• Interviews

The Face of a New Generation of Colombian Actors: Natalia Reyes

Natalia Reyes is one of the most sought-after actresses in Colombia.  At the Cartagena International Film Festival (FICCI), the actress presented her new film Mañana Antes Después, a dystopian story. Since her international breakthrough in Terminator: Dark Fate, the Colombian actress has continued to not only build her own career but has also become an advocate for the Colombian entertainment industry. Last year, Reyes became the youngest President of the Colombian Academy, a role that she does not take lightly, but is reflective of a new generation of Colombian artists that she is determined to bring to the next level.

Reyes was interviewed by the HFPA at FICCI.

Mañana Antes Después rests totally on your shoulders as your character is the only person in the dystopian drama. What was your initial reaction after reading the script?

My initial reaction was, “This is insane!” Firstly, the story deals with a pandemic. And I read the script before the Covid pandemic and was thinking “What is a pandemic?” Secondly, the only protagonist in the story is a pregnant woman. At that time, neither script nor the role made sense to me. Little did I know when I turned it down that soon after we would find ourselves in a pandemic and I got pregnant! When the script came back to me, I had changed my mind and thought of the writer as a visionary.

What are the challenges of being the only protagonist in the story?

The role was most certainly the biggest acting exercise I have done in my life. The challenge is building character and plot while at the same time, you must connect with the feelings of the audience and keep the suspense moving till the end.

How did pregnancy affect your acting?

It became complicated with each month of the pregnancy, and by the end of the shoot, I was eight months pregnant. Like many women, I felt vulnerable during pregnancy. The experience of creating a human being is very complex and it changes you. Thanks to the support of my husband Juan-Pedro, the crew, the production company, and the sponsors, I felt loved and safe. This was my first pregnancy. I learned to open myself up and channel my own vulnerability into the character who was afraid, alone and felt unsafe. To express all those emotions was most gratifying for me as an actor.

As you mentioned, the story starts after a pandemic that destroyed the earth. How has Covid affected you?

The pandemic was an eye-opener. Our world is not the same as it was before. The pandemic is a result of how we treat our planet and every story that is related to a pandemic will reflect this insane relationship with our world and nature. There is no way one cannot see and acknowledge the dramatic environmental and climate changes. The pandemic stopped the world for a moment and many people started to redirect their lives, changing careers, moving to other places and realizing the importance of relationships. Our future as a human race depends on a healthy planet.

How good are your survival skills?

I am training them! After the dystopian stories in Terminator: Dark Fate and now Mañana Antes Después, I seem to become that person. Nature to me is very important because it forces you to become creative, think out of the box and follow your instincts.


Why is it important for you to show your film at FICCI?

FICCI is my favorite time in the year. It is the longest-running film festival in Latin America and one of its founders was Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My goal is to support FICCI as much as I can and bring big voices from the international entertainment industry to Cartagena. This year Sebastian Lelio and Tim Miller attended FICCI which I am very proud of.

Last year you became the youngest President of the Academia Colombiana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematograficas. What would you like to achieve in this role?

By becoming the youngest President in the history of the Academia Colombiana, I reflect a new generation of Latinas and Latinos committed to films and the audio-visual industry. The industry in Colombia has a great pool of talents and highly qualified crews. The best recent examples are the drama Birds of Passage which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. In 2022, director Laura Mora Ortega won the Concha de Oro for her film Los reyes del mundo at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Last year I was shooting Shadow Force with Emmy winner Kerry Washington here in Cartagena. But we need to improve. One of my main goals is to use the platform given to me and take my country and industry to the next level.