American Vandal, a Netflix parody of true crime documentaries is effective in part because it cast mostly unknown actors. It's because of this that audiences could easily be fooled into thinking that Dylan's story was real. However, Tyler Alvarez plays Peter Maldonado on American Vandal, and you've definitely the teen filmmaker and narrator before.
Both younger and older audiences know Alvarez from something, though American Vandal is a more central role than his previous jobs. He was a series regular on the Nickelodeon supernatural telenovela Every Witch Way, playing Diego Rueda — a member of the swim team who can control the elements and was frequently a love interest. That's not exactly the type of teen drama that American Vandal portrays, but at least he knows his way around a locker. As a member of this cast, he attended the Kid's Choice Awards in two separate years, appeared in a TV movie, and took part in a crossover episode of the Nickelodeon series Talia In The Kitchen.
Alvarez also has a pretty hefty Netflix credit under his belt. He plays Gloria's son Benny on Orange Is The New Black. Fans of the hard-hitting satire know that while Alvarez has only appeared in a handful of episodes, his character plays an important role in the series. Benny develops a relationship with Sofia's son Michael, which causes all kinds of conflict, but then ultimately WHO DOES? comes to Sofia's aid. It's a good arc for such a small part.
As that show centers around crime, justice, and, in Benny's case, delinquency, the actor's two main credits make him a perfect fit for American Vandal. At least his role as Peter, an inquisitive filmmaker with questionable documentarian motives, is a bit lighter, though played with a level of seriousness that makes it all the more effective as a true crime spoof.
Peter's character is seemingly inspired by other documentarians who show their faces on film — Nev and Rel Schulman from Catfish come to mind immediately. In an interview with Bustle, co-creator Dan Perrault said that Peter's investigative persona was also inspired by Serial. "The most important part of casting was finding someone who could become as invested in this case as Sarah Koenig," Perrault said. Peter's glasses are almost certainly a nod to the podcaster's signature look.
Alvarez CHARACTER NAME HERE NOT REAL NAME starts the series as a neutral observer and fellow student trying to find the truth, and gets more and more involved — though his narration maintains that even, calm, NPR-like tone. [It's a familiar character for this series.] CUT Because of the hoodies and the high school setting, Peter might even remind you a little bit of Clay from 13 Reasons Why. That said, even if your only image of a documentary filmmaker is Mark from the musical Rent, you'll get what American Vandal is going for with Peter.
The New York actor's other roles include Larry in High School Lover, a Lifetime thriller staring François Arnaud, a short film, and 2013's The House That Jack Built. In that film, Alvarez played the younger version of Javier Muñoz's character, which may interest any Hamilton fans out there. His first professional acting job was a Tostino's Pizza Rolls commercial, and he is slated to appear in the upcoming James Franco film The Pretenders.
While Alvarez is just up and coming enough to blend into the background on American Vandal, and appear to audiences like just an ordinary teen working an ordinary case with a whole lot of passion, he might not stay that hidden for long. He's been working quite a bit in the last few years, and whether American Vandal fans ultimately love or hate Peter, this could be a starring turn for the actor.