Ana de Armas Reveals She Almost Passed on 'Knives Out' Role -- Here's Why
By Liz Calvario
Ana de Armas became the breakout star of the star-studded film Knives Out. But the Cuban actress almost passed on the life-changing part. The role as caretaker Marta Cabrera earned her rave reviews from critics, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.
"Things could have been very different," de Armas, 32, tells Flaunt magazine in their October issue, sharing that when she auditioned for the role she received a three-word description of her character: "Latina, caretaker, pretty."
"I really pay attention to what that little description is,” the actress says. "I’m sure whoever did it wasn’t thinking about what that meant but for me, I was just like, ‘Oh no, I’m not doing this! What do you mean -- caretaker, Latina, pretty?’”
“I’m very proud of being Cuban and being Latina and I will play the most Latina any Latina has ever played Latina,” she continues. “But it also doesn’t interest me that much, all the time. It gets very boring, very quickly and I want to do other things... and even if you’re playing a Latina, not all Latinas are the same... I want to think and believe that I can play anybody, anywhere in the world because the stories I want to tell are universal. I want to be able to tell any story."
The Blade Runner 2049 actress prides herself on not taking stereotypical roles, and hopes that in the future cast directors can see beyond race and accents to be about to give Latinas and other women more opportunities.
"It’s still very challenging for women in general to get a good part, there’s almost nothing... good roles for women, for Latina characters, are still so difficult to come by,” de Armas states. “I think we need to push for [better roles]... I think writers, directors and producers and all the people who make those decisions and create those stories... are realizing how much richer things are when we represent the world the way it actually is.”
The Knives Out role, however, was further than stereotypical and the casting calls quickly came in. The actress says there are moments where she feels like she doesn't belong, and couldn't believe when director Andrew Dominik asked her to portray Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming film Blonde. While she had to go through a series of auditions, she was convinced some didn't think a Latina could take on the iconic role.
"I’m not going to let anybody or anything tell me I cannot dream of playing Marilyn Monroe,” de Armas notes of the life-changing casting. “Things need to change [in the industry] but you have to actively push for change too... you have to present your version of the character in a different way. You have to challenge."
Upon landing the role, she worked with a dialect coach for a year and studied Monroe’s letters, memoirs and films. "It was very intense," she recalls.
De Armas also co-stars as CIA agent Paloma in the upcoming James Bond movie, No Time to Die. However, it was just announced on Friday that the release date was once again delayed until April 2, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I feel like I’ve been talking about Bond for so very long now!” de Armas exclaims. “It’s been such a long time coming…I’m looking forward to the moment and I’m really hoping... we also get a chance to celebrate after all the hard work."