This past season of Mayans M.C. might have been the most emotional one yet and there is plenty more where that came from the way Season 4 is shaping up. But as fans were finally able to see another side to some of their favorite characters with wildly dramatic storylines, series star Michael Irby, best known for playing Santo Padre's president, Bishop, admits getting into character isn't always fun and games. In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, Irby reveals "it wasn't fun" at times because of the raw, authentic places he would have to go to feel the kinds of emotional depths his on-screen persona often goes through.
"I found myself being a little — I guess I was just a little bumpy," Irby confessed before revealing he had to find a way to cut ties with his on-screen character before heading home to his wife, Susan Elena Matus. "My best friend and my wife says, 'Please don't bring Bishop home. I don't like Bishop.' And I'm like, 'Oh, okay, okay, okay. That I understand.' But as much as I love Bishop, it was so hard because [Bishop] was so angry at everybody — I was kind of letting my boys spin because I was spinning, and I wasn't able to lead."
Being able to lead is one of the reasons he signed on for this role in the first place. The 48-year-old actor comes from a soccer background and while he's played on teams his whole life, he's always considered himself a "natural-born leader," enjoying his time in the captain's chair. With Bishop being at the head of the table, there was a natural draw between the two. "I've been on teams my whole life, so when I got this opportunity, and I always joke, 'Listen, I'm a team player, but I want to be the captain; that's just the deal. Give me the ball, I know I can change the game [...] and so that was kind of what really attracted me to Bishop and being the president of the Mayans," he explained.
Although he has an incredible passion for the work he does, Season 3 "wasn't fun" at times for Irby who humbly admits diving into his character's dark side isn't an easy feat. "I got to say, it wasn't fun. I mean, I love what I do; I love this craft, but every time I was reading and I said, 'Oh, okay, now I got to get in here.'" The actor explained that he's not just acting on-screen, but that those are real emotions and real feelings fans see. But to balance that and turn it off-and-on for the cameras, can be tricky at times. "When you push a dog against a corner, the only thing they know how to do is fight. And it just brought out a bunch of stuff," he continued. "I was kind of happy to let it go."
While fans have gushed over Irby's acting and skill be brings to their screen each week, he admits it was nice to "get back to Michael" once the season was over. "I went to the deep, dark dive with Bishop this year, and I'm not really that guy. I'm a very positive person by nature, very optimistic, very outgoing. And it was nice to be able to kind of shed that skin a little bit and get back to Michael," he said before joking about whether he's going to keep his beard or get rid of it.
But with that side of the charter's president coming out, Irby was grateful for it because letting Bishop loose, so to speak, was exactly what he's been waiting for. "I was so thankful and grateful to Elgin [James] — because we had talked about this for years — when we can really take the leash off of Bishop, because the first two seasons I was kind of like Galindo's (Danny Pino) errand boy, and I hated that, I hated that to my core, Michael Irby hated that." During the season, a lot took place outside of Bishop's knowing and naturally, it was hard for him not to know what was happening with the rest of his M.C. But he discloses that "discovery" of Bishop is a much-needed point of view for down the road as his character continues to develop.
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