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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Daniela Schmidt

Daniela Schmidt on TEQUILA

I interviewed the stately and sultry actress Daniela Schmidt, star of the Mexican film TEQUILA, ‘a story of a passion’ while at the Aruba Film Festival. Our interview was held the day after the film’s world premier which took place in the Paseo Herencia where the filmmakers watched the film for the first time with audiences. Here is what Daniela had to say about this very hot-blooded ill-fated love story.

ME: Can you start by telling us something about your role in the film?

DANIELA: My character is Lola. The film is situated in Mexico in the 40s and she’s a daughter of a prominent family. They have agave fields where they make the tequila and there’s a tequila fever at this time in history and she’s married to this rich man who owns one of the distilleries in the region. Lola is a very passionate young woman and she falls in love with the wrong person.

ME: How did you come across the role of Lola? Did you have to hunt it down?

DANIELA: It was actually a very traditional way that I got this role. They invited me to a casting and I had no idea of the project so I went to the casting and I met Sergio, the director, and I tested for it and I got the part.

ME: Can you tell us, why 1942? And can you tell us a bit about that time period in Mexico?

DANIELA: I think it has something to do with the tequila fever at that time and all the new technologies arriving from the US and Europe at that time, all these new machines to make the production multiply faster. So, it was a significant period of history in Mexico because this is when the tequila production exploded and they could export it and distribute it in Mexico. And also I think its set at this time in history because of the very strong conservative feelings of the people, especially not in the city but in the countryside. Give the story and its conflict we could illustrate it better through the reaction of the characters in this situation. You know, how the changes affected the lives of the people at that time.

ME: Do you feel that conservatives in Mexico and of the Catholic culture that it contributed more to the romanticism of love, not just as romantic love but as a way of rebellion to such stanch conservatism?

DANIELA: Absolutely. I think my character not only as a passionate woman, but also a rebel. She doesn’t conform to the social establishment of the time. She doesn’t listen to her parents, she doesn’t listen to the church, nor to the traditions of the time. She’s going to do what she wants to do, what she feels even if that leads her to a fatal destiny.

ME: Even when in the beginning she does follow what her parents want her to do, she later rebels against them and everyone.

DANIELA: Yeah, and you know it’s funny. Because as I was watching the film yesterday for the first time, I realized it’s 1942 in the story but this conservatism prevails in Mexico and in many places, even in big cities. There is a lot of rejection to people being free in doing what they want to do. I was thinking as I watched the movie, ‘I see these things happen today everywhere’.

ME: Was Lola a very difficult character for you to play?

DANIELA: You know, every character I’ve played in my career has of course a level of difficulty. Maybe I make it difficult depending on how deep the director wants it to go or how deep I make it. It’s always a big challenge to make a character in a period piece. You have to work very hard to think differently, to think about living in a different time, to really renounce your principles, your thoughts, to the time when you are living to think about love, society, law, to block all of that to start thinking about the character. That’s a challenge. But also I think there is a lot of me in Lola, in a good sense.

ME: I’d like to talk about the long tradition of tele-novelas in Mexico. Do you think that the film is inspired by that long tradition?

DANIELA: I don’t think that this film plays homage to tele-novelas, it’s more to the films that were made at that time which is called the golden age of Mexican cinema. All the movies that were made between 30s- 50s, twenty years of really amazing films that were made in Mexico. I did a lot of research for my character Maria Felix for my character for example. Because she was a very strong personality, she was a very wild woman and very passionate and she was a rebel as well and you just couldn’t tell her what to do. You know, she was the boss. So, I think TEQUILA is more influenced by the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. It is melodramatic though.

ME: Yeah, that’s where I was going. It is dripping in melodrama, but in a good way.

DANIELA: Yeah, of course. I know where you were going. Also, films like A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) are melodramatic.

ME: Some of the greatest films are melodrama, otherwise known as ‘drama’. And the film was very nostalgic. Do you think that contemporary Mexico longs for the old ways of a bygone era? Nostalgia for the old days, the good and the bad sides of it?

DANIELA: Well, there’s always a nostalgia for the past. People always look back at the past, ‘things were better back then’ or ‘they don’t make things like they used to’. There’s always a longing and TEQUILA certainly has that. With the traditions of the countryside and the Catholic festivities, although it’s a very dark story, it’s a dark nostalgia, I’d say.

ME: Can you talk about the impotence of the male character a little bit? What does that signify for you?

DANIELA: You know, yesterday I had a revelation while watching the film. I always thought of my husband in the film that he was the bad guy, the antagonist. And yesterday I felt for him and I saw him as a victim. He revealed himself to me as a more complex character. Of course, in the movie I hated him but I didn’t see the victim in him because I felt that I was the victim. Bit yesterday I really felt for him and I saw him as more complex and I felt compassion and I understood him.

ME: You could say that your love interest in the film is also very complex too because while he is following his own desires at any price he is also very selfish in a way. He follows his love but he ruins a lot of lives in the process.

DANIELA: Yeah, that’s why I feel like the way his story ends is the only way it could’ve ended. Because if it had ended another way, it would’ve been miserable.

ME: So, how has the film been received so far?

DANIELA: Well, the film is going to be released in September in Mexico City so this is the second time the film is being shown to an audience and this is the first time I’ve been in an actual movie theater watching it with people and I think people loved it yesterday.

ME: Great. Well, I saw the film. It was gorgeously shot and very intense. What’s next for you?

DANIELA: Well, I’m finishing a theater monologue right now.

ME: Are you happy to be in Aruba for your world premier?

DANIELA: Yeah, it’s a great place. It’s warm and the people are warm. We’re lucky to be here showing the film.

ME: Well, thank you and huge congrats on your film. See you tonight for ’50 Cent’!

Interview conducted by Vanessa McMahon on June 14th, 2011.

Photos of Daniela taken by Vanessa McMahon

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