This edition of the AV Interview was conducted by Erix Antoine at the end of October 2021.
Today, Erix Antoine interviews Paz Vega. Miss Vega is currently starring in American Night.
ERIX: You’ve had a very interesting and varied career… From your breakout role in Sex and Lucia, to your Hollywood debut with Spanglish, to working in a variety of genres with different types of directors. Let’s start by reflecting on that.
PAZ VEGA: I think getting stuck in any one genre, or character type, is death for any actor. And this is something I’ve always tried to avoid by choosing projects that force me to constantly reframe myself and push my own limits. I’m not afraid of wading through turgid waters, though I do respect the risk it entails. I’m motivated by the drive to do something new, and that makes every project feel like the first time.
ERIX: What brought you to American Night?
PAZ VEGA: I was intrigued by the subject matter; and also the chance to work with two actors I love – Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Piven.
ERIX: A crime thriller set in the world of black market art dealing… That’s pretty unique, isn’t it?
PAZ VEGA: Yes. It’s a genre mix that’s almost like an abstract painting in and of itself.
ERIX: Do you have a personal interest in art? What kind of art?
PAZ VEGA: I’ve always been interested by art in any of its forms. Going into the past, and viewing history through the work of our great painters and classical sculptors… I’m thrilled by that!
ERIX: The film is highly stylized, maybe a reflection of its themes. Was this evident during shooting?
PAZ VEGA: Yes… Though, as I understand it, a lot of that happened in post. In any case, the art direction and the lighting did seem to be geared in that direction from the start.
ERIX: Obviously not as deliberately stylized as The Spirit… in which you worked under director Frank Miller. But there is a “pop art” sensibility to this film, regardless. Wouldn’t you say? Or, am I totally off-base?
PAZ VEGA: You may be right. The pervasive use of neon does create a pop environment… Like a parallel reality, or something plainly unreal.
ERIX: Let’s talk about Sara – your character – what can you tell me about her, your approach to playing her and how she fits in this stylized world?
PAZ VEGA: Sara might be the kindest and warmest element in this universe filled with characters who are driven purely by greed. She loves art for what it means, rather than what it’s worth… Much the same way she loves this tormented man…
ERIX: Yes… You and Jonathan Rhys Meyers play two people in an intense, complicated relationship. What was it like working with him and crafting that relationship?
PAZ VEGA: Working with Jonathan was a delight. He is a committed and generous actor, who looks beyond the obvious nuances. He reads between the lines and we both tried to find elements that transcended what was on the page; to create this relationship, which – as you said – is complex and intense.
ERIX: The film employs the age-old parable of the scorpion and the frog – in a very clear and physical sense involving your character. What do you think of that? Do you believe people have a “nature?”
PAZ VEGA: Yes, we all have characteristics that define us. But we also have the capacity and will to change them if we need to. That’s what makes us different from animals.
ERIX: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions – Last one: What’s next on the docket for Paz Vega? Anything you can discuss?
PAZ VEGA: Apart from American Night, this month I’ll be appearing in two other films: El lodo (Mud), a thriller with Raul Arevalo; and 13 Minutes, directed by Lindsay Gossling, about a tornado, and how this disaster comes to affect the lives of an entire community.
ERIX: That all sounds very exciting! Best of luck with these films, and all your future projects.