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Ser Anzoategui and Maria-Elena Laas Talk About Being A Part of STARZ Vida

MUSE was a part of a special question and answer session with Ser Anzoategui and Maria-Elena Laas from the new STARZ series, Vida,

This show follows the life of two Mexican-American sisters, Emma and Lyn, from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Circumstances force them to return to their old neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past and shocking truth about their mother’s identity.

Q: I’m kind of feeling like your 2 characters are the heart of the show?

Ser: Self-centered maybe? (laughter) Like being the heart? I think it’s like grounding being able to

ground and to be able to know that this is the role. There’s going to be a lot of the s that hits the

fan like you’re just a fan but it’s like hitting you so it’s just knowing that this character is going to

be with these hard…we have Emma we have to deal with Emma. And Emma, I love Emma. We

love her…

Maria-Elena: But she’s still really hard to pierce and penetrate.

Ser: and I think also like Emma and maybe like Lynn and all these characters who also kind of

remind me of parts of myself or parts of people i don’t like. Or that kind of thing and that traits

that i’m like oh my god it’s driving me nuts and so that’s also part of it because you have to work

through all that stuff to love these people (laughter) .

Maria-Elena: Especially with Eddie, if they can have that human connection without all of the bullshit

around them. You know?

Ser: But that’s life right?

Maria-Elena: Exactly! And its similar to cruz and emma is seeing passed that because cruz can see right

past it for many reasons but it is but it’s just like i see you stopped this.

Ser: yeah it think that’s something we do have in common. Were the laser see-through-your-bs

characters. Just be real with each other. I see you and your vulnerability and be ok with that. But

noone wants to be vulnerable, no one wants to take accountability. So there you have the series

VIDA.

Q:Can you tell us a little about the show itself and what drew you to your characters?

Maria-Elena: the show is very ambitious in that it’s really tackling a lot of things and doing it in a short

amount of time. What’s so beautiful about it that there’s nothing about it at all that’s cliche, at

least not in the way that we’ve gotten to know latinx characters. And that’s really beautifully

because you’re not seeing any of the cliches. Its tanyas beautiful attempt at working through

and normalizing a lto of the things that we deal with on a daily basis and tackling those hard

topics. There’s immigration and gentrification of families of the different generations and finding

your voice and identity and sexualitly. Its alot. It’s so exciting to be a part of that conversation.

Ser:it’s almost like they wrote, like she wrote it in a cyclical manner. Everything is happening all

at one time or it’s happening but in cycles. And it’s like life. And if you don’t break the patterns

they keep happening. The way that she wrote it so when i first read one of the monologues that

actually became some of your lines too. It was a monologues that was to the heart and it was

just in the way that she wrote it was in so nuance. As an actor you’re diving in like this is a

dream to be able to swim in this dialogue is what you want in your life as an actor.

Q:preparing for your roles, did you go into a lot of the areas you were filming in?

Ser:I mean well I was my life i mean that was my life. It’s like i have a double life of an actor and

living in the community, being involved, doing a lot of lil mary does in the show in different ways,

different kinds of activism. To do maybe some tagging which is also resistance as well but its

like those things. The knowing that. Having lived in boyle heights, having lived in east side and

in different communities in the east side and north, south (laughter) of the east. It was like a

dream. Like whoa this is really happening. Like a series about what i go through. So in ways it

was very visceral, very like almost surreal cause it was kind of happening in my real life nad

kind of happening in my professional life and the first time that i really feel that it’s coming

together in this intersectional way because tanya is so open to talking to the community and the

way that she was open to what do we really need, what are we looking forward to. I know little

mary, i know johnny. You know? I know the different characters that are actual leaders and

community assets so to tap into the community it’s not just about were going to exploit the

community. It’s really getting in there, in this world of the east side an what makes it up.

Maria-Elena: i lived in LA for a long time now and so i have friends and i’ve run plenty of errands and go

back and forth so i know the neighborhood from a different perspective. Which is yes, in the

tapestry, but i’m not from there. As far as filming there, it was one of those things where its just

so busy so we had our base camp at the cemetery because it was quite (laughter) the second

episode, where we were filming in a bakery, it was across from mariachi plaza there was a

strike going on with the mariachis. Their protest was ofcourse music so we just kept having to

pause because of the music and then finally it was over and we only had a little bit of time

before teachers march came through and so it’s such a busy neighborhood.

Ser: but isn’t that beautiful? This is the way it is. i kind of like that. Its the personality of the east

side coming at you.

Q:6 episodes, do you know if there’s going to be more?

Ser: we don’t. All were doing is hopign. I’m sure everyone is doing the whole crystal chakra

whatever things (laughter) to make it come true.

Maria-Elena: i think that when people see it and they see the whole.. They’re going to be like ok, i want to

see it again. I’ll watch it 4-5 times, over and over again. So i think that’s going to happen, people

are gonna binge watch it. You know watch it and watch it again and want more and want more.

Ser: People will want more. And the thing is there is so much happening in each episode and

there’s so much more to say and you can tell that were just sort of bursting with ‘come on

please.’ so lets see

Maria-Elena: so let everybody know so they’ll be so excited about 1-6. Watch the whole thing. Once you

start, i don’t think you can stop.

STARZ Vida premiere’s on May 6. You can listen to the audio of the interview below.

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Michael Sandoval

Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography. Member of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society.

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