Q&A: Melissa Barrera survives, on screen and in Hollywood

Since her breakthrough function as Vanessa in the movie adaptation of “In The Heights,” Melissa Barrera has been working continuous on the large and small screen. Solely this yr, she appeared in “Scream 5” and is filming a sequel, and stars in the upcoming Benjamin Millepied’s reimagining of the opera “Carmen” and Lori Evans Taylor’s “Bed Rest,” which she additionally produced.

Beginning Thursday, the Mexican actress might be seen in “Keep Breathing,” a Netflix miniseries in regards to the lone survivor of a airplane crash in the center of the Canadian wilderness.

Barrera — together with Ana de Armas — is among the many few Hispanic actresses given all kinds of roles, far past the characters Latinas have been allowed to play, whereas the dialogue in regards to the lack of illustration continues in Hollywood.

“It’s so easy for the industry to just keep us in the corner and keep us on a side lane and just give us these certain opportunities that they have designated are for us,” Barrera stated in a latest interview with The Related Press from Montreal, the place she is capturing “Scream 6.” “If we don’t fight to come to the center lanes, they’re going to keep us on the sidelines the entire time.”

“I crave the kind of representation where my identity is not the center and the most important part about the story that we’re telling,” she added. “I know it’s necessary, and we do need the Latino and Latina stories to be getting told, and I want to do that. But I also just want to tell stories.”

In “Keep Breathing,” Barrera, 32, performs New York lawyer Liv, a chilly, work-oriented girl who has to battle an unforgiving wilderness and previous private traumas to outlive. It was a really demanding function that obtained her to the purpose of exhaustion quick, however the actress says she pushed by way of and used that in her efficiency, which she additionally fueled with traits of her youthful self.

Solutions have been edited for brevity and readability.


AP: The collection begins with the airplane crash. Have you ever ever had a nerve-racking expertise in the air?

BARRERA: I’m fairly chill in planes. Actually, would not have a care in the world. I’ve by no means had unhealthy turbulence. I’ve by no means had an air pocket the place the airplane drops. I’ve by no means had an expertise the place the airplane like touches and goes again, you recognize, like these sorts of issues that will make your abdomen drop. By no means had that! So, I’m not frightened of planes in any respect.

AP: How did you deal with that scene then?

BARRERA: I imply, I’ve had desires of airplane crashes. I’ve this recurring dream the place I’m on a airplane and I look out the window and there’s one other airplane that’s coming straight in direction of us, and proper earlier than they’re going to crash into us, I get up, each time. It’s terrifying. I don’t know, you simply channel another worry. I channel the concept of dying and not attending to see my household ever once more, and my family members. That’s often what I’m going to. And in addition it helped that they constructed this unbelievable rig, and they put a airplane on it. It was like a Disneyland journey. The airplane would transfer and shake, and that helps additionally.

AP: It appears like a really demanding function, each bodily and emotionally. Was it as exhausting because it appears?

BARRERA: It was tougher. (Laughs.) I knew going into it, due to the character of the present — you’re exterior, I’m alone more often than not, it’s very bodily and additionally the emotional arc is so intense. I really feel prefer it’s truly a survival present about surviving your thoughts, surviving your insecurities, your childhood traumas. It’s all about psychological survival, and I knew that it was going to be exhausting, so I ready myself emotionally, mentally. That usually works in each single factor that I do: I don’t get drained, I can do the entire shoot and then, on the finish, I have to be in mattress for every week. This time, two weeks into the shoot I couldn’t stand up from mattress. I used to be like, “What did I get myself into? How am I going to survive another two and a half months of this?” And you then simply do it! You employ the exhaustion and you place it into the character and let it gas the frustration and the anxiousness and the panic and all of that.

AP: Liv is a lawyer, you’re an artist. Did you discover any frequent floor between the 2 of you?

BARRERA: Loads! I discovered that we had been related in loads of methods. We’re each very work-oriented, we prefer to maintain ourselves busy. I was extra like Liv in that I’ve hassle speaking emotions. I’d somewhat simply maintain transferring and keep distracted so I don’t need to take care of emotional stuff, so it was simple for me to revert to how I was and put that into her.

AP: What made you modify in actual life?

BARRERA: My husband (Mexican singer and entrepreneur Paco Zazueta.) My husband taught me lots about speaking and letting individuals in and trusting and being expressive and all of that. He’s modified me lots in the time that we’ve been collectively, I’ve discovered lots from him.

AP: By the quantity of labor you’ve been doing since “In the Heights,” it looks as if it opened many doorways for you. How do you’re feeling about your profession at this level?

BARRERA: I really feel good. I really feel like each single factor is a step up the ladder. Undoubtedly, “In the Heights” opened loads of doorways for me — that was my first huge film, in order that was the primary time that lots of people noticed me. I like with the ability to present completely different sides of me with completely different characters. I try to all the time transfer to a venture that’s going to be fully completely different, or very completely different from what I simply did. And I really feel like I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been ready to do this up to now. However I nonetheless really feel like I’m simply beginning.

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