Golden Globe nominated actress discusses her role and the themes of the film
Adriana Barraza has been captivating audiences all over the country in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel. In the role of Amelia, Baraza plays a woman who is in the United States illegally but has made a life for herself over the past 16 years. Everything comes crashing down around her when, with nowhere to leave the children she is caring for, Adriana takes them to her son's wedding in Mexico. Filled with bold emotional and political statements, Adriana is current up for a Golden Globe due to her work in the film.
What's it like being nominated for a Golden Globe?
Adriana Barraza: Well, it's like a dream... I have many, many thoughts and many exciting things around me. It's a beautiful, beautiful dream.
What was it about the character of Amelia that made you want to play her?
Adriana Barraza: The first time I worked with Alejandro... the second time, obviously, because I was so happy with Alejandro in Amores Perros. For the second piece, when I read the first six scenes of Amelia, I loved this character. I felt that this is the character that all actresses want to do in their lives.
I was informed that while you were shooting those desert scenes you suffered from heat exhaustion. How did this effect how you played your character?
Adriana Barraza: I never imagined these before. When I was in the desert for the first time I thought every fear. All of my childhood fears were brought to life. We started filming at night and the coyotes do exist, rattlesnakes exist and the terrifying darkness is really there. Yes, it's like a nightmare.
I was also told that you gained 35 lbs. to play the role. How did you achieve that?
Adriana Barraza: Yes, I gained those pounds. I changed my way of talking, because my accent is different. I changed my face with makeup. I changed my way of walking because Amelia walked, obviously, so different than me. My insides were so, so different. My way of thinking was so different because Adriana doesn't do many things that Amelia does.
Having done Amores Perros and now Babel, what's it like working with Alejandro?
Adriana Barraza: Working with Alejandro is like party, acting, party, because Alejandro is such a perfectionist. Such a perfectionist and Alejandro asks and asks every actress... I knew Alejandro from Amores Perros. I knew what I was getting into working with Alejandro in Babel. I spoke with Alejandro and I told him, "Well Alejandro, I know that you want to shoot scenes a lot of times... Okay. Acting is very fun for me. Fine, I'll take your hand and we will act out every scene a 1000 times." And we did it!
Why do you think that audiences and critics have been so taken with this film?
Adriana Barraza: I think every image in this film is real. The real things touch the heart of the audience. All of the real things.
What was the most difficult part for you about playing the part of Amelia?
Adriana Barraza: I don't know... I don't have a most difficult part. All the story of Amelia is so hard. It's so hard to hold and caress a child who's afraid in the night. It's hard to be with children thinking I took them without permission. The Immigration police scene was so hard... to make the decision to leave these lovely kids in the desert. It's so hard when I ask the Immigration officer, "How are these kids?" It's so hard when the officer told me, "It's none of your business." Really, all the story of Amelia is so hard for me.
What do you think the theme of your segment in Babel is?
Adriana Barraza: I think there are few themes not only one. These themes are your actions have a reaction and you have to be aware of that. Another theme is that destiny has things in store for you that you don't know. The love for our kids, our own kids or another person's kid, that's more important than anything else. Maternal love, maternal feelings are the most important things in the world. I don't think that there's just one theme to Amelia.
What do you have coming up next?
Adriana Barraza: I have many projects but I have one at this moment. It's a film with a new director from the Sundance Film Festival his name is Cruz Angels. The name of the film is Don't Let Me Drown. It's a beautiful, Latin love story in New York. Cruz Angeles was born in New York. I will be playing a Mexican woman. I try to do a different Mexican woman.
Babel is currently in theaters from Paramount Vantage.