Edgar Ramírez Says Netflix’s 'Florida Man' Series "Gives a Spin" to the Bonkers Internet Meme (EXCLUSIVE)
In an exclusive interview with 'Distractify,' Edgar Ramírez got candid about Netflix's miniseries 'Florida Man,' which is based on the viral meme of the same name.
Director Janicza Bravo famously turned a viral 2015 Twitter thread by A'Ziah “Zola” King into 2020's surreal drama Zola. Variety's Owen Gleiberman deemed the film "a visionary tale of the digital age."
Similarly, on April 13, 2023, Netflix released its crime drama limited series Florida Man, which is based on the chaotic, bizarre, and unthinkable alligator-centric headlines that spawned the "Florida Man" internet meme.
From showrunner Donald Todd (Samantha Who?) and Jason Bateman’s (Ozark) production company, Aggregate Films, Florida Man follows the misadventures of Mike Valentine (Edgar Ramírez), a recovering gambling addict and disgraced cop who's "forced to return to his home state of Florida for a shady mission only to get swept up in a wild — and deadly — treasure hunt," per the official synopsis.
Once upon a time, Mike Valentine's escapades could've easily landed him a feature on the now-defunct Twitter account @_FloridaMan.
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, star Edgar Ramírez (Deliver Us from Evil) opened up about how Florida Man spins the viral meme. Let's discuss the origins of the internet staple as well as Edgar's thoughts on the series.
The Florida Man meme gained traction in the mid-2010s.
When outlandish headlines like "Florida Man Tries to Steal Car From Jail Parking Lot Moments After Being Released for Car Theft" and "Florida Man Arrested for Trying to Get Alligator Drunk" hit the internet, hilarity ensued.
Per Esquire, several subreddits and Tumblrs dedicated themselves to spotlighting zany Florida headlines, as did the famous Twitter account @_FloridaMan. Created in 2013, the Twitter account compiled various Sunshine State news stories and pretended the crimes were all committed by the same lawless man. With over 340,000 followers, the account referred to the fictional character as the "world’s worst superhero.”
In early 2019, the "Florida Man Challenge" made waves, prompting internet users to type their birthdays into Google along with the words "Florida Man." The results are always a trip.
As the bulk of internet users howled and cackled over the Florida Man's illegal antics, others questioned the ethics of the running joke. A May 2019 article by the Columbia Journalism Review rightfully sucked the fun out of the meme, suggesting that most of the viral stories "simply document the travails of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and homeless.”
Additionally, the man behind the Twitter account, Frank Campion, eventually felt the meme made excuses for bullying.
“How much do I want to be a party to essentially making fun of people on the worst day of their lives, even if they have done something wrong? Like, who gave the internet the right to add to someone’s punishment?” he told the The Washington Post.
The account disappeared in July 2019. The meme, however, lives on via headlines poking fun at former U.S. President Donald Trump — whose Mar-a-Lago estate sits in Palm Beach County — and Netflix's newest miniseries.
Actor Edgar Ramírez believes Netflix's 'Florida Man' "creates metaphors out of life."
“[People] laugh at the mug shots and the headlines, but what’s the story behind the meme?” Donald Todd said during an interview with Tudum. "The brightest sun casts the darkest shadows, so people can hide in shadows," he continued, referring to the state's nickname.
"All of that creates an ethos that’s perfect for a bright and noir-ish crime story."
Edgar Ramírez is in awe of the masterpiece Donald has concocted.
"I think that Donald thought — you know, as a creator and writer and all the amazing writers that collaborated with the show, they created something very unique, something that, to me, is very classic," he exclusively told Distractify. "I mean the show happens in Florida and he recreates all the craziness of a place like Florida."
Though Edgar said the show "gives a spin to the Florida Man meme," he believes weird happenings can unfold anywhere.
"The reality is that life anywhere you are is filled with strange circumstances. You know, we always find ourselves at some point in our lives in awkward situations," he stated. "I don't know, I find that very moving. I mean, how we navigate those situations, I think it's very moving."
Experience Mike Valentine's Florida-tastic journey in Florida Man, which is currently streaming on Netflix.
Reporting by Gabrielle Bernardini