It’s officially the end of an era – for Twilight fans, that is. After four films that raked in hundreds of millions dollars spanning four years – the last installment, “Breaking Dawn – Part I” raked in nearly $300 million dollars in the United States alone – the hit franchise is about to come to an end when “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” hits theaters Nov. 16.
And along for the ride? Argentinian beauty Mia Maestro, who made her debut as a guest at the much-anticipated wedding joining Bella (played by Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) in marriage during “Breaking Dawn – Part 1.” Audiences were left craving more of the 34-year-old actress in character as a cousin of the Cullens, and Maestro – an indie film queen with an impressive list of credits, including “The Motorcycle Diaries” – does not disappoint in the latest (and last!) Twilight film. She spoke to NBC Latino just hours before the movie’s Los Angeles premiere, telling us how she feels being part of pop culture history and giving us a clue as to why this Latina actress is so much more than meets the eye.
What was the particular challenge in making this last film one to remember?
“I came to the franchise with the last two movies and we shot it as one, so it all seems like a kind of blur to me by now. I really do think that we owe the momentum to our wonderful director, Bill Condon. He appreciates actors, acting and storytelling and by letting him do his magic, something wonderful was created. This last film is my favorite of them all. You know, there were so many challenges with this movie, introducing 20-something new vampires and you know, it’s a real challenge to introduce all of these new characters in 45 minutes. So when you see how wonderfully Bill did it – and I have to tell you, there’s a little surprise at the end – and observe how he pays homage to everyone that has been in the film, it’s magical. The saga ends in the best possible way.”
Have you formed any particularly meaningful friendships on set?
“I’ve made so many wonderful friendships from set. That was definitely the best thing about Twilight. I’ve worked on a new video art project directed by Guillermo Navarro [a cinematographer who worked on several of the Twilight films], and his son Alvaro also helped by doing the cinematography. That was amazing; to create with art with these people I met from Twilight. I am also great friends with [cast mates] Casey Labow, Lee Pace and Maggie Grace – amazing people whose friendships came straight from working all together.”
You’re known for your strong roles in films like “Frida,” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” and “In the Time of the Butterflies.” How do you bring that Latin film sensibility to the Twilight franchise and begin to flesh out a character described as a “Spanish vegetarian vampire who lives in Alaska and is a cousin of the Cullens”?
“It’s just me in each of those roles. As Latino actors, there’s often a lot of talk about ‘bringing the spice.’ We’re not like a food or dish where we bring a particular flavor! I am who I am and I don’t really think about it. My character, Carmen Denali, is a Spanish vampire and that definitely matches with what I can portray. The characters in Twilight are very well shaped thanks to [Twilight saga author] Stephanie Meyer and I almost feel the fans know your character more than you walking into the part …so all I could do, really, is be faithful to Stephanie’s books and the audience.”
Were you a fan of the franchise before joining the cast? And come clean: are you Team Jacob or Team Edward?
“I actually hadn’t seen any of the movies or read the books before I signed on. I’m more of an oldie when it comes to literature – I like a lot of 19th century literature. I still have my list of recommended reading from college and because I didn’t get to read many selections in college because I was working so much at the National Theater in Argentina, I always go back to that list when I have some time as opposed to reading what’s hot this month. So I was aware of the saga, but hadn’t read the books. And no, I’m not really into the whole thing when it comes to the boys!”
How does it feel being part of this enormous part of pop culture history thanks to your role in the Twilight franchise?
“It has been really great to be part of something that has such a huge reach all around the world and to connect with fans who have such a connection to the story. They are wonderful and so sweet – I think that’s been the nice surprise from this whole journey.”
You’ve had some pretty great roles throughout your acting career – but do you ever struggle between choosing indie films over Hollywood blockbusters?
“I feel that what you navigate towards changes every year and it’s nice to have an array of different films to your name. Your work reflects where you are in that moment when you are offered a role. For me, it has a lot to do with the director and the story [more] than whether it’s a budget, Hollywood or indie film. Everything after that is just secondary.”
After playing this role, what type of movie are you really looking forward filming?
“I just keep doing what I love, concentrating on films and music. I have an EP coming out on Dec. 4 that will be available on iTunes with three brand-new songs. One is with Damien Rice, the other is with Thomas Bartlett and I have that new video with Guillermo on it too. I’m just super excited about it. I also am in a new indie film with Adam Brody and Emily Watson that comes out next year. I also have another great indie film with [Argentine director] Pablo Aguero in the works that’s all about Eva Perone. So I guess for me, doing what I love means lots of indie films!”