Atkins Estimond – “I am not just the bad guy”

Osito is one of the many complex characters on ‘Hightown,’ and Atkins Estimond wants you to know he’s not just the bad guy. He spoke with HL about Osito and Junior’s bond, Osito’s loyalty to Frankie, and more.

Hightown’s third episode featured a game-changing moment for Junior. He has said that he wants out of the drug world, but that’s not part of Frankie’s plan. Osito took Junior aside to “toughen him up” during the May 31 episode and told Junior to beat up a fast-food worker — or else. Junior eventually did what he was told, and Junior actually enjoyed the power and control he got in that moment.

HollywoodLife talked with Atkins Estimond, who plays Osito, and he revealed that this is the beginning of an unconventional friendship of sorts between Osito and Junior. Atkins also discussed whether or not Osito feels any remorse for any of the things he’s done and if Osito’s loyalty to Frankie should be questioned.

That scene with Osito and Junior in the parking lot I felt was a turning point for Junior. Junior actually does beat that kid up after being threatened by Osito, and he likes it. What do you think Osito’s reaction is when he sees that Junior is capable of that kind of violence?
Atkins Estimond: I think he was definitely pleased by it. There’s a weird bond growing between the two of them. It’s a friendship but not your conventional friendship. Typically, friends don’t take each other to places and have them attack people. But considering the circumstances that they’re under, Osito’s really happy that he’s seeing that Junior can do this. Because I think prior to this, he wasn’t really sure if Junior’s really cut out for this. I think that it’s the kind of situation where Osito’s starting to take a shine to him, and he sees the potential that Junior can possibly do this. This was kind of like the test. Is this something that Junior can do? Can he live this life? He did it, though. I think he’s very pleased with the outcome.

Atkins Estimond
Atkins Estimond stars as Osito in the STARZ series ‘Hightown.’ (Eley Photography)

This is a volatile, violent world drug world that Osito’s involved in. Do you think that Osito feels remorse for some of the things that he’s done?
Atkins Estimond: I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s remorse that he feels, but it’s possible that there are some moments of that. Because I think for Osito, his work is very much work. It’s nothing personal to him. Just like anybody clocks in to do their job, this is a job for him. It’s nothing that he’s taking personally. I think that for him, he’s entering into this understanding that you know what the rules are on the street. If you say something, then these are the consequences. So when you do something that essentially runs you afoul of me or Frankie or the organization, then you’ve already accepted that these are the consequences for your actions. Looking at it that way, I think it makes it easier for him to just be so unaffected by what he does because it’s like you knew that this would be the outcome of your actions. I think that because there still is some heart there that he’s not completely unaffected. He definitely doesn’t enjoy what he does, but I can’t say that it’s not having some weight on him.

Right off the bat, we knew that Osito was the one that killed Sherry Henry. That puts him in a very vulnerable position, given that there’s a whole investigation around it. Do you think he has any fear that he’ll get caught?
Atkins Estimond: I have to say somewhere in there, but he’s also been doing this for a long time. I think that because he’s been doing this for so long and hasn’t been caught, there’s a little bit of an air that he’ll get out of this no matter what. But also the fact that this is the first time that he’s really kind of been put into the spotlight like this, I think that there has to be some concern there. I think it’s a little bit of both. They talk about this in the earlier episodes that Frankie and everybody involved with Frankie, at least from police knowledge, they were under the impression that they arrested everyone who was associated with Frankie. But, clearly, they didn’t because Osito’s still out there. When I was reading the work, it told me that Osito has been operating at a level that’s in the shadows and secretive where they wouldn’t have even known that he was a part of Frankie’s operations. I think having this murder happen and now people are asking about him, that’s probably something that at least law enforcement hadn’t been doing before. There has to be some amount of pressure, but I also think that he’s not new to the rodeo. I think he’s also cool under pressure as well.

Osito appears to be very much Frankie’s right-hand man on the outside. How loyal would you say of Osito is to Frankie? Is there ever a chance that he would turn?
Atkins Estimond: I think that that loyalty is very important to him. But what’s cool with Frankie and what’s cool with Osito is that I think eventually there’s a butting of heads there. Osito does have a code, and there are things that I think don’t sit right with him. Not to give anything away, there’s some friction there between the things that Frankie’s wanting done and what Osito’s OK with. He’s very loyal and doing what Frankie wants, but I think that as we go through the story and we see the toll and the weight of what’s being asked, it’s not an easy thing for him.

You mentioned earlier that Osito and Junior are going to have a closer bond. What can you tease about what’s going to be happening with them going forward?
Atkins Estimond: It’s very much like a Dark Side-esque Vader and Palpatine thing happening where now that Osito knows that Junior could do the work, I feel like that gives Osito the green light to bring him deeper into the world. But in doing so, you see more of us together, and we’re facing situations together. In that, you see their bond and their interactions in those moments. It’s a very interesting arc that continues the story with the two of them.

Atkins Estimond
Atkins Estimond as Osito in the series premiere of ‘Hightown.’ (STARZ)

We’ve gotten a little bit of backstory about Junior, Jackie, and Renee. Will we get any backstory on Osito throughout the course of the season?
Atkins Estimond: You do get a glimpse into a little bit of the world of him. It’s something that I don’t want to give away. It’s not a lot of stuff, but you do get a moment to kind of peek into the inner workings and the backstory of Osito.

Obviously, he’s capable of murder but I feel like there is something a little bit redeemable about him, at least I’m hoping so.
Atkins Estimond: Absolutely. There are layers and a lot of complexities with him. That’s one of the reasons when I was looking at this character and got the breakdown, I just loved that he wasn’t just a bad guy. He isn’t just the monster that lurks in the shadows. There’s something happening there with him, too. It’s not just so plain and simple for him.

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