‘Roma’ Director Never Showed Marina de Tavira a Script

A supporting actress Oscar nominee for playing Alfonso Cuaron’s fictional mother in “Roma,” Marina de Tavira has played pivotal roles in Mexican adaptations of plays by Bertolt Brecht, Harold Pinter and David Mamet, appeared in TV series such as Amazon’s “Falco,” and films including Hari Sama’s Sundance entry, “This Is Not Berlin.”

How do you feel about your Oscar nomination?
It was such a huge surprise. I was expecting “Roma” to get nominations in various categories, but I wasn’t expecting a supporting actress nomination. I never imagined I would reach this point in my life.

Where did you get your inspiration for your character?
Firstly, Alfonso’s memories of his mother, then my own memories of my mother. I grew up in the mid-to-late ’70s, early ’80s. The character Sofia in “Roma” represents a whole generation of women who were in the same situation during that time, facing single motherhood alone, and stigmatized for being divorced and even blamed for it.

I heard that Cuaron did not give anyone a script. Was this your first time to work in such a way?
He had a detailed script but didn’t show it to anyone, not even the production designer, Eugenio Caballero. I believe he gave one to producer David Linde of Participant, but it was in Spanish. We had no idea what was going to happen each day and it was shot chronologically. On days where I had more dialogue, Alfonso would give me my lines the day before, but I had no idea what the others would say or do. Having studied improv at acting school helped, but it was a combination of improv and scripted lines. I had to find the right balance.

I read that “Roma” has favorably impacted domestic workers rights in Mexico, and even in the U.S. How do you feel about this?
It’s a movement that began some time ago but “Roma” has helped to draw more attention to these women’s rights. Their work is fundamental. It’s been long overdue.

What is next for you?
I have a theatrical company in Mexico. I’ll be starring in a play by David Hare called “Skylight,” which I have translated into Spanish for the Mexican stage.

More Film

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content