Q&A: Timothy Granaderos

The 13 Reasons Why actor played D1 soccer at Michigan State University.

To get into character, Timothy Granaderos has to completely transform his personality on the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. Montgomery de la Cruz (aka Monty) is one of the show’s bullies—and Granaderos plays him well. So well that his fellow cast members started a hashtag #TimIsNotMonty to remind viewers that the Portage, Michigan, native is just doing his job: acting a part.

Physically, Granaderos has more in common with Monty. The latter is a high school baseball and football player and while Granaderos played both sports growing up, his athleticism peaked in college. He was a walk-on for Michigan State University's soccer team and played all four years.

And while these days he focuses more on following soccer rather than playing it himself, he still emphasizes the importance of fitness. “It helps with my mindset,” he says. “In this industry, I get a lot of ups and downs and if I find out some bad news or I’m stressed, I work out.”

Keep reading to learn more about Granaderos’ athletic background, his affinity for screamo music, and the Netflix show that he binge-watches (that actually brings him to tears).

See how he trains using soccer-inspired drills here.

Photography by Sara Swaty

Meeting you in real life, it’s hard to believe you’re capable of playing such a bully.

Well, thank you. I grew up with a close, loving family and supportive friends. So the foundation for who I am comes from that world. No matter what I do on camera, it's easy to kind of switch off and get back to me off-camera.

And then what do you do to get yourself into character?

Going into Monty, you have to do the preparation and the homework, and you have to learn to think for that character in that moment. Once you get there, you trust the other actors, you trust the director, you trust yourself, and you just do what you need to do on camera. And also, I listen to a lot of angsty, screamo music.

Do you listen to that kind of stuff in your workouts too?

I do. I love Coheed and Cambria. Anything with some screaming and some hard riffs on the guitar, I'm into.

Any other motivators?

A lot of my passion comes from my family, my parents, and what they have fought to provide for me. So, I want to make them proud and I want to be able to provide for them one day, so a lot of that comes up when I'm working out. I have this weird mantra when I'm on a treadmill and it always pops in my head. I'm not looking for it, it's just like, “Go get your life.” It just makes me like a freak on the treadmill because I'm running all hard and breathing all heavy. Family is everything.

What else do you do in the gym?

I try to move about five times a week at least. I do a lot of weightlifting, circuit-type training, and interval stuff where I'm constantly moving.

You’ve talked about how the baseball and football teams on the show are kind of like Monty's family. Do you have personal experience with that?

I can't even explain to you the bond you make with teammates. It's kind of like an unspoken thing like you have with your family. I played soccer so for me, when I stepped out on the field with those 10 other guys and we played the 90-minute match, you knew everyone on that field had your back. It makes me emotional just thinking about it. Each and every person on that field was your brother.

Speaking of your college soccer days, what was that like?

I went to Michigan State and planned on playing club soccer, but they had an open tryout for the varsity team. I went to it with about 40 other guys—just a long shot—and I actually ended up making the winter squad. In the spring I played my first season, then ended up playing for four years there as a D1 soccer player. I wouldn't trade anything for it.

Do you still play at all?

I do have a team out here that I've trained with and it's actually really competitive. But, I haven't been training as much lately with them, because in my line of work, if I break my nose or I sprain an ankle and I can't walk, I can't work.

Do you follow professional soccer?

Since LA got the new MLS expansion team, LAFC, I've become really enthusiastic and we got Zlatan Ibrahimović at the Galaxy. It's been exciting for soccer in LA.

If you could tell our readers who haven't seen the show one thing about it, what would it be?

That's tough because there's so much to it. I think the cool thing is that it is a drama centered around high school and teenagers but no matter your age or ethnic background, I think you can take something from the show. One of the main themes is that what you do could affect someone in a way that you don't even realize. So I think it's just being mindful.

Anything you can tease about season three?

Nope. Nothing I can tease. I'll disappear. You'll never see me again if I tease something.

Fair enough. So, any shows on Netflix that you binge-watch?

I've actually been binging Queer Eye. It's a great show. It's all about these people who want transformation for themselves and they might not necessarily be able to do it themselves or know how to go about getting it. I get a little teary-eyed every time I watch it.