Since meeting the housemates on USA's Graceland, we haven't learned much about their backstories before becoming agents. However, that will all change in season two, when we meet Johnny Tuturro's (Manny Montana) mother later this season. We can exclusively reveal that Johnny's mom will be played by General Hospital's Mercedes Colon, whom Montana helped cast. We chatted with Montana about the casting, including how he made sure his onscreen mom isn't "extremely old," the ways Colon is like his real-life mother, and the one thing he made sure is in Johnny's childhood room. And if that's not enough season-two scoop for you, be sure to check out everything the cast told us during our set visit.
POPSUGAR: How involved were you with casting your onscreen mom?
Manny Montana: That was kind of a trip. It was the first time I had ever been involved in the casting so much, because I was shadowing Sandy Books [director Sanford Bookstaver], who directed that episode. I got to be in the auditions with them, and it was funny to see. Some women came in as if my mother was extremely old, with the sweaters and the shawls. And I'm like, "My mother's still in her late 40s!" I tried to tell them my mother is really young. It just makes more sense, because in the 'ghetto,' that's kind of how it is. All of my friend's moms are young, my mom is young. It just makes more sense. So when they went with her, it was a good choice in my eyes. I wasn't able to audition with her, because they cast her out of LA. But once she got on set, she was perfect! She looked the part, and she's Latin, so we bonded over cooking and things.
PS: What was it like working together, and how was it for Johnny to see his mother again?
MM: She's a huge part of this one episode. She comes in, and it's a big deal because I hadn't seen her in a long time, and my mother doesn't know what I do for a living, because obviously I'm an undercover agent. She still thinks I'm some street kid, so when I see her, I see that look of disappointment in her eyes, and it's tough because I know if I told her I was a cop, she'd be so proud of me. It's a weird dynamic that we all have between us.
PS: How close does this mirror your real life and your relationship with your mom?
MM: It didn't mirror too much besides the age. My mother was always a young mom. I played football my whole life, and I didn't realize it until I was older, but I always wondered why all of my coaches used to talk to my mom so much when I was at practice. She was like this young, hot mom, you know? [Laughs.] That's the only way it mirrors it, but besides that, I was always a good kid that got good grades and played sports. So my mother was always proud of me regardless of what I did.
PS: And I heard you worked really closely with creator Jeff Eastin to make Johnny's room look like your childhood room. What touches did you have to have?
MM: The thing that I fought the most for were these Tupac posters. Tupac, behind my father, is my hero. I have everything he's ever made, wrote, and his DVDs. In high school, I had posters of him all over my wall. I asked the art department and everybody else if they could do it, and they told me how hard of a time they had clearing the rights. But they did it, and I was so, so happy when I walked into the room. It looked exactly like my childhood room!
PS: Do we see any more of your family in this episode, or is it just your mom living at home alone?
MM: Yeah, just my mom living at home alone. Honestly, now that you ask me that question, I'm not even sure what we've established in Johnny's family life. He has a brother, or had a brother — I don't know if he's still alive or in jail or what. But so far, I've only heard about the mom and the brother. I'd love to [learn more] just because in my real life, I have such a big family. I'd love to incorporate more people; that'd be great. But we have such a big ensemble cast that I really don't know if it's necessary. Me as a viewer, it's nice seeing Johnny have a family, but I love watching my castmates do their thing. I love what Jakes has this season and what Charlie has. It's going to be a great ensemble season.
Source: USA Network