Marina de Tavira Interview: ‘Roma’
There was perhaps no more shocking inclusion on Oscar nominations morning than Marina de Tavira in Best Supporting Actress for “Roma,” especially for the star herself. “I think I was the most surprised of all,” she admits. “I was hoping that ‘Roma’ would get some nominations in other categories, but I was not expecting one for me,” especially since her character’s emotional arc is so “subtle.” Watch our exclusive video interview with de Tavira above.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, this Netflix release centers on Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a maid working for a middle-class family in Mexico City during the 1970s. De Tavira plays Sofia, the matriarch of the family who comes to increasingly rely on Cleo when her husband leaves.
Cuaron based the film largely on his own childhood memories, shaping Sofia into a version of his mother and Cleo into a version of his caregiver. But “I really wasn’t thinking that it was his mother,” de Tavira reveals, “because that wouldn’t help at all. I immediately felt that I could relate to the character because of my own memories, because of who I was, because of what I had been through in my life as a daughter and then as a woman and as a mother.”
Unlike any other role in her career, de Tavira never actually saw a script for “Roma.” Instead, she and Cuaron “had a long conversation about who Sofia was,” with the director filling in all the detail of her life right up to the point where the film starts. “From then on, it was really just about surrendering yourself to what he would say day-by-day, and trusting that the character was within you, and that somehow you understood it,” all the while “trusting Alfonso.”
De Tavira’s nomination is one of 10 “Roma” received overall, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Aparicio), and Best Original Screenplay. Cuaron has received DGA, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice victories for directing, while the film won the BAFTA and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, as well as the Globe in the latter category.