After three seasons on cult teen drama Shadowhunters, Alberto Rosende made the move to primetime network TV in 2019 joining the long-running ensemble show Chicago Fire.
His character Gallo Blake, a young and impulsive firefighter with a tragic childhood, was hired by Captain Matt Casey after witnessing the candidate climbing five floors on his own to save a man. He has gone on to become a fan favorite, largely thanks to his on-screen (and off-screen) friendships with firefighter Darren Ritter, played by Daniel Kyri, and paramedic Violet Mikami (Hanako Greensmith).
"We're all the new blood and we bond over things," says Alberto, acknowledging that the three are potentially the ones who will take this show into another ten seasons.
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"Like, when all the guys who have been there a long time make a joke about a season three reference, we are [lost] and we'll bring things up from TikTok and they're like 'what?'
"So we get along really well, and we have so much fun."
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You've started filming season 10, how is it going?
It's going well. Every episode you get a cool feeling, to get to see what is happening and to see where things are moving for your storyline, it's just exciting.
And we're keeping everyone on their toes.
How do you reset between seasons?
I am someone who, when I get a new interest or hobby, I dive into it. A lot of the actors and crew play golf or ride motorcycles so during this break I now feel fully welcomed in because Chief - Eamonn Walker - and Tony have taken me out for motorcycle rides.
I learned how to ride bikes, and I got pretty good, and I've played a lot of golf.
I like learning new things that will help me get closer to everyone and have more opportunities to see people off set. When we work it's such an environment where - don't get me wrong, we have way too much fun at work - but we also know we're working and we know COVID protocols and so it's been cool that this break I've got to hang out with everyone and see their lives.
Do you call Chicago home now?
Technically I live in Chicago now - I just got my Illinois driving licence! But I do live in LA, my partner is there and my friends are there.
Do you have a ritual to get back into the head of Gallo?
I watch an episode of the show and click back in, and then I review everything before I read the first episode. We left it at a cliffhanger so it was good to run through that again and think about what had happened, who's in trouble, and break it down from there.
I also go to a physical place where I think Gallo comes from. He's impulsive and it sits in his gut and I know that I have to sit into it.
Are you similar to Gallo?
In a lot of ways we're similar but I have the thing in my head that says, 'no that is extremely dangerous, don't do that.' Gallo does not!
But we have a similar sense of humor. I am a little older - I am closer to 30 and I think he's closer to 20 and has a younger mentality. He hasn't reckoned with his mortality. He has an understanding of loss, but he has a youthful idealism and energy that allows him to run in head first.
How much input have you had in your character development?
I like to sit down with the writers but it's been such a whirlwind I haven't had the chance yet to sit down with Derek and plot out [this season].
They only ever give me a structure, 'we know we want Gallo to deal with this and then there is this coming up, and what are your thoughts?' and generally I say 'that's great', but I like to know where he is going, what am I working on.
There are some times with slight improvisations on set, between Daniel and Hanako and I, and sometimes they love it and sometimes they say 'stick to the script,' but I know they are open to ideas and I am so excited for the outline they have for Gallo, Ritter and Violet, the three amigos!
Season 9 saw Ritter, Gallo and Violet begin to consider a side business. What can you tell us about where that may go?
We will get to see that idea of their side hustle, and that's so cool - I want to continue to explore that, and hope we get to see more of their lives and what they end up doing. We don't let our firefighters stay idle and we know Violet is driven and Ritter has his head on right so they are people that will push [ideas]. Gallo is a little more up in the clouds and I hope it grounds him.
But I don't want the journey to be easy. It's nice that it's happening now when people have discovered a second passion or new careers, or are starting a business after the last year, and I hope we get to show that it's difficult but it can happen.
The three of them, and us as actors, we all get along really well and although Daniel was there a season or two longer, and I was there a bit before Hanako, we're all the new blood and we bond over things.
Like, when all the guys who have been there a long time make a joke about a season three reference, we are [lost] or we'll bring things up from TikTok and they're like 'what?' So we get along really well, and we have so much fun.
Did your friendship with Daniel inspire the writers to build this friendship between Gallo and Ritter, or did you become close because your characters spent more time together?
I think it's a cool line that Daniel and I have been able to find. We have action scenes like Casey and Severide - you will see Ritter do some awesome stuff, Daniel is killing it this season, and then we know what Gallo likes to get into - but then the two of us, and Violet, have also found our own comedic timing.
And that's what the show does well, it finds those moments for everyone of heroism and comedy and failure.
But I think the chemistry came about at the same time as my friendship with Daniel, as they wrote more for us we got closer, so it was easier and it grew very organically.
Do you think we'll see Gallo look to settle down and build something with Violet? What would you like to see for him?
I do think he needs to ground himself more, and I don't know if that's with Violet or someone else. I think some people should learn that on their own.
But I do like the idea of a friendship that's forming between not just Violet and Gallo, but Violet, Gallo and Ritter.
It's a solid foundation of what we saw at the beginning of house 51, we're seeing it again. I wouldn't want Gallo to ruin that. There's the phrase you shouldn't [expletive] where you eat and he's always at the firehouse.
Though he has already done that…
I think they all have a lot of room to grow, but one of the things is that when you're in the firehouse your colleagues understand your lifestyle, and I am curious if someone outside that world could date someone like Gallo, who calls four hours late and says 'I almost died!'
The series is known for its crossovers, which show would you love to appear on?
I've always wanted a cool scene with PD. They're all really cool and nice so that would be really fun.
I haven't really chilled with anyone from the other shows but I always end up watching some of PD and I think it looks so cool.
What have been your favourite moments to film?
My first moment is still really cool. It was my first day on set and I was meeting almost everyone - ambo, engine, truck, squad - and it was the day I had to climb the balconies and you were introduced to Gallo, and that was so cool.
I got to meet new actors who I would maybe be working with, I was doing a stunt I'd only heard of being attempted by people not fully sober, it was just a fun coming together of things I love to do!
But any time I work with Christian Stolte or Jesse Spencer I never feel like I am working, it feels like a great time and as an acting geek it is so cool and I forget I have to be acting too.
Also, working with the great Eamonn. There have been times when he has done some beautiful work and it was so cool [to watch].
And Daniel. We just shot our first night shoot and it was so impressive to see Daniel doing the things he was doing at 3 in the morning.
Where do you see yourself and this show? Would you love to stay for 10 seasons?
Ten seasons does seem like a lot, I will say. Ten seasons anywhere is a lot. Generally actors, from what I understand, can't go into a job thinking that far ahead. The chances of it going that long are so low it's hard to make an episode, much less a season, or five, or ten!
I know future Alberto will laugh at this answer but I just want to feel challenged. This show is challenging me and I am growing as a person and an actor.
So I will be here as long as I am being challenged. We have days where it's physically challenging and then we have days when we sit in the common room and joke around and shoot TV.
I will be here as long as the universe wants me to be here. But also the industry is changing in such a way, I don't know what will even be common in a few years, will we ever see a TV show for 10 seasons again?
One Chicago returns to screens on Wednesday 22 September at 8/7c on NBC