SPANGLISH - Q&A with actress PAZ VEGA
Movie Interview by Neils Hesse
Before you did this film you spoke no English, how hard was it for you to learn?
It was a beautiful character that I could relate to and that made everything easier.
Were you aware of the huge search for someone to play the character that you played?
I was only aware of that after I got the role, it was amazing.
Why did you do the film?
The script is amazing and nobody says no to James L Brooks, he makes fantastic movies and this is only his fifth one.
Were there any major problems during the filming?
No it all went well, the only problem was that it was hard to be away from home for so long.
Did you prefer doing comedy?
In Spain I have made both drama and comedy, but this movie is more complicated, it isn't just comedy.
Is the whole filming process very different in Spain compared to America?
Same acting but different things, like bigger trailers and over there in America they treat you like an angel.
How does Adam Sandler compare to Latino males?
Adam is very nice. He is super cool. People label other people a lot Latino males are sensitive as well, in fact my husband cries a lot.
After this experience would you say that you prefer Hollywood to Spain for movies?
I like Hollywood blockbusters but I also like Latin America, I have many interests.
Who is your favourite Spanish actor?
Was it easy in LA?
Everybody speaks English and Spanish so I got around very easily. People there have a very healthy lifestyle. I just chilled out and walked around.
Did you learn English at the same pace as your character in the film?
I memorised my lines but then kept on learning English. Adam Sandler wanted me to teach him some bad words in Spanish, he taught me a lot of bad words in English.
As a Spanish person do you have a part of you that resists the American way of life?
Yes, it is important to save your lifestyle and culture, but you should also enrich yourself with other countries' lifestyles and cultures.
Were there any alternative endings?
Yes, one had me and Adam making love and the other didn't. They decided to stick to the one where we didn't make love, it worked out better for my character that way.
What was the funniest thing that happened to you and Adam during filming?
With him it is normal to laugh all the time and sometimes he would joke and everybody would laugh except me because I couldn't understand the English and then he would get serious and say to me, "Don't worry it was something serious it wasn't funny", and then he would say some words in Spanish which translate as "Give me a kiss", these were the only words he knew in Spanish.
Have you been to London before?
Yes, I love London, the art, the culture. I'd love to make a movie here. I am very open and interested in young upcoming directors.
Did you always want to get into movies?
Yes, I did a lot of plays but I longed for movies because it's magic to me. The most difficult thing is getting your first opportunity but once that is done it becomes easy.
Was your relationship with the young girl playing your daughter also a mother/daughter relationship whilst on set?
Yes, it is important to maintain that kind of relationship with children to keep them in the moment. I love her mother, she allowed me to discipline Shelby when it was necessary with no interference, as there would be times when she would want to play but we had to work so I had to remind her to be professional, she is great.
How long did it take you to film that scene where you use sign language to argue with Adam Sandler?
Three days and Shelby, was perfect in each take.
Was it good working with the old lady?
Cloris Leachman is excellent, the best, more energy than all of us and she is very funny. When we had a press show in The States she had everybody laughing.
Was it hard to let go of the emotions involved when you played a battered wife a while ago in Spain?
It was a horrible but also great and amazing experience. I had to live with a group of former battered wives for research purposes.
A lot of people feel that there have not been enough Spanish people in big American movies, in some ways you are now part of history for being in such a big Hollywood film, how do you feel about that?
In America now there is a big Spanish population and Hollywood now has to make more films with Spanish people in leading roles. If I can lose the accent I can make different movies that do not require any particular nationality. Yes I think that I am part of history but I think that this is just the beginning there is more to come.
You must have worked hard to get the Mexican accent?
Yes, when I went to see it in Mexico I was worried but people over there said that it was good enough. Many people don't realise just how different it is. It is like the difference between the British English and the American English.
Have you ever been mistaken for anyone famous?
Yes, all the time. When I was in Australia someone mistook me for Penelope Cruz.
What's next for you?
I am reading scripts from America and from Spain.
Is it hard for you when someone says to you "you're gorgeous"?
Yes, like when someone says that you're a sex symbol. It can be embarrassing but I am also a woman so compliments are always a good thing.
Is your husband an actor?
No, he is a businessman. We met on the beach and got married not long after that.