Unlike the rest of Hollywood, actor Julio Oscar Mechoso doesn't retreat to the Hamptons when he has some downtime between gigs; he heads to his local public school. The star of the upcoming WB comedy Greetings from Tucson has for the last 14 years maintained a second career as a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
"I don't like to sit on a seat and not do anything and just wait for somebody to give me a job," he tells TV Guide Online. "I enjoy [subbing] and helping those kids out."
However, if Tucson emerges as a hit — the series premieres Friday, Sept. 20 at 9:30 pm/ET — Mechoso confesses that he'll likely ditch class. "As long as I'm under contract at the WB, I will refrain from substitute teaching," he says. "The minute I don't have a contract or another film, I will go back to subbing."
Well, if the Cuban-born performer has anything to say about it, Tucson will enjoy a long life on the WB. To that end, he's ignoring talk that his show will serve as a gauge for whether mainstream audiences can embrace a sitcom about a Latino family.
"My responsibility is concentrating on my role — showing up early, showing up ready, doing the best that I can," says Mechoso, who has appeared in such films as Internal Affairs and Tortilla Soup. "That's the pressure that I have. What's going to happen beyond that is out of my control. I can only worry about the example I set on that set, and try to do the best job that I can with what they give me. That's the pressure I feel, and believe me, that's more than enough pressure."