INT: Paz Vega
For her first major role in an American film, Spanish actress Paz Vega hit the jackpot with Spanglish. Not only did she get to work with one of the Americas biggest stars (Adam Sandler) and one of its most acclaimed directors (James L. Brooks), she didnt even have to learn much English for the role. Playing a headstrong Mexican housekeeper and single mom, she spends most of the movie talking in Spanish as she attempts to find common ground with the Beverly Hills family that employs her. Vega stars alongside Sandler, a sensitive father plagued with a neurotic wife, a drunken mother-in-law and a chubby, insecure daughter. Though the language barrier between them is significant, the two eventually are drawn together by their common concern for their children, and also by the fact that shes really hot. If theres anything Ive learned from my travels abroad, its that the language of hotness is universal. Hotness transcends all cultural differences. Paz stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about her experience making Spanglish, opening this Friday. Check it out. Other than the language, how was filming here different from shooting in Spain? Oh, the differences? Living in another city and not knowing anybody, sometimes I feel alone and its difficult. But in the film, on set, its the same. I just have to learn some lines, cause of the English. You were actually learning English while you were doing the film, right? Uh huh. Did you have a tutor or did you just learn as you went along? When I was shooting I just talked with people, because I didnt have time to have classes after the shoot, it was impossible. Now Im taking a class here in LA, with a teacher. And talking, its the best way, (and) watching TV. Now I understand; in the beginning I watched TV and I couldnt understand. Do you still live in Spain? Yes.
And youre just here for this? Do you come to LA often? Oh, yes, yes. (Im here) now for the press junket. Im learning English before the movie Id never been here, just ten days for a vacation with my husband, but Id never been here. But now, in the last year, I spent more time here than in Spain. I was here for one year. Was it difficult for you to play a different kind of Latina, somebody from Mexico, not Spain? Did you have to study Mexican culture? No, because the Spanish and Mexican cultures are very similar. The Latin cultures are the same. What I had to learn was the accent. How familiar were you with Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni before you were working on the film and what was it like to work with them? With Adam the work was funny, really really funny. The mood and the crew on set was always great, because this movie is a comedy and all the cast, they are so funny. Adam, you know, is funny, all the time joking and making us laugh. Tea, shes fantastic, she, in the movie, every time crying but shes amazing, like a clown, hilarious. Um, Cloris (Leachman) is the best. She has a lot of energy. You have such great chemistry with Shelbie Bruce, the girl who plays your daughter. She has a natural way, shes a kid and shes great, shes a fantastic little woman and actress. It was very interesting to work with kids. I never worked with kids before and it was very interesting. Sometimes, you know, kids get tired and blah, blah, blah and I would say, Shh, shut up! like a mother. Show some respect! How do you work so well with children? Its interesting; at the same time its difficult. Somebody in Spain said that you should never work with kids or with animals because it is very, very hard. And this movie, kids and animal and it was great. No problem. I loved working with kids because the energy is great. Do you have kids in your life now? Yes, cousins. Now, many friends of my generation are pregnant or have kids.
Do you understand your characters insistence on preserving her culture, even though she was in another country? Yes, of course. I think it is important to maintain your personality, your roots, very important. In my case its very important. And I have a Latin or European lifestyle, whatever you want. The interesting is to mix this culture with another culture and not cut things out. Your character, Flor, resisted learning English for six years. Did you encounter people who did the same? Yeah, many people. I had an opportunity to meet many women from Mexico, living here for 13 years, she doesnt speak English. This is the extreme. But I think, here for example in LA, the minority is very big, its not a minority. Its normal that people everyday talk to Spanish speakers. What do you like best about America and what do you like the least? Ay, America, I like the spirit. Because American people here believe in something. I like that spirit. And what do you dislike? I dont know, I dont know. Well, for example, the fast food. Its terrible. Another young Spanish woman, Penelope Cruz, came here and is now very much an American actress. Are you looking to do the same, or will you go back to Spain? I dont know. This is my third Hollywood movie. And Im reading very good scripts and Im very open to proposals. Are you afraid of that kind of exposure that Penelope experienced with the American press? No, no, I dont worry about that because I dont do what I like is to live in Spain and work here, its not mine I think now is just the plane, is just work those hours, sleep and thats it, when you wake up you are here. I would like to maintain my home in Spain.
What are your plans for the holidays? Some place in Central America Costa Rica for the holidays. Vacation and thats it. You dont have family and the holidays together? This year its very difficult because everyone is working. My mother is working in Barcelona with my sister. My father is in Sevilla, my mother in law is in its like and this year I said, just bikini, towel and thats it. Oh and coconuts. (laughs) What is your husbands name? My husband is Orson, like Orson Welles. Is he British? Venezuelan. How did you meet? In vacation, three years ago in an island in Spain. It was love at first sight. And hes great. Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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