Director Sebastián Lelio & star Daniela Vega on 'A Fantastic Woman'
For the now Oscar-nominated Chilean film ‘A Fantastic Woman,’ director Sebastián Lelio cast transgender actress Daniela Vega as a trans woman dealing with the sudden loss of of her partner. Lelio says box office grosses were less than his last movie, but in terms of starting a social conversation in Chile, the film has been incredibly powerful. Both Lelio and Vega join us to talk about making 'A Fantastic Woman.'
Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s latest film, ‘A Fantastic Woman,’ tells the tale of Marina, a transgender woman dealing with the sudden loss of of her partner. Lelio cast trans actress Daniela Vega in the starring role, and now 'A Fantastic Woman' is in contention for the best foreign-language Oscar. Both Lelio and Vega join us on the show and we also pay a visit to Lelio on the set of his upcoming movie ‘Gloria,’ where he explains the difference between directing in Spanish and English. But first on the news banter, 'Black Panther' is here, and poised to shatter February box office records.
Daniela Vega as Marina, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
‘Black Panther’ is here and it is huge. The newest Marvel movie, which makes history with its black director and almost all-black cast, is also being embraced by critics and crowds alike. It will break box office records and perhaps finally shatter the myth that movies with black casts can’t cross over to other audiences.
Another mega producer is jumping ship to Netflix. This time, Ryan Murphy is leaving his long-time home at Fox for a 5-year deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In this case, the move was no doubt spurred by Disney’s purchase of Fox. Post-merger, Murphy had questioned whether he would have to start making his material more family-friendly. Plus, the executives Murphy had grown to trust at Fox may no longer have jobs there in the future, giving him yet another reason to leave.
A few weeks ago, back in December, we decided to get out of the studio and visit a movie shoot. We went to downtown LA, where we caught up with Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio. His most recent movie, ‘A Fantastic Woman,’ is an Oscar nominee in the best foreign language category.
When we had our outing, Lelio was already at work on another movie, 'Gloria,' an English-language version of his own 2013 film of the same name. This one stars Julianne Moore as a lonely woman in her fifties who encounters a new love. When we arrived, Lelio was setting up a shot. Once established, he sat down for a quick chat about the experience of directing in Spanish vs. English, and the advantages of working with a bilingual crew.
A couple of months later, we connected with Lelio again, and this time he brought along actress Daniela Vega, star of Lelio’s latest film, ‘A Fantastic Woman.’
Director Sebastián Lelio, Photo by Michelle Bossy, Courtesy of Sony Pictures
The movie tells the story of Marina, who works as a singer in Santiago, but also waits tables to make ends meet. After a romantic evening with her lover Orlando, Marina’s life is turned upside down when Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies. Marina is left to deal with his hostile ex-wife and children, who have never accepted Orlando’s relationship with her--a transgender woman.
Marina is played by Daniela Vega, the first--and at this point, only--openly transgender actress in Chile. Before ‘A Fantastic Woman,’ she’d only been in one other small film. When Lelio first met her, he only planned to hire her as an advisor.
Lelio explains that after becoming friends with Vega, it was quite clear she was the perfect person for the part. They tell us about the experience of making the movie, the reception of the film in Chile and abroad, and the importance of Vega’s character singing opera.