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August 2005
Four Brothers: An Interview with Sofia Vergara

Four Brothers: An Interview with Sofia Vergara

By Wilson Morales

In a short period of time, Sofia Vergara has gone from "Chasing Papi" and "Soul Plane" to roles in "Lords of Dogtown" and now "Four Brothers", so you can say that her choice of films are getting better. In "Four Brothers", she plays the Spanish girlfriend to one of the brothers (Tyrese) who gets back together with him when he returns home to investigate the brutal death of his foster mother. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Ms. Vergara spoke about her role and shooting the film in the cold outskirts of Toronto.

You and all these guys...how fun was that? Were you trying to be a little sister to them, or be a mom to them?

SOFIA: Well at the beginning, I was a little intimidated to go onto the set. I knew Mark for a long time, so that was nice, but in the end, they didn't remember that I was a girl, which was nice. I didn't have to go, "Hello, I'm here?" At the beginning, they were like, "Sofia, do you want to sit in the chair?" and then at the end, they were like, "Get out!" I became one of them.

Were there scenes that were cut? Did you have a bigger part originally?

SOFIA: There was one scene, not much. I get engaged with Angel and he gives me a ring but I guess it was too romantic and didn't fit in with the movie.

Did you feel left out that you didn't get a gun?

SOFIA: Yes. But I also think that there were enough already bullets going around and they didn't need one from me.

What kind of preparation did you do?

SOFIA: Well the role for me was not very hard because she was a Latin woman and she was crazy and energetic. I just started thinking how I would react if I were to lose my man and thinking how he was going to die, and also to be able to be on the same level with all these guys with strong personalities. She was like a little quiet and shy girl. She would've been lost in this movie. I thought I'd bring a lot of Latin craziness and John wanted me to do that as well. That's why she's very over the top.

Did you get with Tyrese to talk about your own backstories?

SOFIA: No, but of course when you're there, all day, on the set and the director is always giving you inputs and little stories - this is what's going on, this is what you should feel, this is what happens before - so yeah, all the time.

Is it strange to have the stereotypical, crazy Latina in the movie? Did you try to tone it down a little?

SOFIA: I don't know why you're saying it's a stereotypical Latina because I'm Latina and I didn't feel offended by the role or anything so I don't know who thinks it's the stereotype of a Latina.

I think she was crazy because she had to be crazy. She was about to have a nervous breakdown. The guys were in control because they were the one creating all of this but she was just looking on to tell what was going on. She was thinking that these men could die so that was the only way for her to create something. She would've been lost there. They wouldn't have even paid attention to her. I think, also, John wanted this character to bring a little comic relief to the movie because there's a lot of violence, and action, and testosterone. When she comes out, she's this colorful character that brings out a little craziness.

How was it like shooting in Toronto?

SOFIA: Horrible. It was the worst year. My first scene, I'm running in my underwear in minus 20 degrees, I was like, "I want to go home."

Do you think they put it in there for sex appeal?

SOFIA: I don't know. It didn't make any sense to me when I was there. Why, why the torture? But then, when I saw the movie, I was like, "Yeah, ok." It made sense.

Where is home now?


I see that you're in the next Paris Hilton movie. What was that experience like and who do you play in that?

SOFIA: It's a very small role. I play myself. That was fun. That was only one day of shooting. I was fun. I was in Miami; I used to live in Miami for seven years, filmed a lot there in Miami and they asked me to do a little special appearance.

How did you get into character?

SOFIA: Very hard.

John mentioned that you gave as much as you received with the guys. Was there a lot of good back and forth banter? Did they get on your case with anything in particular?

SOFIA: No, you know, we were all kidding around, joking, having fun. It was non-stop. Sometimes John had to go, "OK, shutup everybody!" because there were so many guys having fun.

When you're in a situation like that, do you get closer to everyone because you have such camaraderie?

SOFIA: You have to think, for example, that we were stuck in that little house forever. The rooms were the set, so you're there for so many hours and everyone's sitting on top of each other, and you become really good friends.

Does it help the roles and that sort of thing?

SOFIA: Yeah. The love scenes, the sexy scenes, they leave it to the end so that you can become comfortable with the crew and your character, and I became very good friends with Tyrese so it wasn't even an issue to kiss him. I was waiting for it.

There was all this hub-ub about you supposedly dating Tom Cruise. Did that impact filming at all?

SOFIA: Yeah, it was a little bit uncomfortable because the paparazzi was crazy for two weeks. I'm sure for the production, that wasn't very fun because they had to have a lot of security and a lot of control.

Was everyone joking around with you about that?

SOFIA: Yeah, everyone kept making fun of me. I was making fun of myself!

Are you into gadgets and ringtones on your cell phone?

SOFIA: I have a Sidekick. I have a 14-year-old son and he's at an age where before he was a baby but now he doesn't even want to talk to me and I realized that with a Sidekick, we have perfect conversations and you know wherever you are. It's been great. I love it.

Do you have any ringtones on your phone?

SOFIA: Yeah, I have Latin crazy music.

What's next for you?

SOFIA: I fly to LA to start a sitcom next week for ABC called "Hot Properties." It's going to be on primetime next fall at 9:30 pm on Fridays. It's three women, realtors in New York.

How many episodes were shot?

SOFIA: We just did the pilot and now we start shooting. It's going to come out September 16th, the first episode for the fall.

Who are the other two actors?

SOFIA: Nicole Sullivan, she used to work on Mad TV. And Gail O'Grady and Evan Handler from "Sex in the City."

Did you ever live here in New York?

SOFIA: No. I used to live in Miami. That's where all the Latins live.

Any movies on the horizon?

SOFIA: I have one that's in the can called "Grilled" starring Ray Romano and Kevin James but I don't know when they are going toŠ

It's been done for a while?

SOFIA: Yeah, I did it last year. But I couldn't believe I got the part because they're like, my favorite comedians.

Who is it funnier to work with: Mark & Tyrese or Kevin & Ray?

SOFIA: It's different because the comedy that Kevin and Ray Romano did was different from Mark. With Kevin, it's great because he was doing jokes the whole time. He's one of those comedians where his real personality is like that, like when they're acting.

How are you finding the roles coming to you at this point? Are you auditioning, are they challenging?

SOFIA: It's hard. It has to be a very specific role for me because of my accent. I can't complain; I've been working since I got to LA. But it is hard. I have no training as an actress so I try whatever I do like school, because I'm learning. I'm learning to work with directors like John Singleton because I don't know what I'm doing. I'm learning what I can do and what I can't do. You want to have somebody you can trust and say, "You can do that, you can't do it this way." Right now, I just like to do small things with directors I can trust.

Your characters kept saying that you were cheating. Was that your understanding of your character in the movie?

SOFIA: No. The thing that happened was Angel left her for seven years. They were like high school sweethearts and they knew each other all their childhood. He left her and she of course, she was a young woman and so she had another relationship. But he was the love of her life. So he shows up and, I'm not saying she was right, but she, you knowŠ

Are there any actresses you look up to?

SOFIA: Well I'd love to be able to do all the Latin girls who have accents because I couldn't compare to an American actress. It's completely different, the opportunities of movies I can do. I try to look at the careers like Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Eva Mendes, Eva Langoria, who are Latins and have accents. Hopefully, I'll be able to work in movies like they do.

Have you ever tried working on different accents?

SOFIA: When I start thinking I was going to act, I had a speech coach but it was very hard for me because I learned English in Columbia with teachers that had accents like me. It does get a little better. When I make it worse, people laugh more. So now I'm stuck with it because I'm never going to learn.

You seem ambitious. You're going to sitcoms and you're making the effort in the English languageŠit must be difficult?

SOFIA: It's difficult but the opportunities that come and all I've done is taken advantage of them. Any job I can get in the American market is great because it's not easy. There's not many jobs for women with Latin accents. Anything that we can get that is good and decent, and helps you get into another level, you have to take advantage of it.

Are you still doing your charity work with kids in Columbia? Can you talk about your background in that?

SOFIA: We have a foundation that we built a hospital for kids in my hometown in Columbia. We help kids with cancers and their parents.

Did you do novellas in Columbia?

SOFIA: I never did novellas. I never actually worked that much in Columbia. All my careers have been in the United States and Univision.

How did you get from Columbia to here?

SOFIA: I was in dentist school in Columbia. I did a TV commercial for Pepsi when I was 17 and it was huge, all over Latin America so I started getting propositions to work, to model, but I was just 17 years old. You wake up and go, do I go to work and make money or do I go to class? It's not the right thing to do but that's usually what you start doing - going to work. So I started a TV show in Columbia but that was only for two years. I then was on Univision in Miami - they brought me from Columbia to Miami - and then hosted a traveling show for five years. Then like a game show for another couple of years.

So having dated Tom Cruise were you surprised with all this hoopla about his engagement?

SOFIA: Tricky question! I'm used to all the craziness of the press and paparazzi, of course, on another level. The Latin market is the same way. Not that Tom Cruise, crazy international press but at the time, they see a picture without knowing what it is and I just have to laugh at it. He's a friend of mine and it was just one set of pictures they had.

FOUR BROTHERS opens on August 12, 2005


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