Ya Gotta Love A Lady With A Chainsaw: [REC]3 Star Leticia Dolera Speaks!
Full disclosure: I am a fanatic of the [REC] franchise. Since I first saw the team of Paco Plaza and Juame Balaguero's initial installment, I've been a huge fan. When [REC]2 dropped I then became halfway obsessed with the story of Niña Medeiros, the emaciated demonic entity that had once been a beautiful young girl, and serves as the main antagonist in the series.
With [REC]3, Plaza and Balaguero have split the work to finish things up. Balaguero will be putting the finishing kill move on the franchise with the up-coming [REC]4 Apocalypse, but for the time being Plaza's solo contribution, [REC]3 Genesis, from Magnet releasing, is now scaring people on VOD (available now!) and gets a limited theatrical release on September 7th. See it!
The synopsis is as follows:
Koldo and Clara are about to celebrate the most important day of their lives: their wedding. Everything appears to be running smoothly and the bride and groom and their families are enjoying a wonderful day; that is until some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. Before they know what's happening, the bride and groom find themselves in the middle of a hellish ordeal, as an uncontrollable torrent of violence is unleashed on the wedding. Amidst the chaos, Koldo and Clara become separated and begin a desperate search for one another. What started off as an idyllic day quickly descends into a nightmare of the worst kind...
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with the lovely actress who plays Clara, Leticia Dolera. No stranger to genre work, you may have seen her in Imago Mortis, as well as the dramas Kënu, or De tu ventana a la mía. Now, in [REC]3 Leticia is set to take her rightful place (as Clara) alongside strong female genre figures like Ripley and Laurie Strode. Clara is a survivor, kicking ass and taking names, liberating many a crazed zombie from their limbs, while fighting to be reunited with her true love.
So, without further ado, let's meet the woman behind the chainsaw, Leticia Dolera.
TWITCH - [REC]3 was a seven week shoot, with the film being close to real-time. How the heck do you keep that intensity up in your performance for such an extended period?
LETICIA DOLERA - Just doing it, really. Taking the role to heart, staying aware of what is happening to her (Clara), and taking the role to heart. Also, with Paco (Plaza, the director) he is a director that is very present for the actors. He's "with" us all the time. With all that, the tension is pretty easy to sustain.
TWITCH - Besides the obvious, with all the crazed maniacs running around wreaking terror and havoc, what was the story for you as an actress, and how did you connect to the character of Clara initially?
LETICIA DOLERA - Yes. Well, for me the story is of a woman, who on the happiest day of her life is going to have to face the worst nightmare imaginable. In order to get to her husband, with all the surrounding chaos, she has to find a strength inside her neither of them knew she had, doing things she never thought she'd be able to.
TWITCH - Are you a genre fan, and maybe taking influence from the strong female protagonists like Ripley from Alien, and the other strong female protagonists that have been popping up more and more frequently in these types of films?
LETICIA DOLERA - Yes! I am a genre fan. I go to Sitges every year. Regarding Clara, Paco and I talked about those inspirations. He said to me "Think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, and to make it a little more intriguing he said to me "I want you to imagine you are Anna Karina", you know the actress who did so many films with Goddard in the 60s?
TWITCH - Huge fan of hers. The Nouvelle Vogue is actually an obsession right now for me.
LETICIA DOLERA - Right! So yeah, we imagined her as kind of Anna Karina, but in a horror film. (laughter)
TWITCH - Wow. That makes a lot of sense to me actually.
LETICIA DOLERA - Yes. And that point, I totally got it, and knew what Paco was looking for. Paco as a director loves terror, he understands the timing, and on a technical level he is great. Even more so though, he loves actors and working with them, knowing that his story is being told by those on the screen. It's very cool to work with him. He gives you a lot of freedom, and a lot of trust.
TWITCH - A little off point, but I'm always pleading with "horror fans" to engage with other types of films, at least for context. That said, what do you think the importance is of taking influence from other types of film for what I'll term "hard genre"? Now the big sales pitch is "BY horror fans FOR horror fans" and you just don't hear names like Anna Karina dropped when it's time to talk influences. I prefer horror films made by people who don't only do horror films. The Exorcist. Rosemary's Baby. The Shining are prime examples I'd say.
LETICIA DOLERA - Yes, yes, me too. Again that was Paco's idea, he gave me this gift in Clara. In the 60s in France, they were very modern. The Nouvelle Vogue still comes off very modern. For me many times what makes a movie special is the personality of the director, and the more the director "is" the movie the more special that movie will be. Swedish films for example, they see the world in a certain way, so they are going to have something different than the movies that come from Spain, or the movies that comes from Korea (which I think is a country that makes very interesting genre films). So yes, again, the more types of movies you watch, from all over the world, is only going to make your film that much richer. The images and influences you have to draw on aren't so one note. Am I making sense? (laughs)
TWITCH - Yes. It totally makes sense. Now, you direct and write yourself, don't you?
LETICIA DOLERA - Yes. I've made two so far. A o B, and Sorry, I Love You, which Sorry is a genre film actually. It's on the internet, if you write the Spanish title Lo siento, te quiro on youtube or something you can find it.
*Ed, note - Both films are below the break following the interview.
TWITCH - As far as an actress, what other directors do you dream of working with?
LETICIA DOLERA - Oh, I'd love to do another project with Paco of course. I'd love to work with Juan Antonio Bayona again, who I did a rock video with for Keane actually called "Disconnected", which is like an old European horror movie. I would love to work with Alexander Aja too.
TWITCH - Oh hell yeah, I actually think Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes is superior to the original. *Let the hate mail begin*
LETICIA DOLERA - He works with tension incredibly well, doesn't he? Of course Tarantino, which any genre loving actor wants to work with, right? Then there are so many great Spanish directors like Rodrigo Cortez, just so many amazing talents. It's a long list of people you may have not heard of.
TWITCH - Oh no no, I am a huge fan of Spanish films, and in fact think that is the country doing a lot of the best work in genre the last few years, moreso even than France, which seems to be the new trend.
LETICIA DOLERA - Wow, really? That's great!
TWITCH - How about Eugenio Mira? I love his directing style and his film Agnosia is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in the last ten years.
LETICIA DOLERA - Oh yes, for sure, Of course! He's a very good friend, I love Eugenio. He's in Rodrigo Cortez's Red Lights, playing the younger version of DeNiro's character.
TWITCH - Right! How weird is that...but yes back to you. Knowing you also write and direct, what is your ultimate dream for that, and is there anything else coming up regarding that?
LETICIA DOLERA - Actually yes, I am shooting another short next week. I am very excited and nervous, and it is a genre film. I would love to direct a feature someday, but I really want to be 100% ready for it. You know at the same time there are so many other things than film I want to do too. I need more time. More time! More time!
TWITCH - Do you prefer one to the other? Being in front of the camera or behind the camera?
LETICIA DOLERA - Well, they are of course totally different disciplines. As you probably know, as a director you are in total control, pulling all the strings, making all the decisions, everything. While as an actor you are the puppet on those strings, and not making the decisions. Your work is going to be manipulated in a good way (we hope!) especially during the processes you will not be a part of, such as editing. But wow, being a director is a great experience, being a tool for another artist to create their world, in which you get to experience things and experiment with things that in your real life you aren't allowed to. That is very fulfilling, and sometimes magical as it was in [REC]3. I can say that I learned a lot about acting by directing as well, which was also great. Then to put it all together, I love directing actors. I know what they feel, what they need, and for me it's really nice to give them the space to create, and watch them make your movie grow.
TWITCH - I'm going to ask you a silly question, for all the [REC] fans, including myself. What was the funnest part of playing on that set and being in [REC]3? It looks and sounds like, the hard work aside, it was an incredibly good time.
LETICIA DOLERA - Oh, absolutely! The scene in the tunnel where I take the chainsaw, cut off the hem of my dress, and I start killing zombies! (*Leticia giggles the most evil giggle this writer has heard at this point) That day they had a stunt ready to do, and I didn't let my stunt-woman do anything. I was so into the character I didn't want another person fighting for me, or fighting for Clara and her lover. No. It was me, Clara, who was going to fight to save those things. Not a stunt-woman. That was the best!
Again, [REC]3 is currently available on VOD, and will hit screens on September 7th. So check those listings! You can also "like" [REC]3 at the official Facebook page. To add even more goodness to the pile? Check below the break for the red band trailer, as well as Leticia's two short films (both in Spanish), and the rock video she starred in for the well known alt-rock band Keane, a Euro-horror homage directed by The Orphanage's Juan Antonio Bayona.
Also, allow me to pimp my interview with [REC]3 director Paco Plaza, in this month's issue of Fangoria magazine, on stands now!
Enjoy, and as the sub-genre's godfather George A. Romero always says...STAY SCARED!
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