After her breakout role on Miss Bala, Mexican actress Cristina Rodlo is here to stay. Cristina talks to The Laterals on her audition process before getting cast as the mysterious Yaritza, in Amazon Prime’s Too Old To Die Young, where she stars opposite Miles Teller. Already the talk of the town, Cristina is an extremely versatile actress. It turns out Cristina is every bit as empowering as her characters, and despite of what role she’s in, she proves that looking away would be a very challenging option.
Cristina, where do you call home now?
What was your upbringing in Mexico like?
It was great. I'm from a small city in northern Mexico called Torreon, I went to a Jesuit school from elementary through high school. Although I am not very religious, I was very happy with the education I had and the friends I made in my school. When I was growing up, I spent all of my free time with my brothers (I have two older brothers); so we used to go to the club that was around the corner from our house and played soccer the entire time. I became very good at it, so soccer became one of my passions, and I played it in my school pretty much the whole time. I could say I had a very happy upbringing in Mexico!
What made you want to be an actor? Have you always wanted to be in the entertainment industry?
When I was in my first year of junior high, I needed to pick between painting, theatre or music for a class. I picked theatre and after my first class I just knew I wanted to be an actress, so I went and told my parents. So yeah, pretty much since I was 11, I knew.
Miss Bala was your first American film. What was it like working with your fellow castmates such as Gina Rodriguez and Ismael Cruz Cordova?
It was amazing. They are both such talented actors and incredible human beings. I had great chemistry with both from day one. They made my job so much easier. It was always teamwork.
In your experience, what is the difference between working in Mexico and the United States?
The language and the budget. The budget is the biggest difference; it can't never be compared. In Mexico, we make movies and shows with MUCH, much less than what they are made with in the US. If people knew the numbers, they would be amazed.
Can you tell us a little about how you got involved in Too Old To Die Young?
I was living in Mexico when my manager called me and told me they were casting this role. So, he told me to prepare it for the next day because they needed it right away, so I did and I sent my self-tape early the next day. Later that same day we got a call from casting saying that they wanted to see me again. They sent four new scenes to send back the following day. I prepared them again and sent them back. It was a Saturday, yet we still got a call that day from casting asking if I could do a Skype with Nicolas on Monday. We said yes, of course, and I did the callback with him on Monday. It was my first time doing a callback on Skype (it's the weirdest thing). After we hung up, we got another call from casting asking if I could fly to LA on Wednesday to have another director’s session with Nic, so I did. During that session, I was there for about two and a half hours. I left the room and five minutes later, we get another call from casting asking if I could come back the next day and do a chemistry read with Augusto Aguilera, so I did. The chemistry read went great, I left the room, went to the airport, got on a plane flew back to Mexico. The next day (Friday) Nic called me and told me that I got the role! In one week my whole life changed.
Your character, Yaritza, she is a pretty mysterious character. How did you prepare to materialize such a role?
It was very hard to prepare Yaritza because the script was changing every day, and Nic would come up with a better idea for the show but that would change the psyche of the character completely. The only elements that I knew were not going to change for sure were the fact that she knew how to read the tarot cards, that pretty much everyone was afraid of her, and that in her own way she was seeking justice. So, I tried to hold on very strongly to those elements and through that gave Yaritza the mysteriousness and confidence she needed.
Tell us about a crazy behind-the-scenes moment on the set of Too Old To Die Young.
Mmm… That’s a hard one. I guess we were all going crazy, and I don’t mean this in a bad way; everyone was so focused (on and behind the camera) on making an amazing show that probably if a stranger came to visit us on set they would think we we’re all nuts. We all got to do crazy things on the show; but when you see the result it was all worth it.
Is there anything you could reveal about your role on AMC's The Terror: Infamy?
Luz is a girl who's studying to become a nurse in LA. She has lots of dreams, but then she falls completely in love with Chester (Derek Mio), and after that many things start to happen.
Do you see yourself living and working in the United States in five years?
What would be the most significant advice anyone has given to you?
Never give up.
Before we let you go, are there any restaurants you could recommend from your hometown?
Of course! Gorditas de La Pestaña, Los Comales, La Alahambra, El chamuco, Burritos de hielera (you find them on the street at night).