Panamanian actress found audition on Facebook, applied and now shows off in Steven Spielberg’s film

Ilda Mason left her native Panama eight years ago and settled in the United States seeking an artistic career, because as in the rest of the Central American region, standing out is not so easy.

However, it was until 2021 that he could finally see his face in a Hollywood film. The Panamanian got the role of Luz in the musical feature film that is currently shown in the cinema, Love without barriers, the version of the classic West side story by Steven Spielberg for Disney and which tells a story of rivalries and youthful love that occurred in New York City in 1957.

In an interview with The nation, the actress spoke about her unexpected debut in the cinema, what she thought every time she greeted Spielberg, the talent in the region and her future projects.

How was the opportunity to participate in Love without barriers?

—In 2018 I responded to an open casting, I had to send a couple of songs and that’s it, then I sent them. This casting came to me through Facebook, from friends who told me: ‘You have to be in this movie, audition’ and so I did.

“From there there were several calls back to read the character of Anita and do scenes, months later they called me for a dance audition and then I had a final call in which they said: ‘Dear Ilda, Steven Spielberg has I’m delighted with your audition and I’d like to see you work in person ‘… The feeling I had that day was like:’ my life is complete ‘.

“From there I didn’t know anything else until six months later, when they called me to say that I was going to be in this movie. So this process took more than a year and something very curious was that I did the first audition in Panama and my dad was the one who helped me, he put everything on, he put the piano and so on ”.

How was the experience of working alongside Steven Spielberg?

—It was a dream come true to be able to come every morning and say ‘Good Morning, boss,’ and I called him boss because it was an honor for me to work with him. And he would say to me: ‘Good Morning, Ilda’, and I would just say to myself: ‘What? Steven Spielberg knows my name ‘and yeah, he obviously did, but it was like,’ What? ‘

“And it was so beautiful because I can’t stop saying how incredible he is as a person, because in addition to being so award-winning, as legendary as he is, he is a wonderful human being, very simple, very kind, with his feet on the ground, he take the time to highlight people in front of the camera. He was very inspiring, he taught me a lot and it was amazing to know that in addition to being so great, he is also such an impressive human. “

How difficult was it to play Luz, did you identify with the character?

—I think I’m very sparkling and I leave my emotions to the surface, I passed that on to Luz so that she could give a nice contrast to my colleagues Ariana DeBose and Ana Isabelle, who are forces of nature, like Rachel Zegler. But I think what I liked the most about my character was showing different colors that we have as Latin American women.

It gives that Latin and Central American ingredient to the film …

—Yes, and in addition to that, after auditioning but before I knew what was left, I said to myself: ‘if I had done this or that’, but at the end of the day I understood that being myself was enough and I think that It is something that we all have to know: what we have is special and trying to be someone else takes away from this magic that one carries inside.

“This opportunity has not only been incredible for me, but for Central America and Latin America, to realize that it is possible to reach this level, to be able to tell our story and for the film and television industry to see the colors of what What it means to be Latino: we are not all the same, we do not all have the same history, on the contrary, we have such a rich and diverse history that this is only going to bring good things and open many doors. Hopefully the world knows us for the beautiful culture we have.

What do they say to you in Panama?

—They are very excited, so excited and so proud that they make me want to cry because for me it is a great honor to be able to represent my country in something as great as this film, especially representing a character who is Latin American. They are very happy and have really supported me a lot, I really have no words for all this.

—This is your debut in the cinema, it is the first film you have participated in. What does it mean on a personal level?

—It’s my first film, so it means the beginning of my acting career, or at least I hope so. I have done a lot of musical theater but I came to the United States eight years ago with the dream of being on camera, acting, telling stories … So right now I am very aware, eager and very hungry to continue doing this . I know that the road may not be easy, but it never has been and the whole process is truly delicious because it is what shapes us as people and as artists, and I hope this movie is just the beginning.

West side story It is a classic in the cinema and in the theater. Had he done it in musical theater?

—Yes, I participated in the original version of the play twice (playing Francisca and Rosalia), the third time was filming the movie and now there is a fourth time, because I made my Broadway debut with a completely different version, made for modern times telling the same story and carrying the same message. I mean, I’ve been able to do a little bit of everything in this story and that’s also very nice.

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