'Undone' Star Rosa Salazar on Telling Latinx Stories, Playing Animated Versions of Herself

Undone Still 1- Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Amazon

After starring as a CGI version of herself earlier this year in Alita: Battle Angel, Rosa Salazar is returning to the genre, only this time appearing in animated form in Amazon's new adult dramedy series Undone

The series uses a technique called rotoscoping, where animators draw over live-action footage to create realistic motion, resulting in intricately drawn animated replicas of the actors. Salazar said that it's an accident that she's cornered the market on these projects ?— noting she has live-action movies coming down the pipeline soon ?— but likes that she gets to clone herself and spread into other dimensions through her characters. 

"It's funny that the things I'm most well-known for are animated versions of myself and I love it," Salazar told The Hollywood Reporter. "It gives me a level of anonymity so far in my career, but I've never looked so much like myself as I do in Undone, so that might end with this project." 

Undone, from BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and writer Kate Purdy, follows Alma (Salazar), a woman looking for meaning in her life who finds herself able to time travel and speak with her dead father (Bob Odenkirk) after a car crash. Undone takes place in San Antonio, Texas, with Alma as a half-Mexican 28-year-old who lost her hearing at a young age. Although Alma's family is Latinx and heritage is a part of the storyline, it's rarely the focus. 

"I'm Latinx and I love it when we can make a show about Latinx people that isn't about piñatas and it's not so cheeky, it's just a part of who this character is. It remains important without having to be beaten over your head," Salazar said of how Undone treats Alma's heritage. "It's also important considering everything that's going on in the world and what's going on more specifically in Texas; it's special that we have the show coming out and we can show some love to the Latinx people of Texas." 

Constance Marie, the veteran actress who plays Alma's mother Camila, added that Undone was refreshing role for her to take because it was a rarity in her 30-year career in which she saw three Latinas in major roles in a show that wasn't about them being a Latin. Angelique Cabral, who plays Alma's sister Becca, said it was the first time she, Salazar or Marie had been on a show with three female Latinx leads, and values how the show balances American and Mexican cultures. 

"There's a lot of Latinx people out there, including myself, who don't really see themselves in either world ?— it's kind of this in-between ?— so I'm very proud to be part of a show that is about representing these three women," Cabral said. 

The cast also explained Undone's unique shooting experience, which included working black box theater-style in a plain room with no props, no wardrobe and no sets, and filming a rapid 12 hours a day. Salazar joked that when she first walked into the studio, she wanted to call her agent because "[they] had cast chairs that we never sat in" due to the long and labor-intensive days. 

"You want to be used, you don't want to just sit and putz around on your phone," she added of time spent on set. "I remember calling my agent and saying, 'I just want to do something where I feel like I'm contributing at every moment, I don't want to sit around and eat Cheetos, I want to be used.' And they used me." 

Undone, which also stars Daveed Diggs and Siddharth Dhananjay and marks Amazon's first half-hour animated show, starts streaming Sept. 13.