When it comes to film players- those eccentric entertainers who inhabit our favorite fantasy worlds and say those deliciously-written lines- no part is too small. Just like cookies, there’s no piece unworthy of consumption (sorry for all the food references, I’m super hungry). So when I was given the opportunity to interview the ever-beautiful and engaging Leticia Jimenez (Pitch Perfect 2, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip), who has a small, but important, role as Charlotte in Adam Schindler’s Intruders (our review can be found here), I leaped at the chance faster than a fallen jockey chasing a runaway horse. So get out that popcorn, prop up the laptop, and let’s get into another 12 Question Session, as I interview the amazing Leticia Jimenez.
How are you Leticia? Before we get into the thick of the it, I’d like to say thank you for sharing your time with not only me but the readers of 1428. I strive to bring our readers the best content possible, and to add new perspectives and appreciation to the genre we love so much: Horror. Having just finished Adam Schindler’s Intruders, I’m beyond excited to both get a more in-depth look into your journey from Texas (La Academia Arte Espanol) to your advanced studies in the Spanish-speaking country of Spain, as well as your experience on the set of the tense, home-invasion thriller, 2015’s Intruders. So if you’re ready, let’s jump down the rabbit hole, as the Wonderland natives might say, and get this interview on the road.
1)From what I can gather, through the very limited resources of IMDB, the site it says you started your studies in Texas, more specifically at La Academia Arte Espanol. Are you a native Texan or did life’s circumstances lead you to the Longhorn state from places such as Spain?
LJ: Yes, I was born in San Antonio, Texas, then I moved to further my dance education in Madrid. I lived there for many years touring and dancing.
2) While doing research for the interview, again finding limited information, I found that you are highly respected in the field of the Flamenco arts. While I’ve never heard of the craft, I am extremely intrigue to know more about it. So what exactly is Flamenco? How have you pushed the Flamenco art forward? And what is your role currently in the field?
LJ: Flamenco is the traditional song and dance of the Gypsies (flamencos) of Andalucia. Flamenco dance is an expressive dance form that mixes fierce percussive footwork with intricate hand, arm, and passionate body movements. It has its roots in Indian, Arabic, and Spanish Cultures.
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I have traveled the world dancing and giving workshops, and I am actually currently involved with the group ,Ven ‘Paca. We perform at different venues and festivals including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I am still active in the Flamenco world and teach private lessons when I am available. I love to spread the love and art of Flamenco to the those who want to learn. I feel as if I am a small branch on the tree of Flamenco, sharing and spreading it to as many souls I can reach.
3) The dance related Flamenco, while still performance, isn’t exactly acting in the theatrical sense (at least to my knowledge). Can you talk about your transition to film acting and what drove you to the medium? Is standard acting something you’ve always been interested in?
LJ: Well, I have been involved with different theatrical plays in Flamenco. Much like a theatrical musical, involving a story line and character. This made the transition into acting so easy and natural for me. I was already use to character development that when I started acted I basically gave her a voice.Official U.S One-Sheet
4) IMDB lists your first screen credit as playing Maxine in HBO’s short-lived, but cult followed, Treme (2010-2013). Is this, in fact, your first time in front of cameras as a professional actress? And can you elaborate on your experience working with the highly respected cable network?
LJ: Actually my first acting role in front of the camera was the indie Horror film Seconds Apart, in the role of Maybel, opposite Orlando Jones. Working on Treme was an absolute great experience for me. I met many great people and especially got to work opposite the super-talented Kim Dickens. She was a pleasure to work with and extremely professional and friendly to be around.
5) While looking over your IMDB credits, it’s doesn’t appear that you’ve work often in the horror genre (though we are thrilled to have you). Is horror something you always been interested in? Now that Intruders is out, is appearing in horror films a trend you hope to continue?
LJ: You’re absolutely right. I have been in three different horror films, but I love them!! I am and have always been a horror fan. It’s so great to be able to push yourself to the limits in acting, and horror films are the outlets to do so. I would absolutely love to continue to work in the horror genre.
6) Intruders is a powerful film, especially in its first two acts. I was honestly blown away by the first two-thirds of the film. While Charlotte isn’t in the film much, she does play a vital role to give Anna’s journey, played expertly by Beth Riesgraf’s, some contrast. Charlotte is almost a symbol, as well as Rory Culkin’s Dan, as the life she’s seemingly neglecting due to her debilitating agoraphobia. How did you prepare for the role of Charlotte and what things did you learn through that preparation?
LJ: Well, when I started to prepare for the role of Charlotte, I felt that she was pretty straight forward. She was a lawyer helping Anna get all her affairs in order before her brother dies. But as I kept thinking about her and her relationship with Anna I realized she more than just a lawyer. She was also a friend and bridge to the outside world that Anna feared. She was trying to help Anna cope with the loss of her brother and her agoraphobia.
7) While you don’t have many lines in Intruders, your screen time has much value, as I was saying. You get a huge sense Charlotte cares for Anna deeply as a person and she truly shows through. Another actress could have played it on the surface, due to the slim nature of the role in terms of screen time, but you seemed to have dived deep into Charlotte as a person. Is this mentality, taking every role serious not matter what the size and seeing how she fits into the world of the narrative, something you’ve been practicing since your start in the business or is it a recent addition to your acting? Where did this mindset and seriousness come from and do you have any memories of its manifestation?
LJ: Since I started acting I always take every role seriously, absolutely. There are no small parts! I believe that every character in a story matters and if you believe in that mentality and give it your best it only helps in creating the perfect character for the film.
8) Intruders features a very tense scene between you and another character towards the end of the film. As to not ruin the feature for any readers, I’ll just say you were almost in quite a bind. Can you talk about shooting that scene and what kind of direction director Schindler gave you? Did you and the other actor or actress prepare for the scene beforehand, and if so, what kinds of preparations were involved?
LJ: Well yes that was a tense scene and we absolutely rehearsed the scene before we shot it. We had to get it just right from both my character and scene motivation as well as mu co-star. The subtleties each one of our characters had that had to carry the level of suspense through the scene. We actually rehearsed the scene through a motivational technique exercise in which we do not say our actual lines but use a different dialog with the same intention or motivation that each character has. It really helped when we filmed the scene.
9) While I enjoyed Intruders, the first and second acts are amazing but the third, primarily at the script level, begins to hamper and unravel the film. How much of what the public got onscreen was mirrored in the shooting script? Was any of the script changed from when you initially read to what was subsequently shot?
LJ: The overall script felt truly intact, as far as my scenes. There was some improe from the actors and some switching of scenes but overall the scenes were as written.
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10) Intruders is a great name for a film about home invaders and a woman trapped in peril. But that wasn’t always the name for Schindler’s film. The original name was Shut In. Do you have any info about why the title was altered and what was behind the decision? Were there other names being thrown around besides Intruders when the change was decided as an inevitability?
LJ:Well I think the name was changed because of another movie with a similar title and I feel that Adam and the producers didn’t want the film to be confused with that film.
‘I believe that every character in a story matters.’
11) In Intruders, you speak perfect English but often that can be due to a great actor with a lot of training. Due to your many years living in Madrid, I have to assume Spanish is your first language, with English being a second. Would you rather do a film in English or in Spanish, and if Spanish, why not stay in the Spanish film market? Is it because the film market in America is more lucrative?
LJ: Well, YES! I would absolutely love to do a film in Spanish. But yes the film market here in America is more lucrative. There are just more opportunities here in America for aspiring actors than there are in any other country.
12) While you don’t have many credits to your name, though that’s rising more and more every year, you have worked with many directors. Directors are the painters of the canvas that is film, if you will. If you could work with any director, living or dead, whom would it be and why?Leticia Jimenez in ‘Jake’s Road’ (2014)
LJ: I would love to work with Guillermo del Toro and Clint Eastwood. I am a huge fan and absolutely love their vision and work. But I would also love to work with Mike Mayhall and Miles Doleac again, because the amount of credits you have does not always equal the amount of talent you have. These are two extremely talented young, up and coming directors.
JC: Phew! That was a lot of questions, but it was a great time for me. I simply had a blast. I appreciate your time and I hope your future career is bigger than you ever could have imagined. Before I go, do you have any projects coming up that I could get the word out about and help bring you more fans?
LJ: Well I have a couple in pre-production. One is a drama and the other a horror film with a British director and producer, Brian Skeet. Hopefully we will start filming this summer!
Thanks again so much for having me! I had a blast! Besitos XO
JC: It was 1428’s pleasure, truly. Thanks for your time and all the great info. Our readers are going to eat this up. Good luck with all your future projects and if you ever want a follow-up interview, don’ be afraid to get in touch. 1428 is here to help an artist in anyway possible. Take care!