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Metro Canada: Adrian Martinez is proud of being “sidekick to the stars.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 12.36.37 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Adrian Martinez is “that guy.” You recognize his face but probably don’t know his name. He’s the actor you’ve seen in everything from American Hustle to The Amazing Spider-Man to this weekend’s Focus, standing just to the side of the main actors. He’s the sidekick to the stars, a moniker he wears proudly.

“Sidekick to the Stars?” he says. “That’s absolutely cool with me. I’m working and it’s the best film school in the world.”

From Ben Stiller, his “teacher” and Secret Life of Walter Mitty co-star, he says he learned “how to compartmentalize your energy. Nobody works harder than Ben Stiller. He was acting all day, directing and then editing.”

“Will Ferrell,” he says, “is surprisingly not funny on set except during the takes when he’s hysterical. I took discipline away from him.”

In Focus Martinez plays Farhad, a computer expert and associate of scam artist Nicky Spurgeon, played by Will Smith. It’s a small but important role, which gave Martinez the chance to watch Smith in action as they shot the film in New Orleans and Buenos Aires.

“From Will Smith I learned gratitude,” he says. “This is a guy who’s been doing this a long while and every day on set he was absolutely invested in the well being of everyone. He would gauge the temperature of the room and if he felt people were dragging he would just start dancing. Literally get jiggy with it. I felt, wow, this guy doesn’t have to do anything and he’s doing everything to lead the pack into the right place.”

He puts those lessons to work in a variety of gigs from comedy to drama, from big screen to small.

“I do television and commercials,” he says. “I don’t care. I just work. The way I’ve always seen it is that commercials are the haiku of acting, TV is like the short stories and movies are the novels. Whatever format you use as an actor you’re still a character whether it is six seconds or an hour-and-a-half.”

Finding a way to balance his professional and personal lives was a lesson he learned from a source off set.

“I have a nine-year-old daughter and she keeps it in perspective fore me,” he says. “The other day we were talking and I said, ‘Isn’t this great? I’m in Los Angeles but we can facetime and see each other.’ She said, very cogently, ‘You can’t hug in a facetime daddy.’ She doesn’t fool around. She brings it right home. I flying back to New York today and I can’t wait to hug her.”

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