The actress, whose series about prison life premieres on September 10 on HBO Latino, tells us about her time in jail.

Por Andrés Martínez Tutek / NYC
Updated Septiembre 10, 2008
Credit: Cortesía HBO Latino

With piercing stories that reflect female detainees in a Mexican prison, a new series, Capadocia, takes to the small screen on Wednesday with a bold premiere. The leading star, Ana de la Reguera, while passing through New York, spoke exclusively with People En The 31-year-old Mexican actress told us of her experience while filming the intense drama.

Ana, what is “Capadocia”?
Capadocia is a series with extraordinary quality and great production that exposes life in a female prison in Mexico. It's a production full of dark stories that reflect not only the reality of what takes place there, but what can also occur in any jail, something that can happen to anyone. It's a series that premieres on September 10 on HBO Latino it'll air Wednesday until December 3.

And what's your role inside the prison?
I play Lorena, a high-society woman who ends up in jail and who goes through a number of terrible situations that change her life completely.

Not having lived the prison experience yourself, what did you do to prepare for the role?
I studied the script a lot. I focused on this high-society woman and I worked a lot in that element that hurts most in life–having to leave her children behind and being marked by the image of a woman murderer. Although I'm not a mother myself, thinking about this painful situation helped me capture the character. She is an impulsive woman, like a wounded animal, without a sense of control.

Does this character resemble you at all?
Look, we always add many of our own traits to the characters we play, but the truth is that she hardly comes close to me. She doesn't have goals and perhaps the only thing we have in common is the desire to have a family. Yes, I am an impulsive woman, but more than that, I do what my heart dictates. I'm not too analytical when making a decision; I just make the decision and I'm done with it. But I love life, and I have many dreams and joys.

Do you believe the penal systems in our countries actually work and accomplish the goal of re-educating prisoners?
When you go into the prison world you realize prisons don't work and you confront the truth: these are obsolete systems that offer no solutions to the people who end up there. Sometimes we're not capable to put ourselves in other people's shoes, but I believe that with this series people will be able to comprehend that not all those who are in jail are bad people. Many of them, by mistake or desperation or other circumstances, ended up locked in there. And some were just so poor that they couldn't afford a good lawyer. Not only do you understand the need to change the system, but in the end, you ask yourself, who are we to punish them?

The filming was done in an underground dungeon. Tell us about the experience of being locked up almost like a real prisoner.
Wow. That was the hardest part. Feeling imprisoned during the filming was complicated. You're right, not only were we acting but we were practically jailed there, living the experience of being locked up more than 150 feet underground. The filming was done in an old abandoned bullfight arena in Mexico. It was not only cold but dusty, with cement powder, and we couldn't go out during filming. It was extremely intense.

Doesn't one see things differently when, after being locked up like that, you come out to the real world?
Absolutely, considering we were in that place everyday from 6 in the morning until after midnight. These were weeks in which we practically never saw the sun and, you know what, whenever I had a day off I would spend it looking in more detail at flowers, small plants, birds, everything. Everything looked prettier and I was grateful for life.

Honestly, Ana, why should people watch “Capadocia”?
People should watch it because, first, nothing like this had been done in Latin America before in terms of production, acting, or even story-wise. It's more elevated and profound. It's a more ambitious series and that makes it worthwhile. People are going to understand that although it's about women in prison, at the end of the day all human beings are the same and they will begin to see the world under a different light.