Entertainment

Ana De Armas Was About To Pass On Her Role As The ‘Pretty Latina Caretaker’ That Just Landed Her A Golden Globes Nomination

The Hollywood Foreign Press announced its picks for the year’s best in movies and TV this week. A few Latinos made the list. The rising star, Ana de Armas is making her Golden Globes debut this year for her role in “Knives Out.” Good thing the actress didn’t pass on the role. Here’s everything you need to know about the Cuban starlet. 

Rising star Ana de Armas was nominated for a Golden Globe.

The Cuban-Spanish star is making her debut at the Globes. She was nominated for Best Comedy Actress for the mystery-comedy movie “Knives Out,” in which she plays a nurse with an undocumented mother.

The description of the character seemed too cliché for De Armas, and she was about to pass on it.

According to De Armas, she almost rejected the role because she thought it was a pure stereotype of a Latina woman, “I get this email saying, ‘Nurse in a house and she’s Latina and she’s pretty and this is the scene,’” she said in an interview with AP. “And I was like ‘Are you kidding me? I don’t know what this is about.’ That little description doesn’t say anything to me, it doesn’t speak to me.” Until she delved deeper into the complexity of the character.

De Armas is determined to prove that she’s more than an “exotic” face with an accent.

Although she speaks naturally with an accent, she’s worked hard to prove herself capable of playing characters outside of her ethnicity and pushes her team to send her out on auditions for everything.

She studied theater in Havana and moved to Madrid to try her luck.

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De Armas attended theater school in Havana. Later, she moved to Madrid with $300 saved up to try a bigger pond. It was an amount that she assumed would help her survive for a few months (it would have in Cuba) but she quickly discovered otherwise. Still, de Armas found a way to land big roles in television and film. After 8 years in Madrid, she felt that she was ready to move on and try Hollywood even though she knew very little English.

After her initial skepticism, de Armas decided to give “Knives Out” a chance. 

She had to fight for access to the closely guarded “Knives Out” script, but after she read it she realized she had to do it. De Armas flew from the set of ‘Sergio’ in Thailand, to Boston to audition for Johnson, who had cast a wide net for the role of Marta (one of the only non-movie stars in the film that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Christopher Plummer).

De Armas plays ‘Marta’ the “pretty, Latina, caretaker.”

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So, you are gonna keep digging? ????

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When she read the email describing the part, “Nurse. Latina. Pretty,” she remembers, it didn’t speak to her. But she was later surprised to find our that Marta was a multilayered character who was also the center of the story. 

Marta is the caretaker of legendary mystery author Harlan Thrombey, whose extended family is too busy counting the zeroes in their bank accounts to recognize their own privilege. 

After Harlan dies a sudden and grisly death, Marta is plunged into a shark’s tank of relatives hungry for his estate. Meanwhile two local detectives and a Southern-fried private investigator named Benoit Blanc snoop around, suspecting foul play.

The working-class character, specifically written as Latina, holds her own against a clan of upper-crust frenemies. 

She’s not just a peripheral window dressing or a stereotype or expendable. “Usually, when you’re Latina, what is usually highlighted is not necessarily the most positive qualities,” said De Armas. “These characters, they don’t exist.”

“Latinas rarely exist at the center of a film, especially not in the context that we have in this movie. So, because of the character description, my imagination immediately went to a portrayal that was not necessarily very positive or exciting in relation to Latin culture,” de Armas told “The Hollywood Reporter. “When I finally read the script, I realized that the description didn’t fit at all because Marta is so much more than that.”

De Armas was not the only Latin American artist nominated for a Golden Globe this year. 

Jennifer Lopez was nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture category for “Hustlers” and Joaquin Phoenix was nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama category for his performance in “Joker”.

During the filming of “Knives Out” de Armas formed a connection with Daniel Craig that would lead her to her next major role. 

De Armas’ friendship with Daniel Craig carried her over into the major franchise the actor stars in; James Bond. Once again though, de Armas was skeptical. A Bond girl is just not someone who resonated with her. After she found out that “Fleabag’s” Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote her scenes, de Armas was heartened to discover that Paloma wasn’t the stereotypically “perfect” Bond girl but “messy and kind of crazy.” “I thought, ‘That Bond woman, I can be,’” she said.

READ: The James Bond Franchise Has Been Around For Decades But Only Recently Cast Its First Latina Bond Girl

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Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

Entertainment

Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

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Recently, it was announced that Amazon studios will be producing a movie based on the lives of groundbreaking Old Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. According to reports, Nicole Kidman is set to play Ball while Spanish actor Javier Bardem will be playing Arnaz.

Seeing as Arnaz is widely viewed as one of the first Latino actors to achieve mainstream success in the United States, this news was positive for many. But for others, the news was less than ideal.

Some critics are lambasting the decision to cast Bardem as Arnaz, seeing that Bardem was born and raised in Spain, and is therefore not Latino.

One disgruntled Twitter user wrote: “I guess it’s really hard to find a Cuban actor so you have to hire a Spaniard…Whitewashing can happen to Latinos too.”

The criticism around Hollywood relying on Spanish actors and actresses to play Latino roles is not a new one. For years, Spanish actors like Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, and Paz Vega have played Latino characters in American movies. The preponderance of this phenomenon have led some people to accuse Hollywood of “white washing” Latino characters by casting Spanish actors.

Antonio Banderas is one of the most famous examples of a Spanish actor who built his career off of playing Latinos.

He has played Latinos for so long that many people think he is, in fact, Latino. But when he was erroneously called a “person of color” by American publications when he was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, there was quiet the outcry in Spain.

Spanish publications condemned American media for having an “absurd obsession” with race, and not understanding that Spaniards are, in fact, white.

Publications wrote arguments like: “Banderas might pass as a Latino ‘person of color,’ to an Arkansas farmer, great-grandson of Germans, but never to a California delivery man born to Guatemalan immigrants.”

To some observers, it seems that Hollywood prefers casting Europeans as Latinos because Hollywood sees Europe as more “sophisticated” than Latinidad.

25-year-old Spaniard Juan Pedro Sánchez, summed up the problem on Twitter, saying: “A lot of people in Spain are bothered if others confuse them for Latin American because Spaniards see Latinos as people of color, and they don’t want to be associated with that.”

He went on to say: “What bothers me is not being considered a person of color, but that people ignore that Spain was a colonizer country. It erases that history.”

The bottom line is, fans are frustrated that Hollywood keeps looking to European actors to cast Latin American characters.

Study after study shows that there is still a stubborn lack of representation for Latinos onscreen. And when there is finally a role that puts a Latino character front and center, Hollywood prefers to hire a European actor over a Latino one.

Javier Bardem is an exceptionally talented actor and there’s no doubt that he will tackle the role of Desi Arnaz with creativity and dedication–but fans’ frustrations at the casting choice doesn’t have to do with Bardem’s acting capabilities. It has to do with the all of the ways that Latinos are discounted–including professionally.

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Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

Culture

Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

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Thanksgiving is almost here and the pandemic is changing things for the holiday season. One of the biggest changes is that it is not advised to gather in person for the celebration. This might seem like a bad thing but it does give you the chance to mix things up before a Zoomed Thanksgiving feast. Here are some Latin Americans substitutions you can make to your Thanksgiving table as a test run for next year.

Turkey is great but give some lechon a try.

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Lechon is a Cuban pork dish made for big celebrations. Thanksgiving is a big celebration the revolves around food. Lechon is already the meat of choice at a Cuban Thanksgiving and is usually the star of the plate. You can spend hours dealing with a turkey for the tenth year in a row or you can be a little more excited and make this delicious Cuban meal.

Tostones (patacones) are the perfect replacement for potatoes.

Tostones, also called patacones, are made using green plantains. They are tough and starchy so they make a great savory side dish. make sure you double fry these bad boys. Once when they are chopped and a second time after smashing them to their iconic flat shape. If you let the plantain ripen, you can use it to make maduros instead, which are sweet.

Or, take those plantains and make mofongo.

Mofongo uses the same green plantains except they are fried once then mashed. It goes great with pork so this is a perfect little dish to pair with the lechon if you really want to go for it. The Puerto Rican dish is something that will forever change your mind about what you’d like to see at Thanksgiving.

Causa rellena is a Peruvian take on the classic mashed potatoes.

If you want to stick to the potatoes you are used to buying, Peruvian causa rellena will given them a Latin American spin. The dish does not take long to make and requires minimal cooking. The most you have to really cook is boiling the potatoes so you can mash them but the way the dish ends it by popping it in the fridge. Just layer the cooked ingredients and set it in the fridge overnight to save on Thanksgiving Day cooking time.

Corn is always a hit, especially as esquites.

Esquites is one corn dish everyone needs to try at least once. It is a neater version of elote because it is all the same ingredients but in an easier to eat way. Better yet, you can make a big batch or opt for personal servings to make it all cleaner and easier for everyone involved.

Guava con queso pastelitos are the dessert everyone is really asking for.

This little Cuban pastry is probably one of the best desserts ever created. This is not up for debate. It is just a simple fact of Latin American desserts. Honestly, when you taste the sweet and tangy flavor of the guava wrapped in the flaky, buttery pastry, your life will change. Drop the pumpkin for one year and give this Cuban dessert a try.

READ: Take A Tasting Tour Of Latin America This Thanksgiving With This Curated Menu

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