Catching Up With Miles Gaston Villanueva

Where To Catch Him: As real-life murderer Lyle Menendez on LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS, premiering Tuesday, September 26, on NBC.

Were you familiar with the Menendez case?

“I feel like I knew them. I’m not going to tell you my damn age, but it was completely new to me. Honestly, I was biased like a lot of people. I initially said, ‘Why would I want to play this guy?’ He killed his parents. No way.’ But since I read the story and did more research, it became one of the most challenging and incredible gifts to play.”

What can viewers expect?

“There are so many private moments, things that were not in the media that we are showing — behind closed doors moments — which offer a lot of power for our story.”

What was your reaction when you landed the role?

“My parents were in town. They came to visit and bring me a dresser and they stayed an extra day and I got the call. I had it on speaker. My agent and my manager joked and said they wanted to offer me the role of the father and my stomach flipped. I went, ‘No! What does that mean? I’m playing a father?’ But then we all just started screaming. It was an eruption of joy. My parents were crying. It’s the first series regular gig, the first big gig. It’s the LAW & ORDER franchise!”

Have you bonded with Gus Halper, who plays Erik?

“It is the greatest gift that I got this man because we joke and say, ‘What if we hated each other?’ but we love each other. We’ve had a couple people come up to us and say, ‘Twins?’ and we’re like, ‘No, but we play brothers.’ He’s so talented and easy to work with. We laugh. We talk. We debrief. We go out and have drinks and food. Whatever it is, I’m so lucky that we have the chemistry that we do.”

What can you say about Edie Falco, who plays attorney Leslie Abramson?

“Unbelievable. I’m like, ‘How does she do it so effortlessly but so confidently and with such intention?’ And then afterward, she’s making faces and the three of us are joking. I get why she’s a four-time Emmy winner and why everybody wants to work with her.”

What a coincidence that you and your former Y&R co-star Sofia Pernas [ex-Marisa] both have new series on NBC.

“Really? What’s her show? What is she doing?”

THE BRAVE with Anne Heche.

“I’ve seen the promos for that! Congrats to her! Justin [Hartley, ex-Adam] is here; THIS IS US is huge. Everyone’s working. I’m so happy for them. I hope Sofia’s show skyrockets — and I hope ours does, too!”

To see a preview of the show, watch the video at the top of the post.