Ana de la Reguera is having a year unlike any other. Known across Latin America for an esteemed career in telenovelas, de la Reguera is more recognized in the states from her roles on Narcos, Goliath, and Eastbound and Down. Nostalgic fans will also definitely remember her as Sister Encarnación from Nacho Libre. Already proving to have an established repertoire in both Mexican and American cinema, more and more people have recently given de la Reguera praise thanks to her leading performance in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, and this momentum is only going to continue with the release of The Forever Purge.
The fifth and “final” entry in the franchise, The Forever Purge brings its horrifying premise to new territory. Following the Annual Purge, a group lead by two Mexican immigrants must navigate dystopian Texas when Americans are finally pushed to their limits and decide to never stop purging. Add in a rogue faction of neo-nazi purgers who hope to cleanse the land of anyone who isn’t white, and one gets a political allegory far deeper than this series has previously seen – especially given the last few years in the United States. De la Reguera leads this latest Blumhouse tale alongside fellow Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta.
Following our exclusive interview with Blumhouse CEO and Purge producer Jason Blum, we were lucky enough to sit down with lead star Ana de la Reguera in the midst of what is certainly her year. She talks her experience working on The Forever Purge with Mexican director Everardo Gout, returning to the Horror genre, and what fans can expect from her upcoming work on Netflix’s animated prequel, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas.
To start off, why the Purge? Director Everardo Gout brought you on, so I’m interested to know how he sold the project to you?
Ana de la Reguera: First of all, I was excited about being in this franchise. I thought it was super interesting to finally join them. You know, I talk to whoever I adore, and Everardo really wanted to bring his style of directing, which is very realistic – he works a lot with the camera in-hand and it’s almost very documentary-like at times. Also, he wanted to see the story through a perspective of two Latinos who just came to the U.S. – a perspective of two immigrants, so I was sold immediately after that.
Had you seen any of the Purge movies before? And what was your prior experience working with Blumhouse?
Ana de la Reguera: I had participated in movies from Blumhouse before. I did one called Jessabelle many years ago, I have a small role there. So I had actually worked with them before, but I also knew the Purge franchise. I’ve seen some of the movies, so I was happy to be a part of them.
The franchise is very famous for its political themes and allegories. Specifically, The Forever Purge resembles heavy themes of race that have only elevated within the last few years, particularity with Latinos. What kind of conversations were you having with Everardo on portraying these topics? Did you feel a sense of responsibility?
Ana de la Reguera: I actually had that conversation with Everardo the day we met, when he was pitching the film to me exactly. He was talking about how he wanted this to be seen through the Latino perspective, but he also wanted to bring other stuff to the table. I think during the shoot, we weren’t discussing it as much as we were just working and had to deliver. Also, it’s a Horror movie, it’s an action movie. So we had to be focusing on that as well.
But it’s incredible just to watch something that you did in 2019, and then suddenly a few months later, there’s real-life images on television that remind you a lot of what you just worked on. You’re like, “Oh my god, this is insane. We just shot this and it’s happening on a more scary and even bigger level.” So yes, it’s always strange. You know, it’s an art and that’s how you know that our writers and producers are visionaries. They know where things are going in real-life because that’s their job.
You’re already having such a big year with The Forever Purge releasing after Army of the Dead. Both are similar in the sense that they have genuine Latino representation. How do you approach these type of stories?
Ana de la Reguera: I do like these films because, you know, it doesn’t feel like “Oh, we have to put a Latino in there” just to check that mark or whatever. In these movies, specifically, we are the leads and everything is seen through our eyes. And this story is about that – two worlds that must come together to survive. Those two worlds, that of Americans and Mexicans, especially in this country, in these very tense situations… you would never put them on the same team. Suddenly, they have to come together and help each other. So I thought that was super cool.
And you’re not done with Army of the Dead yet, because you’re also going to be in the animated prequel Lost Vegas right?
Ana de la Reguera: Yes, we already did it. That’s coming out next year!
What was it like returning to that universe, but this time though voice acting?
Ana de la Reguera: It was very cool because it was mostly my voice. Like, I didn’t see any images. I just saw one actually. They showed me how my character was going to look. So I had to draw most of my performance from reading the story. It’s a lot of our backstories, how everything started. So I think people are going to love it.
It was easier because it was just more about putting my voice. Sometimes, you have to adapt when you’re dubbing something [as a voice actor], you’re kind of already seeing a performance in the animation. But they were actually making everything around us. So it was way easier in that regard to voice acting. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know how it’s going to go. I just lent my voice, but I hope that people like it. The story is really good.
With more things on the horizon, do you have any wishes to star in more Horror films?
Ana de la Reguera: I do. You know, I’m putting it out there like… it is called the Forever Purge, and I’m in it. So I should be in all of them, this doesn’t stop! So where’s the next one guys? I’m here! But yes, I would love to be part of more, Horror films and all. I just love acting. I’m just very grateful to be to be working right now, or that people want to cast me. I’m very happy about that. I can’t ask for anything else.
Did you ever imagine how big this year was going to be for you? Your face is front and center on two major Horror releases, one in theaters and one on streaming. How are you taking this all in?
Ana de la Reguera: I would have never imagined that this would be happening to me. Like if you told me two years ago, “In a few years, you’re going to be releasing two big movies in the summer, like some one of the biggest movies” I would be like, no way. How is that going to happen? And I know, after being in this in this industry for 20 years, I would have been like, “I don’t think so.” That has never happened to me. And you, me, everyone knows how hard it is to even get one movie out. Having back to back huge movies, as a lead? I would have laughed in your face. But, you know, that’s how life is like, very unexpected.