Those of us in North America are likely not very familiar with Eiza Gonzalez, but that figures to change soon. Eiza, who hails from Mexico and is quite a popular singer in her homeland, can currently be seen viciously terrorizing the Titty Twister in Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series" as Satanico Pandemonium. Yes, Eiza had the unenviable job of taking on the role made famous by Salma Hayek in Rodriguez's 1996 genre classic, but she certainly has no trouble making it her own. Especially impressive considering it's actually two roles: one sultry and seductive (which Eiza can play in her sleep), the other completely unrecognizable, not to mention freakishly terrifying. She may look delicate, but make no mistake, Eiza can get as rough-and-tumble with the best of them.
In our latest Hottie Stop interview, Eiza discusses the fun of playing a hideous monster, the power women have over men (we can't argue with that), balancing acting with her other career as a singer, and auditioning for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII!
What was it like tackling the snake-dance sequence in the show, considering it's one of the more iconic moments from the film?
It was an interesting process. I feel like nothing is ever going to be the same as the first time around, so it was not my intention to imitate what Salma did. I wanted to do my own thing, but also wanted to respect the original. It was just crazy, I loved it. When I got to shoot the scene I was obviously very nervous, but also super excited. I wanted to dig into the work, I had no time to be scared. There are no second chances, that's the moment and it's there or it's not. I couldn't doubt myself. I just had to flow with the music and flow with the snake, I just loved it. It's different from the original, but you see Robert's stamp, he's an amazing director. He made me look ten times cooler than I am in real life, which I really appreciated. He told me to do whatever I felt like, and that's what I did.
Is it intimidating to be doing that sort of sensual dance in front of so many people?
It's not just the fact that it's obviously an iconic scene that everyone knows, you want to be on the same level and do your best. And you're in front of 50 extras and they're all guys and you're just in your little thong. You're just trying to maintain your cool. But after the few times I went through it with Robert and I knew where the cameras were going to be, I just felt super comfortable.
What was working with that giant snake like? You had another experience with a giant pit of them earlier in the season.
Thankfully, I had the chance to work with it before, as you said. When I'm thrown into the pit of snakes, the same snake I danced with was in there. So when I got to dance with it, I was very comfortable. In between takes I'd just be hanging out with it. I mean, you're never going to get very comfortable, you know they're animals and they're going to react however they feel like it. It's hard, because you feel the snake moving on your skin and going in between your legs, it's unsettling. But you have to maintain your cool, you can't scream.
Yeah, it would be awkward if Satanico just started screaming during that scene.
Exactly! It was like, "Okay, this is the best moment to show how good of an actor you are. If you're scared, you're not going to show it." So that's what I did, I was acting like I wasn't scared or nervous. And I think I did a pretty good job of not being scared!
Were you a fan of the film?
Oh, definitely. If you want to go gore, if you want to go blood and violence, you're going to go with Robert. Who better? I love that even though the vampire thing is very popular right now, he doesn't go for the "beautiful people who have fangs" look, you know? He goes all out, dark, unsettling monsters. I love turning into one of those, going through all the make-up with Greg Nicotero and transforming into this evil monster. I really enjoyed ripping off some limbs, and being poured in blood. Everyone thought I was just this little girl, but when they all saw me running around with this crazy make-up, no one would talk to me because I looked really ugly and weird. I have a very tomboyish side to me and I like to be very rough and dirty. I just wanted to go to bed with all the make-up on and just keep on doing it the next day. It was like a grownup version of Disney for me.
Is it safe to say that you and Satanico don't share many character traits?
Um, well… (Laughs) I'm definitely more laid back. She's way more powerful than I am, way stronger and sexier than I am in real life. I've always played very innocent characters during my career, so it's very cool to play a character like this.
Robert doesn't just go for the pretty girl who doesn't do anything, just stands there and is pretty. He always has them be badasses, you've seen it in many of his movies, like SIN CITY and MACHETE, EL MARIACHI. It's so fun to be part of this legacy of badass women. There's a sexual side of course, but Robert definitely embraces what a woman is. Women have this power over men - and this is something that no one can deny - women have a certain power over men and can control them, and it's beautiful that he plays with it and goes to this dark and bloody side with it. I loved working with him.
Did playing Satanico make you think about what it would be like to be a vampire?
I swear, I never thought I'd get so into it, until I was already in the make-up. There's just something about being in the make-up that makes you feel very powerful. Even though it's very uncomfortable, the contact lenses are terrible. I couldn't grab anything with the long, long foam fingers I was wearing. Trying to eat was very awkward. But when I was on set and covered in blood, I switched it and became the monster.
You also have a second career as a singer, is that something that is even more important to you than acting?
They're completely different careers. There's something about being up on stage and singing… The feel of being up in front of the public is like being one-on-one with them, it's vibrating. I love touring and everything. But the experience of transforming into something else is just mind-blowing. It's like being that inner child and never growing up. I'm so passionate about acting and it's what I want to focus on right now, I don't want to let it go. I feel like right now, this is my chance. And I'll definitely go back to singing, but right now this is my focus. Especially in the states; I've been doing both of them for so long in Mexico, but for me it's very important to transition to the states.
Has it been tough balancing the two?
Yes, definitely. I was lucky enough to work on both careers when I was young, but it was tough to shoot and then go on tour. You don't have time to screw it up, you have to be "on," and that helps you mature a lot. It makes you disciplined, and I think that helped me get where I am, because I'm very disciplined.
Do you ever google yourself?
No! (Laughs) I try to avoid it, because… oh man, some of the things you read on the internet. I love to google things about the show and see what people are saying about it, I'm just very excited about it.
I read that you auditioned for the new Star Wars films, is that true or is the internet lying to me again?
Yes, I did. You always want to be a part of something like that. You never know, hopefully one day soon I'll get to be a part of that and so much more. I'm just so blessed to be doing anything right now that is well-respected. I never thought I'd be doing something with Robert Rodriguez, this has been a dream come true. I'd love to work with him again one day, I'd love to work with J.J. Abrams, and the many other directors that I admire. Hopefully it will happen one day.
I'm sure it will. Thank you for your time!
You can follow Eiza on Twitter right HERE and check out her official website right HERE. "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series" airs on the El Rey Network every Tuesday night - below you'll find a video of Eiza's sexy snake dance!