Ramos a cham­pagne su­per­nova

‘A Star is Born’ just lat­est hit for ‘Hamil­ton’ vet­eran

USA TODAY International Edition - - LIFE - Bryan Alexan­der

The cap­tain of the pri­vate jet had one stern warn­ing for Lady Gaga and An­thony Ramos be­fore shoot­ing a cel­e­bra­tory scene in “A Star Is Born.” Don’t open the cham­pagne. It’ll spill, and it’s a mess to clean up. But Ramos and Gaga were ex­u­ber­ant play­ing best friends Ra­mon and Ally, both dis­cov­er­ing the joys of rock ’n’ roll lux­ury cour­tesy of Ally’s fa­mous boyfriend, Jack­son Maine (Bradley Cooper). The ac­tors got car­ried away. “We were so in the mo­ment and hav­ing so much fun, we popped the bot­tle and we started laugh­ing hys­ter­i­cally,” Ramos says. “Boom, there it goes. It was like, ‘We’re in trou­ble.’ But it was Ally and Ra­mon hav­ing that mo­ment.” It’s more than just their char­ac­ters who have that dream mo­ment in di­rec­tor Cooper’s lauded drama, which opened last week­end to crit­i­cal raves and $41.3 mil­lion at the box of­fice. Ramos, 26, is ex­plod­ing like shaken cham­pagne in his role as Ally’s sup­port­ive pal from the neigh­bor­hood, who also works at the ho­tel with her. “It’s al­ways amaz­ing when you can do work you care about and that you love,” Ramos says. “And if it just hap­pens to blow up, that’s just ic­ing on the cake.” The Brook­lyn na­tive of Puerto Ri­can de­scent has shown re­mark­able range in his short ca­reer – break­ing out in the dual roles of John Lau­rens and Philip Hamil­ton in the Broadway sen­sa­tion “Hamil­ton” in 2015. The drama “White Girl” and the cov­eted role of Mars Black­mon in Spike Lee’s 2017 Net­flix se­ries “She’s Gotta Have It” fol­lowed. But Ramos still had to fight for the role of Ra­mon, send­ing au­di­tion tapes to Cooper. The di­rec­tor asked for a fi­nal au­di­tion with the full cast dur­ing a script read of the story. An­der­son fig­ured that was im­pos­si­ble, given that he was al­ready com­mit­ted to a con­cert in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona, that night. “I was like, ‘Yo, there’s no way I can do this,’ ” Ramos re­calls. “But there was some­thing in­side of me that was like, this movie could be the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time. It’s worth tak­ing a chance.” He flew to meet the cast, in­clud­ing Gaga, who in­tro­duced her­self by her real name, Ste­fani (“That’s what I call her, it would feel weird call­ing her any­thing else”). The read was such a suc­cess that ev­ery­one was hug­ging one an­other, say­ing how ex­cited they were to start. “I don’t think any­one knew I was still au­di­tion­ing,” Ramos says. “I’m on my way to the air­port go­ing, ‘OK, that just hap­pened.’ And I got the call. (Cooper) was like, ‘Hey, I want you in the cast.’ Let’s just say my show that night was re­ally good. “ The chem­istry with Gaga came nat­u­rally in their plane scene. But Gaga had to pre­tend she had never been on a pri­vate jet. “She had been on a bunch. I was ask­ing her ‘What’s this over here?’ She was like, ‘That’s the ta­ble and you pull it out.’ We were mess­ing about,” Ramos says. Along with “A Star Is Born,” Ramos is in the­aters now as a key wit­ness to a po­lice shoot­ing in the drama “Mon­sters and Men” and will con­tinue to branch out, play­ing a spe­cial forces soldier in 2019’s “Godzilla: King of Mon­sters.” He’s plot­ting his next move af­ter that. “Af­ter ‘Hamil­ton,’ work­ing with Spike Lee and now ‘A Star Is Born,’ I have to hone in,” Ramos says. “It’s like, what’s the next thing where peo­ple say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know he could do that!’ ”

CLAY ENOS/WARNER BROS.

Ra­mone (An­thony Ramos) sup­ports his friend Ally (Lady Gaga) in “A Star Is Born.”

NI­CHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IM­AGES

Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, left, and Ramos in Mi­randa’s fi­nal per­for­mance of “Hamil­ton” on July 9, 2016.

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