Ana de Armas explains why she initially passed on reading the script for "Knives Out", and reflects on her work in ‘Blade Runner 2049.’


Knives Out.>

Ana de Armas wants lớn prove you wrong, và as recent history shows, she’s already doing it. Just five years ago, the Cuban actor performed her lines phonetically in Eli Roth’s Knock Knock, her first American film. In 2017, she delivered a breakout performance in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, và ironically enough, many considered her holographic character, Joi, to be the heart và soul of the film. Now, five years after her English-speaking debut, she’s stealing scenes from Daniel Craig và Chris Evans in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

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Johnson’s acclaimed murder mystery revolves around de Armas’ character, Marta, a Latin American nurse who took care of the recently deceased Harlan Thrombley (Christopher Plummer). And yet, de Armas originally passed on the audition due to an underwritten character description that labeled Marta as a “pretty Latina caretaker.”

“Getting an thư điện tử that described the character lượt thích that — without any more information or a script attached because it was high-profile & secret —just really didn’t speak lớn me,” de Armas tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So, because of the character description, my imagination immediately went to a portrayal that was not necessarily very positive or exciting in relation khổng lồ Latin culture. So, when I finally read the script, I realized that the mô tả tìm kiếm didn’t fit at all because Marta is so much more than that.”

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In April 2019, de Armas was cast in Cary Fukunaga’s No Time khổng lồ Die, which serves as Daniel Craig’s final turn as James Bond. Since she had just finished Knives Out with Craig a month before getting cast, de Armas was grateful for his seal of approval after Fukunaga pitched him the idea. De Armas and Craig’s existing chemistry also proved khổng lồ be advantageous on the mix of No Time lớn Die.

“When brought up the idea khổng lồ Barbara and Daniel, Daniel was completely on board và supportive of it, which made me very happy,” de Armas recalls. “Having met Daniel before và getting along so well on the set of Knives Out, there was nothing awkward when I got to lớn the Bond set. There was no ice lớn be broken. It was just easy & smooth.”

In a recent conversation with THR, de Armas discusses her role in No Time khổng lồ Die, her experience with Denis Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049 và the on-set fun she had with her Knives Out co-stars.

I was surprised to learn that Knives Out was your first Skype audition. Despite the separation between you and Rian, were you feeling confident once it was over?

It was fun! It was just my first audition on Skype. I always felt so comfortable with Rian, whether it was talking on the phone or normal Skype without an audition involved. When the time came to lớn audition, it felt good. He was so supportive, and I could tell that he wanted khổng lồ make it work.

You said you originally passedon the audition because Marta was described as a “pretty Latina caretaker.” Who convinced you khổng lồ reconsider?

Oh, the script did. Getting an thư điện tử that described the character lượt thích that — without any more information or a script attached because it was high-profile và secret —just really didn’t speak khổng lồ me. 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 lớn a portrayal that was not necessarily very positive or exciting in relation lớn Latin culture. So, when I finally read the script, I realized that the description didn’t fit at all because Marta is so much more than that.


Are you asked lớn audition for stereotypical roles somewhat often?

Honestly, it’s not something that I’m trying to avoid. I’m very proud to lớn be Cuban & a Latina, and always will be. It’s just that we have more lớn offer than only playing maids or prostitutes. I don’t want lớn play into that trò chơi because I want lớn represent my culture in a more positive way. We have a lot more to lớn offer. Maybe at the beginning of my career, I was getting more auditions or opportunities for those roles, but it hasn’t been lượt thích that lately. It’s been pretty awesome lately. All this time & effort, holding my ground and staying true to this belief that I have about finding more positive roles is paying off. Now, I’m actually finding roles that I want lớn play —not necessarily Latinas either. I’m an actor, và I will play a Latina forever, but I also want lớn play anybody because that’s my job. So, I don’t want anybody conditioning me or telling me that there’s a limit because I’m not from here or from there. So, I like to prove them wrong. (Laughs.)


What was your first reaction lớn finding out that you were playing the protagonist in such a star-studded ensemble cast?

It was amazing. I just couldn’t believe that she was at the center of the film; I also couldn’t believe that she was the moral heart of the story. It was scary, too, because I wasn’t really sure of what to expect from all these incredible actors lượt thích Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig or Jamie Lee Curtis. I was terrified; I was really nervous. I was also coming straight from another movie, và I only had a week lớn prepare with very little rehearsal. I really didn’t feel like I was ready for it, & I didn’t know how Marta was gonna be. I didn’t have the whole idea of what the character would be yet. I felt a little bit lượt thích Marta; I was being thrown into a situation, & I just had lớn figure out how lớn survive. (Laughs.) I guess it’s kind of what she felt, too. She had khổng lồ figure out how to lớn navigate a situation & get out of it. It was terrifying, but it was awesome because they all turned out to lớn be the best human beings you can imagine. I felt very supported and welcomed. They championed me the whole way through. Rian cast the best actors possible —and the best human beings. Everyone got along incredibly well, & we had a lot of fun.

Lately, I’ve talked to lớn a number of actors who also seemed to thrive despite very little time lớn prep. So, maybe it was beneficial —versus having too much time lớn prep & potentially overthinking everything.

Who knows, but I think it worked out well. I was swimming with sharks, & I had to learn lớn swim very quickly just to stay alive. Also, the script was pretty tricky. Obviously, it’s misleading the audience all the time and playing with twists. We also had lớn shoot the same scenes from different perspectives and points of view. That was confusing for us during the shoot because we’d wonder, “Is this the reality? Is that my memory? Is that what we’re making the audience believe had happened?” Basically, I just had khổng lồ be present every day & in every scene. I had to play it as if it was the truth of the story. So, maybe not having the time, going with the flow và just trusting Rian was all I needed.

Marta has a rather strange affliction, as lying causes her khổng lồ vomit. While I hope you didn’t go method for this, how did you prepare for those scenes? Did you ever feel uncomfortable doing that on camera?

(Laughs.)No, not at all. It was really fun; I loved it. It was only one scene where I actually had something in my mouth to lớn vomit. The other ones were just making the noises và stuff lượt thích that. Some people get very weird with vomit, but I don’t care. The scene where I vị vomit —it was some sort of baby food. I had khổng lồ vomit on Chris’ (Evans) face, và I remember we all went outside to lớn the garden —Rian, Chris, Daniel, etc. Everyone put this baby food in their mouth, and we all started projecting the vomit into the air just khổng lồ see which one would go farther và look better. It was so fun, và I loved that little detail that Rian put in there.

I’ve always heard that Rian is an actor’s director, but I really believed it once I saw b-roll of him comforting an actor during an emotional scene on Breaking Bad. Is that consistent with your experience?

Absolutely. Rian was pretty aware of the short time that I had to lớn prepare, & that I was nervous, but I felt like he took me by the hand & was all in with me throughout the whole film. I bet he did with everybody, even though there were experienced actors & big movie stars on set. He was with us every step throughout the whole shoot. He’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met —like scary smart. There’s nothing that he’s not prepared for & no question he can’t answer. During rehearsals, Chris, Daniel & I were trying to lớn find some kind of mistake that Rian overlooked in the script, and there was nothing that we could hotline him on. There wasn’t a missing link. Everything was prepared and ready.

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Most of the film takes place at the Thrombley family home, & it sounds lượt thích the cast had a great time at this location. Apparently, Chris Evans & Frank Oz even played beer pong together. How fun was this phối compared to lớn most?

Top three, for sure. We spent two months straight together in that house. It was freezing cold outside, and we were in the basement of the house a lot. We spent days & days together doing these scenes, and it took a long time khổng lồ get every character covered. We came up with games, told stories và shared really nice moments, from personal experiences và books khổng lồ dinners, movies & parties. We just got along incredibly well. There was never a dull moment, and a lot happened in just two months.


Since you worked with Daniel quite a bit on this film, did you have immediate chemistry in your No Time to Die scenes several months later?

Yeah, a movie like James Bond is a different kind of production. It’s a different mindset, physicality & preparation. It was terrifying to lớn be asked to lớn portray a “Bond Girl” who’s actually in a moment of change. Having met Daniel before & getting along so well on the mix of Knives Out, there was nothing awkward when I got to lớn the Bond set. There was no ice khổng lồ be broken. It was just easy và smooth. Daniel is the most relentless, hard-working và professional actor you can imagine. He can be in pain from a broken bone, exhausted & still show up. He’s so serious about it, & the way he does it is just incredible và so respectable. It was so nice và helpful that we got along và got lớn know each other before Bond.

I know you had met Bond producerBarbaraBroccoli five years earlier, but do you know if Daniel recommended you to her and director Cary Fukunaga after you worked so well together on Knives Out?

I think it was Cary’s idea. Some of the film takes place in Cuba, & Cary called me lớn say that this character doesn’t exist yet in the script but he kept thinking about me & would write it for me. When he brought up the idea to lớn Barbara & Daniel, Daniel was completely on board & supportive of it, which made me very happy. We had literally wrapped Knives Out a month before that. When we were shooting Knives Out, he was already training & preparing for Bond, which wasn’t a part of my life yet. So, it happened to be a very happy coincidence.

Did Rian give you the coffee cup that’s prominently featured in the movie?

(Laughs.) No! I should have stolen it! It’s the best. It’s the best last shot. It’s the best ending for any movie ever. (Laughs.)

What about a knife from that big display in the living room?

I didn’t really get anything from the movie. Maybe some Christmas socks. I don’t know if you noticed that Marta wore all sorts of amazing Christmas socks.

That makes sense since Rian’s taste in socks fascinated Mark Hamill.

(Laughs.)Well, I might have taken a couple of them. But, I really didn’t get anything from set. I should have. I regret it.


How did you and Katherine Langford shoot the phone gọi scene? Were you out of frame during her part, & was she out of frame during yours?

Yes. We both did that for each other. Katherine came to set on the day we were at the restaurant, và she did it for me. & then, I did it for her when she was on the phone at the house. That scene is intense & is a big turning point for Marta, the decisions she starts making & the plan moving forward. It was a tough scene for both of us, and we needed to lớn be there for each other.


Even though she was a hologram, Joi was the heart và soul of Blade Runner 2049, a film that’s already showing up on many best-of-the-decade lists. What immediately comes to mind when you reflect on that experience?

Working with Denis was a gift. It was beyond a dream. I was so lucky that I got to lớn experience that —not only because of what Blade Runner means to lớn the history of cinema — but also because of working with Denis. He made me feel what it’s lượt thích to work with a great director who’s also a great person. He’s just brilliant. I adored the whole experience of how things went. It was just so beautiful.


MRC is the studio behind Knives Out, và shares a parent company, Valence Media, with The Hollywood Reporter.