By Pía Velasco
August 27, 2016 12:05 AM
Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

It’s fair to say that Ana de Armas‘ star is on the rise. The Cuban actress arrived in Los Angeles just over two years ago and has already managed to work alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names. With two brand new films in theatres and another one on the way, de Armas is just getting started. Chica talked to the breakout star about her roles, her new life in LA and why she still can’t believe she gets to hang with Ryan Gosling.

Chica: How do you feel about the release of your two films?

Ana de Armas: I am very happy that the two [films] go one after another, because they are two completely different characters and it is very exciting to have them on the screen at the same time.

Chica: Which character, Felicidad from Hands of Stone or Iz from War Dogs, do you relate to most?

ADA: That’s hard to say because I feel like I’m both of them. Felicidad from Hands of Stone is a lot stronger [than I am]. I don’t know if I would handle it the same— men, life, family, all that’s she’s done— I don’t know if I would have been able to do all that. She’s a lot more patient than I am. [Laughs]

Chica: And how did it feel to work with such talented teams for both films?

ADA: Hands of Stone was a very intense experience. We spent three months shooting in Panama and it was really like having a big family all together. It was wonderful working with director Jonathan Jakubowicz. He has a lot of passion for film and cares very much about the actors. And with Édgar Ramirez, another Latino who is succeeding and is one of the most amazing actors I’ve worked with. It was a wonderful experience. War Dogs was also amazing, but for me it was a much shorter process because I didn’t have many scenes. Todd Phillips is a very talented director. There was a control and measurement to everything that was done in every scene, at all times, and everything was very well calculated. Miles [Teller] is a super generous actor and a very good companion, attentive to everything you want. These are actors that you see on screen and say ‘hopefully someday I can work with them’ and then you’re on the set with them and you cannot believe it.

Chica: Did you prepare for the films in a specific way?

ADA: In both cases, what I think was more important was the language. In Hands of Stone, I had to have a Panamian accent so I worked a lot on that. We were working an entire month before we started shooting. In War Dogs, I had to speak in English. I wanted to make sure people would understand what I was saying.

Chica: You didn’t have to learn how to box like Edgar [Ramirez]?

ADA: Unfortunately no! By the way, I went with him to almost every training session that he had just to watch him. I was just throwing cold water at him, shaking the towel, helping him freshen up and all of that. But no boxing!

Chica: Did you envision yourself acting [from a young age]?

ADA: It wasn’t something that I thought about ever. I don’t know why. I lived in Madrid [Spain] and I was working and having a great time professionally and personally, but then at some point, I felt the same way I did [about] leaving Cuba—I wanted something else. I wanted more. I wanted to be exposed to better projects and directors. I love the challenge of not speaking a language and having to learn [it].

Chica: What projects do you have for the future?

ADA: I am currently filming the sequel to Blade Runner. I can tell you that I am extremely excited and happy and it’s an honor for me to be in this movie working with actors like Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. I’m in the clouds! We’re in the middle of shooting and I still don’t believe it.

Chica: What advice would you give to the people who move from home to follow their dreams but may get demotivated?

ADA: If you follow your dreams and you want to give it a try, it’s scary. You might hear a lot of no’s and rejections but you can’t take it personally. You have to be patient and you have to keep trying. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself! The fact that you’re trying is a lot more than other people do. Also, if you move to a new place, it’s your job to adapt and take it easy. It takes time, under any circumstances, to adapt.

Be sure to catch Ana de Armas in War Dogs and Hands of Stone, in theaters now!