'Roma' Producer on Working With Alfonso Cuaron: "He Always Gets His Way"

Producer Gabriela Rodriguez has worked on numerous projects by the Oscar-winning director, including 'Gravity, 'Children of Men' and 'Pan's Labyrinth.'

"With Alfonso, there's always hidden challenges," Gabriela Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter's Producer Roundtable of working with Roma director Alfonso Cuaron. "Now they feel normal to me. I don't have any point of comparison. I don't know how the other directors treat their producers.

"I tried to tell him, 'No, we can't do this,' a lot, but he always gets his way, somehow," Rodriguez said. She's been working on Cuaron's projects since 2006, but Roma was her first time in a producer slot.

"He wanted to film in the places where the real things happened," Rodriguez said. "He wanted to shoot the exteriors on the street where he actually grew up. We had to intervene to have everything look 1970s."

In order to turn back time on Cuaron's native Mexico City neighborhood, Rodriguez's production team "had a meeting with all the neighbors, the ones who used to live there when he was young, and they were like, 'Remember there was this bear that used to play a tambourine that used to stand on the corner.' And Alfonso goes, 'I want a bear playing a tambourine.' I'm like, 'I'm not going to get you a bear playing a tambourine.'

"Nico Celis, my co-producer, who is Mexican, he's like, 'Oh, I love this challenge, I'm going to do it.' After calling every zoo, every place around that could possibly [help], Nico goes, 'Well, maybe I'll wear a bear suit and stand on the corner.' I'm like, 'This is getting out of hand. Someone tell him he's not getting a bear.'"

She joked about the specific demands of the director who she has worked so closely with for over a decade, but said, "My hat goes off to directors or creatives who actually put themselves out there into wanting to face that challenge. For the rest of us, we're just sort of helping you make it."