LOS ANGELES – On the verge of premiering “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a touching and delicate drama described as “pure love” by Emily Rios, the Latin actress told EFE about the patient and special way of working of film director Barry Jenkins, who entranced the world in 2016 with “Moonlight.”
“Everything is fast on television. ‘Hurry! we only have eight days to make an hour of television, run, run, run ...’ And your spirit breaks a little. I do not want to be famous. To me, everything is about the moments. And especially in television, they don’t give you moments,” Rios said.
“But on ‘If Beale Street’ Barry came once, put a hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You take all the time you need,’” she said. “We were shooting in the Dominican Republic, fighting against the light because dusk was approaching and he tells me that anyway. He knew that people needed to see the feelings in the movie. It’s a movie of pure love.”
Rios, who was born in Los Angeles in 1989, plays a small but crucial role in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” the film adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name that will hit US theaters next week.
This is the Jenkins’ first film since “Moonlight,” which in 2017 won the Oscar for best film, best original screenplay and best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali’s performance.
With a fine attention to details, romanticism and the intensity that characterized “Moonlight,” in this new film Jenkins tells the love story of an African-American couple (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) that is abruptly interrupted when the man is imprisoned for alleged rape.
Rios plays Victoria, the victim of the sexual assault, in this feature film with a powerful reflection on racism that could potentially be a contender during Hollywood’s awards season.
Known for series such as “Snowfall” and “Breaking Bad,” Rios, who grew up in the troubled Los Angeles neighborhood of El Monte, was very honest and funny when talking about her childhood in a very religious and strict Mexican family.
“I always went to sleep with the sound of police sirens, it was like my nanny at night,” Rios said of El Monte, an area dominated by gangs.