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In Zack Snyder’s zombie flick, De La Reguera plays Cruz, one part of a rag-tag group of mercenaries led by Dave Bautista’s Scott Ward. The group ventures into a quarantined Las Vegas zombie hotspot to attempt a multimillion-dollar heist.
“I would never imagine myself like that,” says the Veracruz-born actress, known for films such as Nacho Libre and Cowboys & Aliens and series including Narcos and Goliath as well as her own comedy series Ana. Nevertheless, De La Reguera says playing characters like the bad-ass, undead-killing Cruz is what she enjoys most about acting.
“You want to become someone else … do things that you don’t do in your normal life,” she tells THR.
As for her part in Forever Purge, which will be the fifth and apparently final movie in the dystopian horror franchise, De La Reguera attempts to survive an unofficial Purge after escaping from a drug cartel. The actress is keeping most details of her character under wraps, but notes director Everardo Gout’s intention for the film is to offer a Purge film that touches on “what’s happening in society … between Mexicans and Americans.”
Ahead of Army of the Dead hitting Netflix on May 21, the actress speaks with THR about her gory summer projects as well as creating and starring in projects often lacking for Latinas.
In Army of the Dead, your character Cruz is, by measures, a bad ass. What did you enjoy most about that role?
It was so much fun, especially because I am the opposite of that character — Cruz. I am super bad with guns, with cars. No one would ever see me like this. I would never imagine myself like that. But when you’re actually doing it or you see yourself in a movie like that, it’s so much fun. That’s why I became an actor. You want to become someone else. You want to get out of your comfort zone, do things that you don’t do in your normal life. I was super excited to get into the costumes every day — even if at some point I was like, get me out of here, it’s hot, I don’t want to be carrying all of these things. I was very happy with being in a movie that combines zombies and a heist and the action and the comedy and also has a little bit of criticism of what’s happening in the world.
What can we expect from the animated spinoff series (which is a prequel to the film) coming to Netflix, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas?
In the prequel, you’ll get to learn what’s Cruz’s backstory, how she and Dave Bautista’s character, Scott Ward, met, what we were doing before. We show it in the movie a little bit, that we used to work together. We were war veterans and all of that. But you’ll get to see more of the action before [the opening of Snyder’s film shows a zombie “patient zero” and the ultimate undead takeover of Sin City], how we were fighting zombies before. I can’t reveal much but it’s a lot of fun.
You’ll also be appearing in Forever Purge this July, which follows a Mexican couple who after escaping a drug cartel becomes stranded on a Texas ranch with a group of outsiders who plan to unlawfully continue their own Purge. What drew you to this project and being added to this franchise?
I had just finished Army of the Dead nearly two days before and was offered it. I talked to Everardo Gout, who is a good, serious Mexican director… What he wanted was to do a movie seeing American society through the Mexican characters. He told me it’s not going to be like a regular Purge movie. It has a lot of layers below of what’s happening in society, between the borders, between Mexicans and Americans, with immigration issues. That’s when I was like I would love to be a part of it.
You have taken on a variety of roles, on and off screen, such as recently starring in the legal drama Goliath to creating your own comedy series Ana. What do you feel has been your biggest impact as a Latina in this industry?
Being a creator is probably what I’ve been the most excited about. That’s what took me the most time. I’ve been here for 16 years. At some point around six or seven years while I was in L.A., I was questioning what am I doing here? Maybe I’m not good enough? Because of the things people tell you — you don’t look Latina enough or you need to get rid of your accent. You’re just waiting for that opportunity for years. Sometimes you feel like you’re wasting your time. And at one point, I was like I’m going to do my own thing. I cannot wait for someone else to give me the opportunities that I want to have. I need to create those opportunities. As soon as I started working on that, that made me grow a lot as an actor. Being a creator gave me way more confidence. After that, the roles started coming. It took me seven years to have my own show, be a producer and a showrunner.
Just looking back, I came here not really speaking the language. I am a woman, a Latina, I’m in my 40s. It’s kind of like everything is against you. But the time is now. I’m in the right place at the right time, where people want to hear those stories … I’m very excited. I couldn’t ask for anything else right now, to be working in these two amazing movies and having my own show. I think it was worth it after 16 years, things are starting to happen.
It’s been an incredible journey for you, absolutely, and one that can help pave more paths for up-and-coming Latinx creatives.
You know what I love the most? I remember 16 years ago, I had to move from my country to be here. Now you don’t even need to do that … I see my friends booking roles for different countries, because the world now wants diverse casts. Everything is changing really fast. And I do get a lot of calls from younger actresses. I love that they are so many out there that need to be seen and I’m excited to be working with them.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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