Prepare yourselves to see ALL MY CHILDREN's Vincent Irizarry (David) as you've never seen him before in the Lifetime Original Movie Left To Die! In the shocking true story, Irizarry plays Nick Kakeris, who travels to Ecuador on vacation with friend Sandra Chase, played by Barbara Hershey. "And while we were there, we were set up at the airport by Interpol to make it appear as though we were trying to smuggle drugs out of the country," the actor explains in character. "The two of us are thrown into separate jails. You get to see the conditions that she and I are living in. It's like hell on Earth, basically. The movie is about the daughter's efforts to do everything within her power to get her mother out of there."
But does that mean that nobody is trying to get Nick out of his own prison? "I don't want to give too much away," Irizarry says with a laugh. "But yeah, efforts are certainly made. You do see me in jail. I have numerous scenes in jail, so you get to see what my life is like simultaneously with hers..."
The movie was shot on location, with Bogota, Columbia standing in for Ecuador, and Irizarry's prison scenes were done in an actual jail. "It was really amazing," he says with a rueful chuckle. "It was a grueling few days of shooting, doing those scenes down there. They're also very emotional scenes. So it was physically as well as emotionally very demanding, doing this work. But it was great. It was exciting. It was a very meaty role in that regard."
But while visiting the country, the actors had time to explore their surroundings while not being tortured on camera! "They gave us a guide during the days when I wasn't working," Irizarry reveals, "if I wanted to do any touristy things. Which I did. I went to the Botero Museum, which was amazing. Fernando Botero, he's a painter. I know of him because there was a wardrobe designer on AMC who was a huge fan of his and he had big posters in his room of this guy. And another thing I got to see there was a museum of gold about the history of gold in South America. And there are mountains in Bogota that take you up to 10,000 feet above sea level, so that was great."
Taking breaks to enjoy the sights and sounds of Bogota was a welcome break from not only the stress of shooting grueling prison scenes, but also the pressure of portraying an actual person. "Considering that Tammi Chase — the daughter who the movie's about — is one of the executive producers of the film, I felt a real strong obligation to satisfy what her vision was of this movie," Irizarry says. "And to do it justice. Since it was such a personal story for her and her mother, with everything that they'd experienced and gone through.
"I felt a greater sense of responsibility than doing a movie where there aren't real people involved," he continues. "These are real people, and that's important. You want to make sure you're doing everybody justice by the way you're presenting the character, the person, and telling the story. And they were very happy with it. So I felt very good about it."
You can judge for yourself when Left To Die debuts on Lifetime this Sunday, November 4, at 9:00 pm EST!