‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Actress Karla Souza on Success in Mexico, Character’s Changes

Variety-Karla How to Get Away with
James Elliot Bailey for Variety

Over the past five years, Karla Souza has appeared in some of Mexico’s top-grossing films, including “We Are the Nobles” and “Instructions Not Included.” Since 2014, she’s been a regular on the ABC TV drama “How to Get Away With Murder.” She has dabbled in producing as well, with the 2016 comedy “¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño?” and “Everybody Loves Somebody,”  a film that opens Feb. 17. Souza spoke with Variety about wearing multiple creative hats, avoiding stereotyping, and how she’s coping with the loss of her baby daddy on “Murder.”

You’ve had successes in both your native Mexico and the U.S. How do you pick your projects? 

My entire career I’ve depended so much on my team and a group of people that have led me to great scripts, knowing [what will help] me grow as an actor. I’m very grateful for having had success in both countries, because they’re very different cultures. It takes a village to choose the right projects.

You play Laurel on “How to Get Away With Murder.” Now that Wes [Alfred Enoch], the father of Laurel’s child, is dead, can you tell us anything about your character’s future? 

First, as an actor, losing a workmate is super sad. But I’ve definitely found it gives a lot more depth to Laurel’s motivations and the decisions she makes. She’s sort of becoming a lot sharper and a lot less apologetic. I’m really encouraged by how they’re writing her storyline now that she’s pregnant. She doesn’t think only of herself. It’s going to be a very interesting and, I hope, socially relevant storyline.

Do you think Laurel has helped change the depiction of Latina characters in the U.S.? 

Audiences are very happy to see a Latina represented without being sexualized or being part of a drug cartel. She’s sort of opening the way for other storylines. Shonda Rhimes and [series creator] Pete Nowalk allow me to have a say in what my character does because of that.

Was it hard to balance acting and producing on “Everybody Loves Somebody?”

I was definitely having trouble preparing for the part at the beginning of the movie, because I had the producer hat on as well. But the second I started filming I knew exactly my space — the actor’s space. And after shooting was over, I could dive much more into the producing of it and the editing and the music and the trailers and posters and all that.

AGE: 31 BORN: Mexico City WHAT SHE’S READING: “A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis ACTING INSPIRATION: Marion Cotillard FAVORITE DIRECTOR: Maïwenn FAVORITE PRODUCER: Kathryn Bigelow

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