Like her character in the new film “Under the Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”), actress Kate del Castillo moved to the U.S. from Mexico City to find better opportunities. It started four years before her official relocation to Los Angeles when del Castillo earned the recurring role of Ofelia on the PBS show “American Family.”
In 2006, she made L.A. her new home and landed parts in a number of films including “Bordertown,” starring Jennifer Lopez and “Trade” alongside Kevin Kline. In her new film “Under the Same Moon,” del Castillo plays Rosario, a Mexican immigrant who moves to the U.S. to make a better life for her son Carlitos (Adrian Alonso), who she has left in Mexico. When his grandmother dies, however, Carlitos begins his trek across the border to find his mother with the help of Enrique (Eugenio Derbez), a farm worker he meets along the way.
During an interview with me, del Castillo talks about taking roles in films with serious themes, immigration, and what she wants to accomplish as an actress living in L.A.
Your last three films, “Under the Same Moon,” “Trade,” and “Bordertown, have covered some serious issues – immigration, sex trafficking in Mexico, and the murders in Ciudad Juarez. What is it about these types of films that attract you to a project?
I know. I think I’m going to have to do something with Disney next time – something lighter [laughing]. I think I am very lucky to have these types of characters in my hands. I am always happy to portray someone in a world that has important issues. On the other hand, “Under the Same Moon” isn’t really a story about immigration. It’s more of a story about love between a mother and a son and all the struggles they go through because they want to be together. I think it’s a movie to feel good about.
Does “Under the Same Moon” hit on a person level for you at all?
In a way it did because I am part of these immigrants. I am like [my character] because she leaves everything behind to find something better. Her instincts are telling her what to do. I have no kids. It’s only me but I left behind my family and my name in a way and my position as a celebrity in Latin America to find something different.
What has been the major difference between having an acting career in Mexico City and having one in Los Angeles?
I was working already so it wasn’t that hard to find something to do. I was already shooting the TV series “American Family” for PBS. As soon as I came to America it was really good. I feel really happy to be doing what I want to do.
Why do you think so many people risk their lives coming to this country instead of getting a work visa to come here?
Because they want to have a job. The problem is we shouldn’t want to leave our country. It is a political issue in Mexico that has been there forever. We don’t have enough jobs and opportunities in Mexico. People would rather risk their lives than be in the same position forever.
The statistic that stood out to me from this film is that 4 million women have left at least one child behind in Mexico to come work in the U.S. What do you think about these women that are coming to the U.S. to work for a better life for their children?
They are looking to be better in one way or another. They are trying to have a better life for their loved ones. They want to improve themselves. I really can’t judge all these women. You have to live in their life in order to be able to understand.
“Under the Same Moon” is really a heartwarming story. I think a lot of that comes from actor Adrian Alonso, who plays your son. Talk to me about this young talent and what he brought to the film.
He’s such a great actor. He is so professional and disciplined. I feel very lucky to be working with him. I think he reflects everything the director [Patricia Riggen] wanted to show in this role. I was there for him. He was there for me. The only scene we have together is the scene where he imagines me in the bed with him, which is one of my favorite scenes. It’s really powerful.
Now in Los Angeles, what do you want to prove as an actress?
As an actor you want to do every single character that is available to you so you can do your craft. As long as it’s a good project with good people around it, I’ll be happy to do whatever.