Drama queens: Wouldn’t it be fun if you could transport yourself into a real life soap opera? That’s the plot of the new movie, Ana Maria in Novela Land, about an ardent telenovela fan (Devious Maids’ Edy Ganem) who transports herself through the TV screen into a far sudsier life. The film is in theaters now. We caught up with Ganem while she was visiting Miami.
How would you describe your character?
Ana Maria is a young woman who’s trying to figure out what she wants out of life. She’s pretty obsessed with writing fan fiction and tweeting about her favorite telenovela. One evening she magically enters that TV world and switches lives with the lead actress. Ana Maria loves being in this new world until it dawns on her how she hasn’t been appreciative of her own wonderful life.
What do you want audiences to know about this film?
I’m sure they will have a great time no matter who they go see it with: family, friends or significant other. It’s very funny, with a wonderful cast so laughs are guaranteed. The film was made with a lot of love, and I think that translates onto the screen.
Are you a fan of telenovelas?
I grew up in Mexico so I used to watch them all the time. The last telenovela I was obsessed with was a Brazilian one called El Clon, but then I just started watching films — contemporary and classic ones — and I think that’s what made me want to become an actress.
What was the energy like on set?
Very positive. Everyone was so happy to be a part of this project, and we all got along so we would always be joking and laughing. My costars always acted like goofballs, and that made our long days feel way shorter. Also the crew was amazing so we got to have a pretty special time making this movie. It was like a big, old family.
What was it like working with the late Elizabeth Pena as your mom?
It was wonderful; she was always full of joy. You could tell she loved being on the set. We got to share some good stories, and I will always remember her as a very strong, happy woman.
If you could be transported into a real TV show or movie, which one would it be?
As far as a movie, I would want to be in Interview with a Vampire because I’ve always wanted to play a vampire. A superhero movie would be cool, too; I would get to have superpowers and help people instead of drink their blood! I love Game of Thrones because it’s a whole different world where everyone is fighting to stay alive and take over a piece of land. High stakes every day.
How was this role different from working on “Devious Maids”?
The movie is all about Ana Maria so I was part of every scene, which means much more camera time. I worked every single day from beginning to end without stopping. I had never experienced this before as Maids shows the lives of all the different characters, and that breaks up our schedules. Another difference is the length of time; Ana Maria shot for a little over three weeks; the TV show takes over five months.
How do you like visiting Miami?
I really enjoy the warm evenings. I have friends and family in the city so they always take me to different spots, and I always have a wonderful time. Next time I visit I really need to go to the beach and not work so much!