Alanna Ubach – Bad Teacher

June 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Working in the film and TV industry since 1990, actress Alanna Ubach has never met a role she would pass up just to say she’s being more selective.

“Do I usually say yes to things I get offered? Absolutely,” Ubach, 35, told me during an exclusive interview. “I love to work. It keeps you honest. I just don’t know what some of these actors that say they turn things down do during the day. What the hell do they do?! I’d drive myself nuts!”

In “Bad Teacher,” the 39th feature film of her career, Ubach, who has starred in such movies as “Legally Blonde” and “Meet the Fockers,” plays Angela, a woman working in a plastic surgeon’s front office where Cameron Diaz’s character Elizabeth Halsey visits to inquire about getting a certain part of her anatomy increased in size.

During our interview, Ubach, who is half Mexican and half Puerto Rican, explained why she could never be a teacher and why she rarely watches her own performances.

Tell me about “Bad Teacher” and how you got involved.

I have a couple of funny little scenes in it. It’s a gig that was actually given to me by the great casting directors of the pilot I just did this year called “Little in Common.” They also cast me in [the HBO series] “Hung.” They needed someone to do a couple of scene in “Bad Teacher.” I had never worked with Cameron Diaz before. I thought it would be fun.

Does Cameron Diaz still have the chops to pull off this kind of comedy?

Oh, she’s hilarious in this. It’s the Cameron Diaz we love from the old days when she came out in “There’s Something About Mary.” In this movie, she’s just a modern girl that just happens to fall into teaching.

How do you think a movie like “Bad Teacher” can help answer some of the problems with the educational system we are currently having in this country? Of course, I’m not really serious when I ask that.

Well, it’s no “Stand and Deliver.” I’m sure it is making a comment on the times. Would they have been able to get away with making a movie like this back in the 40s or 50s? I don’t think so.

Is there such a thing as a bad teacher or are there only bad students?

Oh, I have a story to tell you about that. I was cheating on a test in high school. I was a big cheater back then. It was a world history test and the teacher, who was really good, grabbed the cheat sheet from under my desk, stapled it to my test, and threatened to expel me. He would’ve expelled me but the man actually had a heart attack and died that night. Everyone was in shock when the principal announced it the next morning. But the first thing that went through my head was, “Well, I guess I’m not going to be expelled after all!” Isn’t that horrible? So, yes, in that case I would consider myself a bad student.

Have you ever taught anyone anything before?

Yes, I was actually an acting teacher for a while. My best friend owns an acting studio now. I helped her for a while, but it wasn’t for me. I had to get up early and I’m not a morning person. You really have to be a morning person if you want to be a teacher. I’m a night owl. Maybe I could teach night classes.

What do you think about that saying, “Those who can’t do, teach?”

I say those who can’t do probably teach physical education to problem kids. I think that’s what the saying should be changed to.

Along with you’re movie roles, we’ve had the chance to see you on the TNT show “Men of a Certain Age.” What has your experience been like working with an actor like Ray Romano?

He’s great and is so down to earth. He’s a lovely family man. Success and notoriety couldn’t have happened to a better dude. It’s funny because I haven’t even seen this season of the show.

Do you not like to watch yourself on screen?

If I watch myself I would drive myself and my boyfriend crazy. He’d be like, “Alanna, shut up already!” I’d be like, “I’m so short! I can’t believe how short I am!” I try to stay away from seeing half the stuff I do. It would bring out the worst in me.

Alanna Ubach – El Tigre: The Adventure of Manny Rivera

June 7, 2007 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Taking their love for their Mexican culture and cartoons, husband-wife animation team Jorge R. Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua have created a superhero for the new Latino generation. His name is Manny Rivera and in his new show, “El: Tigre: The Adventure of Manny Rivera,” which premieres on Nickelodeon March 3 at 12 p.m., makes history by being the first Latin-themed cartoon created by Latinos themselves.

Voiced by Puerto Rican/Mexican actress Alanna Ubach (“Legally Blonde,” “Meet the Fockers”), Manny is  13-year-old kid torn between fighting the good fight alongside his superhero father White Pantera or  laying the villain with his grandpapi Puma Loco.

With a quick spin of his belt buckle and the powers he received from his father’s magical bronze boots, Manny is able to transform into El Tigre and search for his true calling. Speaking with me via phone, Ubach, 31, talked about her new role as an energetic little boy, Mexican stereotypes, and reaching out to children everywhere with a message of family values.

What is it like to see an animated little boy speaking and your voice coming out of him?

It’s completely and totally wild. I’ve never played anyone like this before. I am so excited. The fact that a 13-year-old boy’s voice is coming out of my mouth is just beyond absurd to me and very exciting at the same time.

I know that Sandra and Jorge were trying to look for a little boy at first to give a voice to Manny, but they were worried that somewhere down the road the boy would hit puberty and his voice would change.

I didn’t think about that! It’s funny because I do go out (for voice auditions) for little boys. I have such a low voice, I’m always being considered for little boy roles. It’s hilarious. I’m a 31-yearold woman so go figure. You never know where fate may take you.

What other little boy characters have you voiced?

Well, Skate Lad was a character that I did for the show “Teamo Supremo” on Disney. He was about seven years old. When I went in to audition for (Jorge) he told me to think of Skate Lad, but a couple years older.

How does it feel to be a part of a history-making television show? This is the only Latino-themed cartoon written by Latinos every to hit television.

I’m very proud to be playing a Hispanic role. This is something that will hopefully make cartoon history.

Now, “El Tigre” does have some stereotypes when it comes to portraying Mexicans. Talk to me about that.

It’s wonderful to incorporate all the wonderful things we look up to in a superhero and slide them into a 13-year-old child. Especially, this boy who is Latin and who is a minority. He is like the hero of minorities. He has all these wonderful superpowers and he is ready to seize the day. It is really just a lot of fun.

Yes, the cartoon is very sweet and very safe when it presents the stereotypes but are you at all worried that people might get offended by some of these references? Remember Speedy Gonzales?

I don’t think so. At the end of the day the foundation is heart and it’s really about love and (Manny’s) relationship with his father and his grandfather. Because it has so much content in it, it would really be ridiculous for people to look at it at face value and think that it’s making fun of anyone. Anyone that is insulted by this really isn’t paying close attention to the cartoon.

Do you have any kids?

No, I don’t. I have a Pomeranian.

Neither do Sandra and Jorge. They told me that they consider Manny their first kid. Do you look at your characters as part of your family as well?

Oh sure. You have to. If you’re going to see this character every single week you have to channel the little boy in a way. I have a lot of little cousins who are really looking forward to seeing the show. (Manny’s) voice is really a combination of two of my cousins. It’s a combination of a lot of little boys I knew growing up as well. It’s a lot of fun to cook something up like that and bring it to life.

What message do you hope young kids, Latino or not, get from this new cartoon?

I hope it teaches them about values and I hope they have a lot of fun watching it. I hope it makes them feel good every Saturday morning. It’s definitely a cereal cartoon and I just can’t wait for all the kids in America – Hispanic, non-Hispanic, Chinese, Japanese – to sit down in their PJs, eat their cereal and enjoy “Manny Rivera.”