Aimee Garcia – Dexter & Go For It! (DVD)

September 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

It’s been a great year for actress Aimee García. Not only did she star in the lead role of the feature dance film “Go For It!,” she was cast in the critically-acclaimed Showtime series “Dexter.”

During an exclusive interview with me, García, who was best known for her role as George Lopez’s rebellious niece Verónica in the final season of “The George López Show,” talked about doing her own dance moves in “Go For It!” and her character Jamie Batista in “Dexter.”

“Go For It!” was released on DVD Sept. 27. The sixth season of “Dexter” premieres Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. on Showtime.

How exciting has 2011 been for Aimee Garcia?

It’s a dream come true. I go to work every day on “Dexter” with Emmy-nominated actors and writers. “Go For It!” was a passion project. We put sweat, blood and tears into shooting it. It’s a movie that could’ve gone nowhere, but a major studio picked it up and distributed it. It’s a story of an underdog. Coming from Chicago and the Midwest, I really feel like if you work hard you’ll get a break. This year has been so fantastic. It’s so exciting to headline a film. It’s not every day you see a Latina carrying a full-length feature.

The film is also directed by a Latina, Carmen Marron. It’s rare to get a film starring a Latina and directed by one, too.

Latinos are the fastest growing minority and we’re obviously not going anywhere. We’re extremely loyal as a people and I think Hollywood is starting to recognize that. It’s very rare for a major studio to nationally distribute a film with Latino talent, not only in front of the camera, but also behind the camera. It really is a major feat on so many levels. Usually film and TV are behind the curve when it comes to representing the actual social fabric of the country.

You came into “Go For It!” with your own background in dance. Did the dancing scenes come natural to you? Did you still have all your moves?

(Laughs) Well, I started my career as a professional dancer in Chicago, so I definitely had tons of training, but I was trained in classical ballet. So, I had to up my game because I knew I was going to dance a lot of hip-hop. I was sharing the screen with professional dancers who have danced with Janet Jackson and Pink and other incredible performers. I trained for eight months before we started shooting. I took about five hip-hop classes a week. I felt like a professional athlete.

What did that do to you physically? It must’ve been rough.

Yeah, I retrained hardcore. I was bruised. I had to ice my sore muscles every day. I also had to change my diet and eat more protein. I felt like I was a professional soccer player. But I wanted to do my own dancing. I didn’t want a body double or a guy with a wig doing it for me. It was pretty brutal.

Was doing your own dancing an important part of the process for you?

It was very important because my character really expresses herself through dance. I feel like if I robbed her from that experience it wouldn’t have been as fulfilling to the audience. [Director] Carmen [Marron] from the very beginning knew she wanted some who could act and dance. I knew I was going to have to step up and do it. I always promised myself if I ever got the chance to do a “Flashdance”-type of movie, I would do my own dancing. I can say with pride that every single dance move in “Go For It!” is my own dance move.

Talk about your character on “Dexter” and the overall experience it’s been working on such a popular show.

Only six dramas get nominated for Emmys and I’m working on one of them right now. I’m sharing the screen with Edward James Olmos and Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter. I’m just so lucky to be on a show with such a fervent and incredible fan base all over the world. The day after I got cast I was getting tweets from Germany and London. My character is Jamie Batista, Dexter’s new nanny. She’s Angel Batista’s little sister. She moved to Miami to study child psychology. She’s smart. She’s a hot little number who is super comfortable in a bikini. I love everything about her. She’s savvy, flirty and fun.

Carmen Marron – Go For It!

May 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

It’s been a long road traveled for Chicago-born filmmaker Carmen Marron over the last 7½ years to get to the point in her career she is at right now. On May 13, “Go For It!,” Marron’s very first feature film, will debut in movie theaters across the country.

“I’ve probably encountered every single challenge there is to making an independent film,” Marron told me during an interview about her hip-hop dance film. “It’s been a really long uphill battle but I got through it by having a ‘Si se Puede’ attitude.”

In “Go For It!,” which she directed, wrote, and produced, Marron tells the story of Carmen Salgado (Aimee Garcia), a street dancer from Chicago with aspirations to go to formal dance school in California. Marron, who grew up a street dancer herself in Chicago, says her inspiration in making “Go For It!” was to help create more powerful role models for young women, something she feels Hollywood is sorely lacking.

During our interview, Marron, who is a graduate of Lane Technical High School, talked about the parallels between herself and the film’s female protagonist and why “Go For It!” is different from other recent hip-hop dance movies.

How much of your own life did you include in the film?

Well, like Carmen I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and had immigrant parents. Most of my friends were Latinos. I was inspired by events in my life and experiences I came across working as a guidance counselor. I definitely faced a lot of the same issues Carmen does.

Was it a conscious decision to make a film that could empower young Latina women?

Oh, definitely. I wrote this story about a young woman trying to find her identity and figure out who she wants to be in this world. I think that’s what all young women go through. They ask themselves, “How do we become a woman and what do we want for ourselves so we don’t get absorbed in society, especially as a Latina?” Growing up, my mom was always like, “You need to get married and find yourself a boyfriend.” I really didn’t want to fall into that trap. I related to this character because I wanted more for my life than just being a homemaker.

When did your dream to be a dancer start and end for you?

It started when I was young and saw “Flashdance” and movies like that. It ended by the time I finished high school because I realized I wasn’t as good as all the others. I had to focus on my education.

Was it hard to let go of dancing?

Yeah, I missed it. To this day, I still try to take dance classes when I can. I have a huge love and respect for dancing and dancers. This is probably my way of enjoying it and appreciating it as an adult.

How did your parents’ immigrant background influence the type of person you are today?

My dad was a huge influence. He basically taught me to love education because he never had a chance to go to school. That’s something he always longed for and something he instilled in me. Getting an education was non-negotiable. He knew it would open up a lot of doors for me. I knew education was going to be my way to a better life.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

I definitively believe women can do just as great of a job as a man can, and in many cases better of a job. I believe some day we are going to have a great woman president. But I also really respect women who are very traditional and love being stay-at-home moms and raising their kids. I’m really more about what the individual woman really wants to do and what her dreams are in her heart.

We’ve seen plenty of hip-hop dance films over the last few years. What makes “Go For It!” something unique?

In most dance films – and I’ve seen them all – the dancing is the main character and there really isn’t a strong storyline. “Go For It!” really is an inspirational drama that just happens to be about dance. There really is a strong message behind it. There’s a real vibe to it that will help the audience connect even deeper.