Entertainment

Alice Braga Talks ‘Queen Of The South’ Season 3 & How Women Can Advocate For Themselves

As fans brace for a third season of Queen of the South, Brazilian actress Alice Braga prepares for the world to see her character, Teresa Mendoza, in possibly one of the most powerful times of her life.

“I’m excited to see how people are going to react to this Teresa that is taking care of her own destiny, that is someone that is just trying to, again, survive like she was in Season 1 and 2, but with a different way of commanding her destiny, commanding her decisions and choices, and going through a bunch of action, and a bunch of moments into her life,” Braga, 35, tells FIERCE.

While Season 3 finds Teresa in a place where she’s in charge of her own life, that’s not to say that she’s completely free —Teresa still has to come to terms with breaking away from Camilla (Veronica Falcon), and what that will mean once the two do come face-to-face again.

We chatted with Braga about the new season, Teresa’s growth throughout the series, the need for women to advocate for themselves and girl power.

What are you most looking forward to fans seeing this season?

I really want people to see a car chase that we shot in Malta that looked really good. I think people are going to be excited about that sequence. But more than anything, I think Teresa’s journey to being in charge of her own life.

As Teresa’s character has grown over the last few seasons, do you feel like you’ve grown or explored parts of your own identity during your time playing her?

For sure! It’s the first time that I’ve done TV, so I’ve never played a character that would grow in the sense of playing it over and over again. In movies, you play a character, but there is a beginning, middle and then you move on to the next project, so you don’t revisit the character unless there’s a prequel or sequel. This was the first time that I had to keep a character alive throughout seasons. So, not only have I tried to evolve while the character evolves in life, but understanding what a human being she is, and where she’s going, what she is becoming as a character and as human being. I do think I definitely learned a lot from Teresa because she’s such a strong woman and such a survivor that doesn’t victimize herself. It was very interesting for me to learn through the experience.

Based on her experience and her own growth, do you think Teresa would have any life lessons or advice for women who are currently looking to change an aspect of their identity?

I think Teresa would definitely be someone to say, “Don’t give up,” which I think is wonderful advice. She’s a character who it’s not that she’s a rebel, but is someone who believes in not victimizing yourself and fighting for it, and I think that’s a beautiful quality in the sense of “Just keep on going. Just keep on moving. Don’t give up.” And I think, funny enough, it’s very accurate for the moment that we’re living right now for women, right?

Oh, definitely. Your role as Teresa kind of flips the role of the outdated damsel-in-distress that many female characters are resorted to. And because she does actively fight for herself and her own success, how do you think women can advocate for themselves?

I do believe by not letting it go back to the old patterns of always saying that women need to do this or that, or have to be only this or that. I think we can and we should be whatever we want and we dream of. I think it’s important that from the smallest scale to the biggest scale, we’re always in charge of our own desires and not letting people choose to stop us from being what we are, or going to where we want to be. I think it’s important to be yourself more than anything.

How do you think women can use their own voice to inspire others?

I think by being together, supporting each other and not competing with each other. I think we are in a world created by not only women … I think men also created that situation for women … that women had to compete with each other or something like that. And I think support is super valuable, and I think we’re stronger together. So, definitely advocating for yourself, for every woman, and empowering ourselves is super important. And I think representation definitely matters.

Now, we are starting to see an increase in focus on healthy and powerful roles for women—however, are there any kinds of female roles you hope to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

The more strong female characters that we have on TV, in movies, is super important just because again, as I said, representation matters. I think it’s great that we’re opening more doors for these characters. One specific role … I don’t know. I think we’re doing so much right now that it’s coming. For example, it’s great to see “Ocean’s 8” being No. 1 at the box office when there’s a “Star Wars” movie out with it. It feels so exciting to see that. You’re like, “Oh my God. Did it really beat the Han Solo movie?” I think those types of movies are great because it is entertainment, it is a blockbuster, it is a popular movie, and it’s with eight women on camera the entire film. I think it’s great.

I saw on your Instagram you had an interesting post where you’re wearing a shirt that says “Bullshit.” So, what are you calling bullshit on right now?

Let me see … Oh my God. My country is going through so many political issues right now that I could say a lot of things about my country. I could go all day. Like, really, really bad things. Since I’m in Brazil to shoot a movie, I think I would call bullshit on the how we are a country that cannot find ourselves in a way that would need a military intervention. There are talks and there are people saying that, and I think this is, pardon my language, bullshit. I think this is the crazy way to think. I think that’s definitely something. Or bullshit to women being put in a box and being either this or that. We can be whatever we want—girl power!

You’ve gathered inspiration from so many people in the industry, including your own aunt Sonya [Braga]. What’s one unexpected piece of advice you’ve learned from working in the entertainment industry?

It’s funny because it came from someone that is so big in the industry that it feels kind of like a ready-made line, but it was super important for me as an actress. When I did “I Am Legend” with Will Smith, I was in a fragile time in the sense of being young and trying to find my way into acting, and figuring out how challenging it is, this career and this profession, and sexually, by being a woman.

We were just talking one day, and he said to me, “An excuse is the skin of a lie wrapped around a reason,” and it was so interesting to hear that because, for me, that resonated into I should never give excuses. I should always fight for what I believe in and believe in myself more than anything. And that struck with me in the sense of “Don’t lie to yourself. Keep on going.” And that was super important for me, I think for my entire life in the business—and as a woman, and a human being. So it was very powerful advice, I feel.

Queen of the South season three premiered Thursday, June 21 on USA Network.

Read: Latina Shows ‘One Day At A Time’ And ‘Vida’ Join Forces To Call For An End To Family Separation At The Border

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20 Times Hollywood and Spanish-Language Films Remade Stories

Entertainment

20 Times Hollywood and Spanish-Language Films Remade Stories

It seems like every other Hollywood movie or American TV show these days is just a remake, reboot, or redo of an older one. Many of these remakes found their inspiration in Spanish-language film and television, using popular stories to tell new ones in English. The trade has gone both ways, with plenty of Latin American directors deciding to put their own cultural spin on American classics.

Here are 20 TV shows and movies that show how Hollywood and Spanish-language films have remade stories from each other.

Ugly Betty

Credit: @primevideochill_es / Instagram

Of course, Ugly Betty tops this list. The show was a beloved Colombian telenovela called Yo Soy Betty, La Fea. It was a smash hit, with dozens of copycats worldwide. The American series ran for four seasons and starred America Ferrera in the title role as Betty, a homely fashion magazine intern.

Vanilla Sky

Credit: @vanillaskymovie / Instagram

This movie’s original is called Abre los Ojos, a Spanish film directed by Alejandro Amenabar. Penelope Cruz played the role of Sofia in both versions of the film, which is part romance and part psychological drama and leaves audiences guessing about what’s true and what’s not.

Elsa and Fred

Credit: @wahahaeva / Instagram

Elsa and Fred is a charming movie about two elderly folks who find true love late in life. It’s based on an Argentinian film of the same name and, while the reviews weren’t great, who can truly resist a Shirley MacLaine fairy tale?

Secret In Their Eyes

Credit: @secretintheireyes / Instagram

Hollywood really has a thing for Argentina. This 2015 thriller is a remake of a 2009 Argentinian film of the same name, which tells the story of what happens when a district investigator’s daughter is murdered. Both are based on a novel called La Pregunta de sus Ojos.

You Were Never Lovelier

Credit: @totalaccess64 / Instagram

Fans of classic film will love this one, which is based on an Argentinian movie called Los Martes, Orquideas. Fred Astaire falls for Rita Hayworth, who has no interest in marrying but whose father will not let her sisters wed until after she takes the plunge. It’s got plenty of song (with Xavier Cugat and company) and dance and is set in the luxury of 1940s Buenos Aires.

Devious Maids

Credit: @deviousmaids / Instagram

Devious Maids took Desperate Housewives and dialed up the drama. This American soap-style show starred Eva Longoria and is based on a Mexican show called Ellas son… la Alegria del Hogar. Mystery, ambition, and steamy scenes abound in the hit show.

Jane the Virgin

Credit: @picturethisthen / Instagram

American audiences familiar with telenovelas were quick to point out how much Jane the Virgin seemed like one, and they weren’t wrong. The hilarious – and often hilariously melodramatic – show is based on Juana la Virgen, a Venezuelan series.

Chasing Life

Credit: @chasinglifetv / Instagram

Chasing Life follows April, a 24 year old journalist who is diagnosed with leukemia and works to make the best of her life in the wake of the diagnosis. Its original version, which was made in Mexico, is called Terminales.

Queen of the South

Credit: @queenofthesouuth / Instagram

Queen of the South is based on the Telemundo series La Reina del Sur, which is in turn based on Spanish author Arturo Perez-Reverte’s book of the same name. It’s a gritty but femme-focused take on the usual drug lord story, with plenty of strong women to run the show.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Credit: @lunarglister / Instagram

Fans of 90s rom-coms, rejoice! In April 2018, Sony Pictures International Productions announced that it would be co-producing La Boda de Mi Mejor Amigo in collaboration with Mexican film studios. It’s set in Guadalajara and is sure to feature some mariachi marvels.

50 First Dates

Credit: @wannartcom / Instagram

And you thought Sony was done. The studio recently wrapped production on a Spanish-language version of 50 First Dates, which stars Ximena Romo and Vadhir Derbez (Eugenio’s son) in a remake of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie. It was filmed largely in the Dominican Republic.

Overboard

Credit: @overboardmovie / Instagram

This one’s a bit of a cheat, but Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris are hilarious, so it’s ok, right? The original 1987 version starred Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, but last year’s remake leans in hard to Derbez’s Latin roots. Almost half of the movie is in Spanish, making this feel like a joint win.

Quarantine

Credit: @ihorrorvixen / Instagram

This creepy found-footage horror film was so successful that it got a sequel when it was remade. It’s scored only by sound effects with no music at all, making it all the more realistic and scary. The original, a Spanish film called REC, also uses the found-footage technique.

Silent House

Credit: @devreviews / Instagram

This indie film stars Elizabeth Olsen and is filmed in such a way that the entire movie looks like it was filmed in a single shot. It’s based on the Uruguayan film La Casa Muda, which is rumored to be based on an actual event that happened in an Uruguayan village in the 1940s.

The Orphanage

Credit: @dr.horrible.phd / Instagram

El Orfanato, a Spanish movie, uses the style of 1970s cinema to tell its scary story about a woman whose dream to refurbish the orphanage in which she grew up goes horribly wrong. The film’s remake rights were purchased in 2007, and in 2011 it was rumored that Amy Adams would play the lead role. Guillermo del Toro, who produced the original, has worked on the script and originally signed on to produce the remake as well.

Breaking Bad

Credit: @schoolinu / Instagram

Breaking Bad was so nice, they made it twice – in almost exactly the same way. Metastasis, which takes place in Bogota, Colombia, is almost a shot-for-shot remake of the hit series. The telenovela-esque version aired in the U.S., Colombia, and Mexico.

Modern Family

Credit: @abcmodernfamily / Instagram

Chile’s version of Modern Family bumped into some cultural barriers while it was being created. Since gay marriage is not legal in the conservative country, Mitchell and Cam’s daughter is the result of a brief fling, and they care for her while her mother is on a long trip. Sofia Vergara’s Gloria, who stands out for her stereotypical Latin characteristics, is now differentiated by her lower social class instead.

Maid in Manhattan

Credit: @photolitzy / Instagram

Nothing tops a J. Lo original, but Telemundo’s Una Maid en Manhattan gives it its all. The series takes some liberties with the story, placing its protagonist in Michoacan before Manhattan with plenty of drama in between.

Married… With Children

Credit: @albundy_33_best / Instagram

Married… With Children has been remade in Latin America not once, but twice! The sitcom has an Argentinian version, which also aired in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru, and a Brazilian one, though this version fared worse and was canceled before all 52 episodes could air.

The Nanny

Credit: @_super_jules_ / Instagram

The record for most Spanish-language remakes goes to The Nanny, which originally starred the fabulous Fran Drescher and her iconic laugh as a Queens native who gets a job working for a ritzy family. It’s been remade in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico, with a Spanish-language version also created for Univison and set in Houston.


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The Emmys Had Jokes About Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Despite Taking On A Massively Self-Congratulatory Tone

Entertainment

The Emmys Had Jokes About Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Despite Taking On A Massively Self-Congratulatory Tone

Imagine being a white straight male that has recently become aware that Hollywood has a representation problem. Your new discovery inspires you to tap yourself to be the megaphone that calls out the lack of diversity in the industry even though you only clued into this decades-long problem a few months ago. Do you think that you’d be successful in recruiting more people to do this with you and convince them it was a good idea? How much of an ego do you think you’d have to have to pull this off without feeling thoroughly embarrassed?

These are the types of questions that keep me up at night— especially last night after watching the spectacularly self-congratulatory display at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Last night’s Emmys proved that Hollywood is supremely self-satisfied with the mediocre progress it’s made in terms of bringing diversity to television.


If the producers of the Emmy awards wanted to make an ironic statement about the ways in which diversity is presented on screen, they nailed it at last nights show. This year, practically on the heels of the #MeToo anniversary and a series of new studies that have highlighted the lack of progress we’ve made when it comes to representation on television, the awards show saw two straight male hosts take the stage to make introductions and cracks about sexual harassment in the industry, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Sandra Oh, the first woman of Asian descent up for a lead actress Emmy, and her big nomination. From there on, the night was heavily bespeckled with proud mentions of the show’s record high (and still extremely unimpressive) slate of diverse nominees in Emmy history and jokes that made me want to know what happened to the night of spectacles and laughs I’d been promised.

The show’s greatest offense happened not even 20 minutes into the show when a song and dance number took over.


The 2018 Emmy Awards opened with a self-deprecating musical number called, “We Solved It” that just brought on one bad take after the next. Keenan Thompson opened the skit saying “This year’s Emmy Awards has the most diverse nominees in Emmy history” before jumping into a song alongside Kate McKinnon about Hollywood’s successful (ya huh) push for hitting all of its casting checkmarks, which hilariously enough, featured a cast of actual check mark actors. That’s right, checkmark actors. Ones like Sterling K. Brown, RuPaul, Titus Burgess, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Bell, who are all lovely to watch but also just correctly Black, LGTBQ, and female enough for producers to believe that viewers at home will find them palatable. They’re Blackish in their performances on screen, they’re queer but could pass as straight and they’re female in the way the mainstream media likes their women: straight-sized, actually straight, blonde, and white. Ricky Martin was tapped to play the prop of the One Latino on stage so that the other non-Latinx actors could have their moment of salsa in the sun. (Reminder for next year’s producers: when April Reign started #OscarsoWhite three years ago she wasn’t saying “More Blacks please and heck let’s throw in another neglected minority group for good measure!”)

As the opening musical number went on, Ru Paul came to tell the cast of singing actors that in fact, Hollywood’s massive diversity had not been “solved.” Of course, I love Ru but we didn’t need the “Drag Race” host to tell us this, a good spotlight on the lack of Latina presentees (only Gina Rodriguez presented an award), nominations, and wins could have made this statement fine.

Last night’s display also highlighted the Television Academy’s indifference to Latinas on screen.


The number of TV slots featuring Latina characters and writers are limited but the ones that exist are serving up content that has been met with critical acclaim. Gina Rodriguez didn’t campaign for “Jane the Virgin” as she had in previous years, instead, she opted to take the money for that and send a Latina to college. Still, the show’s most recent fourth season continued to receive praise from critics for its storylines, writing, and performances that surely could have attracted the attention of the academy enough to throw her or the writers on the show a nomination. But even then, the academy had some options. Take, for instance, Netflix shows “One Day At Time” and “Orange Is The New Black”. Both series have paved the way for a slew of Latinx characters that could have easily checked off the boxes for the Emmys in every category. They have Latinx writers, characters whose age ranges fall outside of the typical Hollywood spectrum, Afro-Latinas, indigenous Latinas, characters who deal with storylines that have been timely and relevant in today’s conversations around sexual assault, sexual identity and citizenship, and oh yeah deliver truly powerful performances. But did Rita Moreno or Selenis Leyva get nominations for their roles on screen? Nope, but thank god “Game of Thrones,” whose plot dabbles with dragons way more than it has ever dealt with diversity, managed to snatch up a win even despite failing to put out a new episode for over a year.

There was a moment at the end of Colin Jost and Micahel Che’s opening monologue that highlighted the quandary of the night well. After his co-host Jost sums up the upcoming shows featuring Latinxs and people of color on the screen, Che remarks “It’s not perfect but TV has come a long way in the last 70 years. I think that’s what you’re trying to say right?”

Yep, even despite a night of demonstrating how severely studios underrepresented and underserved Latinxs and other minorities in terms of televisions, that’s what they were trying to say.


Read: Up Next: Meet Tatiana Hazel, The Chicago Indie Pop Singer-Songwriter Helping You Get Over Toxic Relationships

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