So Many Questions: Mexican-born actress Ana de la Reguera says corrupt characters can be fascinating
Time may have marched on, but the international fascination with the “King of Cocaine” clearly has not.
More than two decades after his death, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is the focus of the new Netflix drama, “Narcos,” starring Wagner Moura (Brazilian telenovela “Paraíso Tropical”) and Pedro Pascal (“Game of Thrones”). The show follows Escobar's ascension to a $30 billion drug throne and the corrupt environment that guaranteed business would remain booming. The first 10 episodes became available Aug. 28 on Netflix.
On the series, Ana de la Reguera portrays the quiet Elisa, whose ties to the guerilla remain a secret. Toeing that line between good and evil can be dangerous, she says — especially when your actions affect the innocent.
The Mexican-born actress (“Nacho Libre,” “The Book of Life”), also has sizzled on the pages of Vogue's “33 Most Elegant Women in the World” and one of the “50 Most Beautiful” by People magazine.
Question: Have we glorified the lives of drug lords such as Pablo Escobar?
Answer: To be honest, I think we have. Because they're such interesting characters. It's hard to find an interesting story, so, sometimes, the writers find difficulty in creating these great characters. And I think when they look and they see and revise their biographies, they find so much. And all the reality goes above fiction. So, you can believe these stories that these guys did all these things and the country was paralyzed by these guys. If you imagine a culture like that, people would be like, “Oh no, that's not possible.” But it is possible. And these people existed, and that's why I think we get so into those roles. They're portrayed like cool people and powerful, and they become likable. As writers, you have to make your characters likable so people follow your stories. So, it's very, very tricky.
Q: How does someone like Escobar become so powerful?
A: It's a very corrupt environment and a poor country and badly educated country and also driven by fear. I think he mastered that, and he read what was happening and knew that fear could control the country. When people are not educated enough, or get corrupt and just don't do anything, that's what I think it is. And it still, it still happens. I think Colombia is doing a great, great job. It's kind of sad that there's been so many stories about Colombia because Colombia is in another place. And they're becoming so popular, and people love those stories. At the same time, I think with “Narcos,” we're showing a lot of respect.
Q: What surprised you about the way your character, Elisa, processes her environment?
A: Not much. It surprised me that people were giving and risking their lives for their country. They left everything — they left their families, they left their kids, because of what's happening. It always surprises me, people willing to do that — it's very brave. And, at the same time, you ask yourself, what are these people running from? But, I definitely understand her and am passionate, too. And, sometimes, I do get in trouble in my country for me criticizing the government and saying things out loud.
Q: So, where does one draw the line between bravery and recklessness?
A: It's a difficult question. I don't know — I think you have to always make those decisions based on the people around you and the impact you're going to have on innocent people.