"Breakthrough" actor Marcel Ruiz with Kidsday reporters, from left,  Kaliyah...

"Breakthrough" actor Marcel Ruiz with Kidsday reporters, from left,  Kaliyah Ramsey, Giana Torres, Bavinton Morales, Valeria Arevalo and Diana Palacios, all 9 from Lawrence, at Fox offices in Manhattan Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

On Monday we got to meet and interview Marcel Ruiz who stars as John Smith in the newly released movie “Breakthrough.” You probably know him best as Alex Alvarez from the Netflix series, “One Day at a Time.” First, let’s just say he is nice, friendly, and so cute. He was wearing the coolest outfit, too, which makes sense since when we had asked him who his role model was, he answered Virgil Abloh, the first African American artistic director for Louis Vuitton. When we had asked where he saw himself in 10 years, he responded that if acting opportunities come up, he would continue acting but did not want to be limited to just that.  He definitely wants to attend college, and would love to pursue a career in fashion design. Judging by his style, we think he will nail it!  

In the movie, his basketball skills were amazing. We asked if it was harder to learn the basketball moves for the movie or his lines and without hesitation he said memorizing the lines! He said that he plays basketball and was allowed to just play basketball as if he were playing with his friends while filming. Speaking of basketball, we also asked if he had met Steph Curry. He said interestingly enough he had run into him by chance off the set and that he was very friendly.

When we asked if he got to meet the real Smith family (the movie was based on the true story of John Smith), he said he had and felt like he was meeting a celebrity. In turn, the Smith family was so excited to meet him as well. He said he developed a friendship with John and that he was also introduced to Abby, John’s crush in the movie who is now his real girlfriend. We did ask if the girl who played Abby in the movie was Marcel's girlfriend.  We were so excited to find out -- she wasn’t!

The movie was filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where the temperature was 9 below zero. They hadn’t told him he would be filming in temperatures that cold and in a T-shirt no less! As if that wasn’t cold enough, they sprayed him with water and he had to lie down on the ice. Brrrr!   He said most of the purple on his skin was because he was actually freezing and not makeup. He said that the actual filming of the underwater part was filmed in tanks off the set.  He said it was super cool and they had two different size tanks for the deep underwater part and a different one for the more shallow part of the scene.

When we had asked him who his favorite actor or actress was to work with on both “Breakthrough” and “One Day at a Time,” he responded that he really enjoyed working with all of them and continues to be friendly with them.  He even hangs out with them, when his schedule allows.  He said he was particularly close to Chrissy Metz, his mom in the movie who is like a mom to him offscreen as well. Also, he thinks of  Rita Moreno as a grandmother both on and off the set of “One Day at a Time” for a lot of reasons including that they are both Puerto Rican.

Marcel is an only child but has a cute, fluffy, white dog name Broky. You can tell he loves him by the way he was talking about him. He also showed us a picture of him on his cellphone. We got to take selfies with Marcel, and we think we will see a lot of him in the future whether it’s acting or as a breakthrough fashion designer. Whatever his future holds, we can tell you that he was so much fun to interview and couldn’t have been more generous with his time. Can’t wait to see his next adventure.

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