Knives Out was the surprise hit of 2019 that initially few expected to do well. Rian Johnson’s homage to Agatha Christie’s style of detective fiction saw Daniel Craig affecting a heavy southern drawl in the role of Benoit Blanc, gentleman detective on the case about the murder of a reclusive millionaire. Ana de Arms featured in the movie as the dead millionaire’s nurse Marta Cabrera, in a role that put her on the map in Hollywood. In an interview with Flaunt, de Armas revealed she almost passed on her career-making role since the only description for the character she received at first was “Latina, caretaker, pretty”.
“Things could have been very different. I really pay attention to what that little description is. I’m sure whoever did it wasn’t thinking about what that meant but for me, I was just like, ‘Oh no, I’m not doing this!’ What do you mean-caretaker, Latina, pretty?’ I’m very proud of being Cuban and being Latina and I will play the most Latina any Latina has ever played Latina. But it also doesn’t interest me that much, all the time. It gets very boring, very quickly and I want to do other things… and even if you’re playing a Latina, not all Latinas are the same… I want to think and believe that I can play anybody, anywhere in the world because the stories I want to tell are universal. I want to be able to tell any story.”
Fortunately, Ana de Armas resisted the urge to turn down the role at the start. Instead, she decided to wait until she had read the screenplay for Knives Out, after which she discovered just how complex and heartfelt the role of Marta the nurse was.
“My character was a diamond. When they sent the whole script and I read the whole thing I realized ‘oh my gosh I have to do this. Johnson is a genius. Sometimes humor… sits better with people and people are more open, it resonates more when [the message] is straightforward. I think in this case, it was a very smart thing to do.”
After de Armas was convinced to take on the role of Marta, she found herself in the position of a newbie on a set filled with an illustrious cast of actors with decades more experience in the industry than her. According to the actress, trying to fit in with such an intimidating collective was no easy task.
“I was really nervous, I was terrified. I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me… you are working with these people who you’ve been watching on the screen for so many years, my whole life, and you don’t know what they’re going to be like. You don’t know how they like to work… how much you can approach [them]…what their boundaries are. And then my own insecurities as an actor-my English, my accent. Everything was making me very nervous at the beginning.”
In the end, de Armas was able to put her best foot forward, and successfully complete her work on Knives Out, which lead to rave reviews from international publications when the film came out, and the actress finally began to be seen as a bankable star and actor. This news comes from Flaunt.