Animal Kingdom S06: Christina Ochoa on Renn/Craig Dynamic, John Wells
Christina Ochoa has become one of the most versatile presences on TV since making her debut in 2008. With early roles on Modern Family and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, she landed her breakout role on the El Rey series Matador playing Karen Morales. From there she starred in SYFY's Blood Drive, The CW's Valor, and ABC's A Million Little Things, before landing on the TNT crime drama series Animal Kingdom. I spoke to the actress while promoting her latest film, the neo-western Boon, to talk about what to expect from Renn in the sixth and final season and her current ABC/Hulu series Promised Land.
Christina Ochoa in Animal Kingdom
In Animal Kingdom, Ochoa's Renn is Craig's (Ben Robson) on-and-off-again girlfriend as well as mother to their son, Nick. An experienced cocaine dealer who also happened to deal with Craig, she struggles to maintain her clientele. She helps the Codys by participating in the skate park heist in the fifth season. "On season six of 'Animal Kingdom,' Renn is finally evolving and I think the relationship, especially between Craig and Renn, we're going to see new colors and that's one of the beauties, too," she said. "Now we get to see Renn and Craig. She's a mother now, so maybe they have to team up in a different way. Maybe instead of being hot-and-cold and against each other, now they have to learn to be a team."
Praise for Animal Kingdom Director
Ochoa had nothing but the best to say about director John Wells about the Jonathan Lisco-created series. "When you have John Wells and someone like that also at the helm of your ship kind of really pushing for a dynamic in a relationship that grows and evolves over time, he's done this forever, right? He's had the long-running family dynamic shows, and he's had 'E.R.', 'Shameless', and he's done all these really magnificent, colorful stories," she said. "He knows how to bring a new side to a relationship and to things and to a character each season in a way that I don't know parallels anybody else's."
Ochoa's role as Veronica Sandoval, eldest daughter of Joe Sandoval (John Ortiz), on ABC's Promised Land was completely different. The series focuses on two Latino families vying for wealth and power in California's Sonoma Valley. "I am a very morally-sound, kind of ethically-based, family-driven kind of goody, not goody-two-shoes, but someone who really wants to do right," she said. "I want to do it right on that show. It's the opposite. I will overthink things in order to make sure everyone is happy." All episodes of Promised Land are available on Hulu. There's no current date set for the final season of Animal Kingdom. Cinedigm's Boon comes to theaters, on-demand and on digital on April 1st.