[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Lucifer, Season 5, Episode 8, “Spoiler Alert.”]
In the first half of Season 5 of Lucifer, the Lord of Hell is bored and unhappy with his place on the throne, instead being more deeply drawn to his life in Los Angeles, helping the LAPD and exploring his undeniable attraction to Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). Abandoning his kingdom, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) is forced to deal with his even more mischievous twin brother Michael (also played by Ellis), who seems hellbent on making a mess of his life, in every way possible.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, Aimee Garcia (who plays Ella Lopez, a forensic scientist for the LAPD) talked about Ella’s crisis of self, learning to deliver lines in Klingon, shooting the noir episode, the upcoming musical episode, a separate special musical moment that she got to do in the second half of the season, digging into Ella’s love life, and the questions that her character might ask, if she ever finds out that Lucifer really is the devil.
Collider: There’s a lot of drama happening on the show this season. How much were you told about Ella’s journey at the beginning, and how much was a surprise to you, as the season went along?
AIMEE GARCIA: I knew that Ella was going to have a crisis of self this season but that’s about it. They keep things close to the vest, over there. It’s like a military operation, especially with me, because they know it’s really hard for me to keep secrets — although I’ve been very good recently. They don’t really tell us a lot, ahead of time. They’re very vague. They’re like, “Look, last year, she took off her necklace for the first time. This year, she rekindles her faith with God and it’s going to be a crisis of self and she’s going to have self-doubt.” For Ella, that’s such a bummer because she’s just such an unapologetic dork that you don’t want her to doubt herself. She says and does things that we all wish that we had the courage to say and she’s just herself. She’s like, “Yeah, I talk a lot. Yeah, I dance at crime scenes. Yeah, I speak Klingon. Yeah, I cosplay.” I love that about her. She’s got a pet chicken, and I don’t know what that’s about. And she speaks a bazillion languages. She’s just so fun and she’s the smartest person in the room but completely clueless that there are angels and demons running around on earth. She’s such a fun little enigma and we love her because she’s just so wonderfully weird and herself. And then, to have a crisis of self is going to be disheartening for people to see.
What was it like to have to deliver lines in Klingon?
GARCIA: First of all, you have to respect that Klingon is actually a warring nation, so when you speak, you’ve gotta speak from your toes and your gut. I speak Spanish and it’s very musical and lyrical but Klingon is not. I felt like it was really important to pronounce it correctly, and we did get help from the actual Klingon Federation, because we’re professional like that. I wanted to make sure that not only was I pronouncing it correctly but embodying it correctly. I wanted to speak with my whole body because everything they say sounds like they’re about to kill you and I had to honor that. It was so fun. I got so red in the face because I was basically shouting. I wanted to do right by the Klingons. It was fun, and I didn’t feel like I was speaking a made-up language because a lot of people speak Klingon. So, I honored it in the same way that I would learn a phrase in Portuguese or French. I said, “I have to really do this justice.”
It was super fun but I couldn’t break. Everyone around me was laughing and I couldn’t let that affect me. She is super invested in her Klingon, so I couldn’t let the people that were breaking around me, get to me. I had to actually look at Alex [Koch]’s eyebrows because otherwise, I would start laughing. I laugh a lot, so if anyone next to me or near me is laughing, it’s a very contagious emotion for me. The crew was giggling. And then, as soon as we cut that scene, everyone busted out laughing but you can’t be in on the joke. It’s not funny for her. If she’s going to cosplay, then she’s going to cosplay.
How was the experience of shooting the noir episode and getting to play a different character for that?
GARCIA: Oh, my gosh, that was so fun. It was shot like a film, all in black and white. It was bizarre because I played a mob boss with a mustache who smokes cigars and orders hits on people. I may or may not have walked around the house with a sock in my pants to see what it was like to walk like a dude. I may or may not have practiced how to cut cigars. I may or may not have channeled my inner Chicago, because mob ties run deep in Chicago. I also may have watched The Godfather, over and over again, and studied Marlon Brando. I really went for it. I’m all in with things. I was like, “Oh, he put cotton balls in his mouth? I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to put a sock in my pants.” I’m just such a physical actor. Our female characters are male characters, and our male characters are female characters. We had the wonderful Tricia [Helfer] come back, who’s fantastic. It was just such a fun episode. You felt like you were doing a movie that was completely unrelated to Lucifer, but we also kept our humor. How do you keep the tone when you’re transporting the show to the 1940s? But somehow, everyone did. I was like, “You know, she’s still Ella-ish, so let’s give this mob boss a little laugh here.” Hopefully, you get a little laugh, even though it’s short and sweet.
I’m very excited for the upcoming musical episode. What was that whole experience like?
GARCIA: It was a dream come true. Everyone sings and dances and did such a great job. I think Kevin Alejandro used to be a professional dancer, so you’ll get to see him. I walked in on his first rehearsal and I didn’t know it was his first rehearsal. I was just like, “Whoa, how is this happening?” He nailed it. Same thing with D.B. [Woodside]. I get to do a fun little something with Lesley-Ann [Brandt], and that was just incredible. It was the closest that I’ll ever feel to Beyoncé, having these professional, beautiful dancers back you up. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I could die now and be happy.” And Lauren [German] picked up the choreography really quickly ‘cause she used to be a ballet dancer. I don’t know if a lot of people know that. And obviously Tom [Ellis] already has so much on his plate and he came in with very little rehearsal and nailed the choreography. The greatest thing about our musical episode is that you will hear a wide range of songs — everything from Broadway show tunes to Squirrel Nut Zippers type of music to pop music. Rachael [Harris] is just so fun and has this magical number. And Scarlett [Estevez] had never sung before and I guarantee when you hear this girl sing, she will break your heart. She was so nervous.
We were all really nervous, to be honest, because none of us are professional singers. We may or may not have had a shot of tequila before singing in the booth but it’s fun to do stuff that scares you because then you have that reference point of, “If I could do that, I could do something else.” We were all in it together and we were all terrified.
With the singing, I don’t wanna give too much away in the second half, but there’s a musical element and I was told that I was going to get to sing a song and have two months to prep. And then, they were like, “We have to change our schedule, for various reasons, so you’re actually going to do that in two weeks.” And I was like, “Wait, what?!” And so, I freaked out and may or may not have had a minor panic attack. And then, four days before we were scheduled to shoot, they were like, “By the way, that song didn’t clear. You’re going to sing a totally different song.” I was like, “What?!” When you see it, you’ll know. It’s in the second half and it’s probably not an episode that you’d think. I’m going to be very vague but you’ll know. It’s not the musical episode. It’s another episode.
I was freaking out and Tom walked me off of the ledge, a little bit. He was like, “You’ve got this. Can I come in?” And I was like, “No, you’re going to make me nervous. Can you come after?” Anyway, that was scary, but super exciting and super fun. I used to be a professional dancer too, so with the dancing part, I was totally in my wheelhouse. When you see the musical episode, you’ll be like, “Whoa, they’re having way too much fun.” Hopefully, it’s just as fun for you guys to watch, as it was for us to do.
We get to dig into Ella’s love life a little bit this season, but it doesn’t go so well for her because the guy she’s dating clearly is not who she thinks he is. What was it like for you to get to explore and dig into that, but then have it go so horribly wrong?
GARCIA: It was tough. Ella is so open and so transparent and such a love bug and such a romantic but she’s guarded. We don’t know a lot about her personal life. She comes from a family of criminals. All of her brothers take advantage of her, in different ways. She grew up in poverty and she’s completely scrappy. She’s made the best out of a rough go. And not only that but she’s so optimistic, positive, light-hearted, comedic and fun. All of a sudden, she lets her guard down for the first time and she gets torn apart. She’s not a hardened, jaded character, so it’s especially tough to see a character who puts others ahead of herself, who wants to make people’s day a little better, who wants to tell people how special they are, who wants to hug someone that’s having a bad day, who wants to make someone laugh and who wants to dance, go through that. She makes fun of herself so that other people can laugh. That’s who you want in your corner, especially on a rough day. And then, to have someone like that just have one of the hardest, darkest moments in the whole show, you’re like, “Oh, man, that’s rough.” I don’t know what the emotional ramifications of that will be for her, going forward. She’s like, “God, what does that say about me, that these are the kinds of people I pick to open up to? Maybe I’m not who I thought I was.” That’s so tragic. It’s so tragic when a good person wonders if they’re a good person.
You’ve previously talked about how, if Ella ever did find out Lucifer’s secret, she would have a lot of questions. If she did find out that Lucifer really is the devil, what do you think the first question is that she would ask him?
GARCIA: Well, first she would hug him because he is an angel. And then, I think she would give him a good hit because she would be like, “Why didn’t you tell me?!” I don’t know. That’s a good question. I wonder if she would ask, “How do you avoid going down there? Who is down there? Am I going down there?” She would probably ask something really specific. I think she would probably just be curious or even ask, “How did you feel after you fell?” She might immediately go for humanizing him and say, “How do you feel after that?” I think it would just be her asking him, “How do you feel? Are you okay, out of your element?” There’s a part of me that feels like she would hug him, hit him, and then want to take care of him.
Lucifer is available to stream at Netflix.
Christina Radish is a Senior Reporter of Film, TV, and Theme Parks for Collider. You can follow her on Twitter @ChristinaRadish.