MP chatted with Colombian-born Andrea Muñoz, who stars as the wife of Bad Bunny in the upcoming action-comedy Sony Pictures film “Bullet Train” (Aug 5th), starring Brad Pitt. She is also fresh off-the-heels of her American television debut for the hit HULU limited series “Pam & Tommy,” currently streaming.
I was born and raised in Colombia and come from a very hard-working and modest family. When I was a kid, like 9 to 10 years old, I joined the drama club, but I was never picked for leading roles because I wasn’t pretty or popular. I was very nerdy. I loved being on stage, but insecurities at that time won the battle, and I stopped when I was 14 or 15. I went to college and got my degree in Psychology, and after working a year in the field, I realized I wasn’t very happy. I was always an artist at heart. So, at the age of 24, I decided to leave behind everything I knew and become an actress in LA, one of the most competitive places to do that. I didn’t know that then, so that limitation was never on my mind. Since summer 2017, I’ve been living in LA and also being a hustler, hahaha.
How has the road been breaking into the American entertainment scene, and why do you think this is the case?
It’s a tough road for sure, and I’m still at the beginning of it. I’m pretty sure there are still many more obstacles to overcome. But if I have to talk about my experience up until now, I’ll say that discipline and consistency have helped me to break through. You have to improve your craft and the skills this industry requires. And then you have to be patient and keep going even though you are not getting the callbacks. The hardest part of an actor’s journey is that period where you audition a lot, and you just wait and wait for a call that never comes. That moment could be either the end or the beginning of your career. And I think that is because it is a very competitive field. Being a working actor is one of the best jobs you can have, being part of creating stories that shape the culture and that move humans in so many ways. As an actor, you are impacting people on a very personal level, so it is a dream job to be able to connect with others on that scale.
How long have you been acting, and how would you classify your acting career up to this point?
I’ve been acting for five years now. I would classify it as blooming. I am just starting, but I’m so wide open to learning and growing as an actress. I feel like my life started the day I decided to become an actor, so I’m living that beautiful process of transformation like a caterpillar to a butterfly. And one important thing is that I am very confident about it and trust and love this process.
You landed a role in “Bullet Train” alongside Brad Pitt, who is well known for iconic American films such as “Fight Club” and the “Oceans” franchise, among many others. What was this experience like for you?
It blew my mind when I got the call from my agent. I never thought I could get that part. When I saw the project breakdown and Brad Pitt’s name on it, I was like, “there is no way it is happening.” I was a non-union actress with zero big credits. I was very anxious, excited, and scared the day before going. But when I got there, David Leitch, the director, came to talk to me in a gentle and confident way that helped me to let go of the fear. He doesn’t know that, but he did that for me. I am very happy for this amazing opportunity. Every actor would love a chance like this at the beginning of their career. It’s a big bump of hope.
What can you tell us about your role in “Bullet Train,” and what can we expect from your character?
You could say she falls in love with the right person at the wrong time. She is totally crazy about this young man, and he loves her as much or even more than she does. However, circumstances are very unfortunate for both of them. Our story is the dose of love in this fantastic action film.
Do you think being Latina can help or hurt your chances of developing a large American fanbase, and why?
I love to think that it will only help it. I feel that the audience is demanding more diversity, for sure. We genuinely want to see our faces on the screen. We want to be acknowledged. The Latinx community in America is gigantic. More people in the US speak Spanish than there are in Colombia. So, if I do my job right and I represent Latinos with honor and the respect we deserve, I would have a wonderful fan base here, plus the non-Latinos that are rooting for us. But if I dishonor my roots and use my heritage as a marketing strategy by taking advantage of a cause, like the lack of representation, which is a real issue, then it would hurt it, and worse, I would be hurting myself. So, big responsibility also comes with the honor of potentially having a wonderful fanbase.
Actors like Sofia Vergara have seemingly moved the dial in favor of Latinas and have managed to capitalize on Americans’ affinity for the exoticism Latinas bring to the American market. Do you think such exoticism is necessary for Latinas to thrive, or will we see a tipping point sometime in the future?
I don’t think the word “exoticism” accurately describes the qualities of our culture, which is very rich and multicultural. And I feel that what Sofia Vergara brought to the screen was the thrill of the multicultural encounter. Even though many people are afraid of the unknown, I’m pretty sure that a large portion finds diversity exciting and enjoyable. Being authentic is a key to thriving, and our ethnicity is a very important part of yourself. So, I think Latinidad is necessary to thrive, and I hope we never have to give up our heritage to succeed.
Cover photo by Ian Maxion and courtesy of Andrea Muñoz