Curtis admits she initially made an incorrect assumption about the Cuban-born actress when they first met on “Knives Out.”
Jamie Lee Curtis is opening up about her first meeting with her “Knives Out” co-star Ana de Armas.
While speaking with Elle As part of de Armas’ cover story, Curtis admitted that she’s embarrassed over initially assuming that de Armas, a Cuban-born actress, had “just arrived” from the country and was “inexperienced.”
“I assumed — and I say this with real embarrassment — because she had come from Cuba, that she had just arrived,” Curtis, 63, said. “I made an assumption that she was an inexperienced, unsophisticated young woman.”
“That first day, I was like, ‘Oh, what are your dreams?'” she added, with Elle noting that Curtis asked de Armas about her dreams after she became “so impressed” with the actress and wanted her to meet her godchildren , Jake and Maggie Gyllenhallthe latter of whom, to Curtis’ surprise, de Armas already knew, or wanted to introduce her to filmmaker Steven Spielberg to possibly star as Maria in his adaptation of “West Side Story.” (The role ultimately went to Rachel Zegler.)
Curtis — who praised her co-star in a tribute when she was named one of 2021 Time100’s Next — went on to rave about de Armas while speaking with Elle, saying, “She is not as fancy as maybe the advertisements would have you believe. She leans in, interested; talking to her is kind of give-and-take. She’s curious and asks a lot of questions.”
After Friday’s release of the Netflix action flick “The Gray Man,” de Armas will next be seen playing Marilyn Monroe in the highly-anticipated film, “Blonde,” the role of which Elle said she screen-tested during the “Knives Out” shoot.
Curtis recalled seeing de Armas’ transformation into the blonde bombshell.
“She showed me a picture of her as Marilyn,” she told Elle. “My father was in ‘Some Like It Hot,’ and I have a lot of photos of my father and Marilyn. It was a couple of still pictures and one video of her moving through space with no audio. But it was so shocking because she was Marilyn.”
Meanwhile, during her interview with Elle, de Armas spoke candidly about her career, including how she sometimes feels like she doesn’t fully fit in with the artist communities in Cuba, Spain or America.
Her career began in her native Cuba, before then, at 18, she moved to Spain, where she primarily starred in television shows. de Armas then moved to Los Angeles at 26, before later relocating to New York City seven years later.
“I feel sometimes that I’m not part of the Cuban artist community, and then I was in Spain and I feel like I’m not part of the community there — especially because in Spain, I did more TV than movies,” she said. “And then I’m here, and I feel like I’m not there yet either. You know? Am I part of the community? I barely know anybody.”
De Armas also shared that while she’s interested in portraying Latina women, she said she doesn’t want to only take on roles in which the character’s ethnicity defines them.
“I do want to play Latina. But I don’t want to put a basket of fruit on my head every single time,” she said. “So that’s my hope, that I can show that we can do anything if we’re given the time to prepare, and if we’re given just the chance, just the chance. You can do any film — ‘Blonde’ — you can do anything. The problem is that sometimes you don’t even get to the room with the director to sit down and prove yourself.”
The Golden Globe nominee went on to discuss how Hollywood is, fortunately, improving when it comes to diversity.
“It’s definitely changing; it’s getting better. But it’s hard to know now, being in my position, because I know it’s not the same for everybody,” de Armas said. “And I feel like it’s coming from filmmakers, that diversity has become a must. You have to do the right thing. Thank God.”