nine as I am? I think it’s hilarious, and I never expected it to be a show where they can’t talk about spoilers for the next season. Andy Samberg said he couldn’t tell me anything when I ran into him at the Fox party this summer. He was hanging out with the whole cast though, and since I’d never met Melissa Fumero before, I could at least talk to her about the show’s Golden Globe winning first season.

Fumero plays Det. Amy Santiago, an overachieving detective trying a little too hard to impress Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher). She shared some memories of working with her costars that are enough to tide me over until Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns, Sunday Sept. 28 on Fox.

Nuke the Fridge: How did you feel when you saw the clip they chose for your opening title credit?

Melissa Fumero: Oh, that’s a fun question. I was super happy about it. I remember the first time that I saw the opening and seeing what they had picked for everybody else, naturally those nerves sort of set in, like what ridiculous thing did they pick for me? I felt like I kind of got away with a more subdued, not so crazy shot for the opening. So I was happy. I’m pointing a gun and that’s kind of badass and I like it, but also silly. It’s my finger because it’s silly but at least I’m not knocking my head on a desk like Joe Lo Truglio.

Nuke: Or dancing like Chelsea Peretti.

Melissa Fumero: I think Chelsea has the best one. Her freeze frame is amazing.

Nuke: She does. So can you understand this type of person who is trying so hard to impress her captain, she doesn’t realize she’s overdoing it?

Melissa Fumero: Yes and no. There’s definitely times where it’s challenging and I had to find it, with the help of the writers and directors. But, I think we’ve all met those people and I think we’ve all had those moments ourselves as human beings.

Nuke: I know. I’ve been that person.

Melissa Fumero: I’ve totally been that person. Even last year at the first upfronts for our show, I wanted to be confident and introduce myself to other actors, like, “I’m here for the same reason and we’re all in the same club.” But it ended up attends the Fox All-Star Party on August 1, 2013 in West Hollywood, California.with super awkward introductions, like me telling Ed Weeks and Mike from The Mindy Project, “Oh, I’ll see you tomorrow, Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and jumping out of an elevator, not saying anything else. It was so awkward and embarrassing. They were very nice about it but I was like, “Why can’t you just introduce yourself like a normal person.”

Nuke: They probably did that at their first upfronts.

Melissa Fumero: That’s what I tell myself, for sure.

Nuke: What were the Golden Globes like?

Melissa Fumero: Surreal. It’s such a production leading up to it, especially as a girl. Like, a dress and the shoes and the hair and makeup. Then getting there was like a really fancy adult prom, except there’s all these faces that you’ve seen on your TV or in movie theaters, but you’re in the same room with them, not as a spectator but with your show. The whole night was so surreal. I remember the whole week after, just going over and over it in my head and being like, “But that was real, and that was real, and that really happened.” I stared awkwardly at a lot of movie stars.

Nuke: Who did you get to meet at the Globes?

Melissa Fumero: Okay, so the people I met, I didn’t actually meet. After we won the Golden Globe for Best Show, I just collapsed into tears as soon as we were off the stage. Ben Affleck just came up and held me and he’s like “Are you okay? Are you all right?” And I was just like [hyperventilating]. And Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad was like, “Are you okay?” And Alfonso Cuaron was like, “Congratulations, are you okay?” So I “met” great, amazing people but it all sort of happened in me being, like, a crying, sobbing, snotty mess. And I wish I had cooler stories from that night but that was my Golden Globes night.

Nuke: What was your favorite stuff you got to do in season one of Brooklyn Nine-Nine?

Melissa Fumero: Oh gosh, so much. I think doing the bet was probably the first real highlight of the season for me. It was the first time that Andy and I worked together a lot for a lot of hours. He’s an amazing teacher and it’s wonderful to work with him. I feel like I learned so much and grow as an actor when I work with him. It was the first time we got to dive into Jake and Amy’s relationship and figure out and discover and play around with all the different tones of their relationship. So it just felt like a very challenging but growing week comedically and as an actor. And I loved Tactical Village because any time you put a gun in my hands with blanks, I’m a super dork. We all are. We’re so excited to just shoot guns and pretend to be badass.

Nuke: Does Andre Braugher ever break during your scenes with him?

Melissa Fumero: No. He broke the other day and I can’t remember why. It was me, Stephanie [Beatriz] and Terry [Crews], and I can’t say what we were saying, but I say something, she says something, he says something and it was during rehearsal. Andre broke and literally all three of us were like, “It happened! Oh my gosh, this never happened before. Andre Braugher broke.”

Nuke: But it was in a rehearsal.

Melissa Fumero: It was in rehearsal so it doesn’t really count. I think Andy’s the only one that’s made Andre break in a scene. He’s really hard to break.

Nuke: Did you do anything on your hiatus?

Melissa Fumero: Not really. It sort of flew by and got away from me. I went to Mexico with my husband and some friends and had a wonderful vacation in a little fishing village called Yelapa that was beautiful. Then I just kind of chilled. I cooked, got to do all the things that I don’t get to do when we’re doing the show like cook, work out, see friends, have dinner parties, go to the beach. Just really low key.

Nuke: You shoot Brooklyn Nine-Nine at the CBS Radford lot. Do you have any sense of what a historic studio that is? Seinfeld, Gilligan’s Island and more were filmed there.

Melissa Fumero: A little bit. I’ve only lived here for a a couple years so I’ve been to most of the lots and have a small sense. Whenever there’s a plaque explaining the history, I find it fascinating. I think it’s so cool. The very first time I was on a lot in L.A. I think was the Warner Bros. lot and I was just floored by the majesty of it and the history. You can really tell all of that.