Ana de Armas is a Cuban born actress who has taken the move from Spanish cinema to Hollywood. Starting with her role in the movie Knock Knock in 2015.
Birthday: April 30, 1988
Born: Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba
Famous for: Actress
full name – Ana Celia de Armas Caso
Ana de Armas moved with her family to Havana capital from Santa Cruz del Norte where she joined the National Theatre School of Cuba at the age of 14 years.
At the age 16 she made her first film called Una rosa de Francia (2006) directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragon. She auditioned for the role even though her teachers stressed that she was not ready for the big screen. Then came the movie Madrigal (2007), directed by Fernando Pérez after he saw her first movie. And then El Eden Perdido (2007), directed by Manuel Estudillo.
In 2007 she traveled to Madrid, Spain with the intention of spending time doing castings and if she did not succeed, return to Cuba. Within a week of being in Spain and she had won the role of Carolina in the TV series Antena 3 and Globomedia, internship.
In 2015 Ana de Armas appeared alongside Keanu Reeves in her first English speaking ‘Hollywood’ movie ‘Knock, Knock’
She has moved from Madrid now lives in Los Angeles.
*Photo credits provided in references section where possible
“I can’t stay in one place for too long,” Ana de Armas says over a cup of tea in a quiet, sunlit cafe in SoHo. “I always need to keep moving.” Well then, the 27-year-old actress has picked the right career. Since moving to Los Angeles from Spain a year ago, the Cuban native has been zipping from one film set to the next. Recent stints include time in Washington Heights, New York, filming Daughter of God with Keanu Reeves and Mira Sorvino, and in Panama for the forthcoming Hands of Stone, a boxing biopic that stars Robert De Niro. “It was a dream come true,” she says of working with such a legend. “I was enjoying myself and, at the same time, trying to look at myself from the outside like, ‘Are you really getting to do this?’ ” In May, de Armas was in Miami for Arms and the Dudes, a Todd Phillips-directed crime caper co-starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill. Never mind that she only began studying English a few years ago (this is her first interview in the language), de Armas, who at 18 decamped from Cuba to Spain by herself, without knowing a soul, is as dauntless as ever. “Right now I want to try as many different roles as I can,” she says. “I want to do everything.”
HT: Your role in the series “El Internado” was undoubtedly a significant door for your pursuing a promising international career.
Ana de Armas: Yes, joining the cast of “El Internado” was the most important thing that happened to me just after arriving in Spain. It was a surprise and a great thrill to know that they were taking a chance on me for that series, which at the beginning no one knew if it would work out or if people would like it. But in any case it was an unforgettable opportunity. Luckily everybody liked it, and they liked it a lot. It was one of the most-watched series in Spain for four years, and of course a number of doors opened up for me thanks to it.
HT: How did you get the part? What were the circumstances that allowed you to join the cast of that series?
AA: When I got to Spain I only had two friends and my representative. So the first few days after going through all the excitement of being in a new country, I began to miss my family and friends. But fortunately after about two weeks I was told that a casting director named Luis San Narcissus wanted to see me concerning a character for a new series.
Of course without asking anything I went to meet with him. What was even better was that he had seen my first movie, “Una Rosa de Francia.” So as soon as I got to his office and after we talked for a few minutes, he told me that the part of Carolina was mine. I was ecstatic, but I really had no idea of what the consequences of that would be for me. As they say here, it was like “arriving and kissing the saint” [roughly, “beginners luck”], but I’ll always be grateful to Luis San Narcissus for that opportunity.
HT: After having been able to appreciate the outcome of the TV series, what conclusions did you draw from that experience?
AA: After being on “El Internado” for several seasons and seeing how year after year it continued to be popular, we did nothing else but enjoy the success of the series, and of course we continued working hard every day so that it would stay so. It has undoubtedly been an indispensable experience for me, personally as well as professionally. It has helped me a lot in many aspects of my life. I met lots of people, and some are friends who I’ll have for the rest of my life. Of course professionally it was what gave me the opportunity to make my work known and for people to call me for other productions.
HT: To get this role you had to interrupt your acting studies, which you still haven’t completed at Cuba’s National School of Theater (ENA).
AA: Well, when I was in Cuba and I made the decision to leave for Spain to look for work, I was in my fourth year of acting school. When I left I was only a few months short of graduating, but I knew that immediately after finishing I wouldn’t be allowed to leave Cuba for a few years [to perform National Social Service work required of all graduates]. So, I had to weigh the value of having a degree in my hands or leaving at that moment in search of my future; and like I said previously, I always pay attention to my intuition – so I left. When I did, as I also explained before, I didn’t go to Spain with a lock on “El Internado,” not at all. In fact it was just the opposite. I left to try my luck. It could have turned out for the good or for the bad. I was gambling everything, but it was a risk I needed to take.
HT: What images come back to you when we mention ENA?
AA: When I speak of ENA, a smile comes back to me. But when I think about it for more than 10 minutes, other things come to mind. There were many good, incredible, unforgettable, beloved and delicious times; ones that filled me with experience and matured me, but there were also some very difficult and painful moments… ones that I experienced at that time as if it were the end of the world, and those that I benefited from years later.
It’s a school where I had great teachers, ones with big hearts, but of course I also had some who weren’t so great. This was where I met my best friend, Claudia Alvariño; it was where I experienced what a group really is; it was the place where I had my first contact with the theater and it was the place where I fell in love with this profession. I believe that this smile that comes to me will never fade! Sometimes I get crazy desires to return, to again spend year after year there and to again study all those wonderful things that I would take more advantage of now.
HT: Do you think that your initial training at the National School of Theater in Cuba contributed to some degree in the producers of “El Internado” believing in you.
AA: Many of the things I learned in the school have definitely contributed to my professional development. I think what they taught us at ENA was great. But the fact that you go to a school or work won’t make people believe in you. You can have a nice letter of introduction, but it doesn’t mean that with it you can finally make it to the end of the world. I don’t think ENA had any impact on the decision by the directors of “El Internado,” since they knew nothing about me or the theater school. I believe that what you learn in school is for yourself, and in day-to-day life the only thing that counts is what you do each moment. People will only value what you’re able to demonstrate…what you know how to do, not what a piece of paper or a résumé says. What has value is experience.
HT: Many Cuban artists decide to pursue a career outside of their country for the adventure. In your particular case, would you have felt realized by acting in Cuba or were the prospects inadequate.
AA: Well, my first three work experiences were in Cuba, when I still hadn’t finished theater school. At that time, that was the best thing that could have happened to me, especially keeping in mind that I was working in the cinema. But I had there, in front of my eyes, former students of the school — graduates — who were not working or who didn’t have any money because they had to perform social service.
I would turn on television and see nothing more than old reruns of soap operas or things produced by ICRT [the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television] that were of poor quality due to the low budgets. The truth is that I didn’t think a lot about it; I was fortunate enough to also have Spanish nationality, and with that freedom I could come to Spain. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had this advantage, and I’ll never know.
HT: Soon you’ll return to your country to participate in some cinema projects. Tell us something about these.
AA: Sure. In brief I have a project in Cuba, a movie titled “Seven Days in Havana.” It’s a film that will be directed by seven directors from various countries, with each directing a short. My short will be directed by Benicio del Toro. Right now I can’t tell you any more than that (she laughs). Whenever there’s an interesting project in Cuba, and they want me to be in it, I would do it without thinking it through. I’ll always be proud to work in my country.
HT: A young, versatile and gifted actress, and also one with such an attractive image, I imagine that you have aspirations that go beyond a Spanish TV series. What for example is going through Ana’s mind.
AA: I am centered on the day to day. I want to live and enjoy the moment. I want to concern myself everyday with being better in my work and as a person. Of course I have thousands of aspirations that I will struggle to realize when the moment comes. But there’s no hurry. There’s still a lot of time.
“Starting from scratch in Hollywood after so long in Spain is hard and is a sacrifice, but it’s my decision and I am very proud,” the actress said in an interview with Efe.
“I feel good and perform. In the end, you can go right or wrong, but I have been true to myself and I did what I felt I should do. Of course I want to return to Spain, to Cuba … Later I’ll go where he is, but now we have to be here. In Hollywood you have to see your face, “he said.
“Knock Knock” Eli Roth, tells how two young attractive and lost (Lorenza Izzo and weapons) in full rainy night knock on the door of a parent (Reeves) who will spend the weekend alone at home .
What initially began as a series of kind acts towards them, soon leads to a dangerous game of seduction where his true intentions will be revealed.
“Two cats playing between them with a mouse in half,” said the actress, who reminds tape works like “Fatal Attraction” or “Funny Games”.
“These girls are looking for the man who is able to say no. It refuses to have sex with them. And do not lie,” said De Armas, who decided to get involved in the project mainly for his screenplay.
“It’s very funny and speaks of temptations, to resist what we like, sexual taboos, fidelity … In addition, it is difficult to find a bad character for a woman,” said De Armas, who became a close friend of Reeves during filming and he has also shot and another film, “Daughter of God”.
“When I lived in Cuba and was little I sat him on Sundays at noon. It is traditional lunch on the couch with the plate on his knees and watch movies, so I grew up watching Keanu in ‘Matrix’, ‘Speed’ .. . Working with him was like a ‘shock’. And over here we do everything, “said the interpreter.
“I get up -contó-, I pulled the panties to his face, put my feet in my mouth, I hit … It was fun. He is very generous, patient, good person and worker. He did everything for us we felt calm and do not intimidate us give you a slap. “
“Knock Knock” which opens Friday in the United States, will help the American public discovers it, as happened eight years ago in Spain with the series “The internship”.
“I’m nervous. To see what the public reaction and see if they like,” confessed sincere actress, for whom the sex scenes “are not the most difficult.”
“It makes it very fast. No one is comfortable, have to be done, period. The difficult are others. These are not paying attention. Do not study for that. It costs me nothing. I do not give them value,” he said.
Overturned on learning English, says she is now “more comfortable and free” with the language, although he admits he has a long process ahead of time to convince producers and directors who, because of his accent and his physique, his It is not the typical image of a Latina actress.
“I do not see it as a handicap. It’s like a superpower that can learn and use. It’s something new for them and for me,” he said.
Next year, when four films in its portfolio (including “Hands of Stone” with Robert De Niro, and “Arms and the Dudes” by Todd Phillips), they premiere it will be a good indication of that acceptance.
“My dream is -finalizó- work with directors that I admire and roll stories in which I believe. Always try to go for the creative side and do things for money. What you can do or take other decisions, well, that happens in life. I learned a lot about the film industry. “ EFE
 ICON Magazine [Photos by Nacho Alegre]
 17th Malaga Film Festival 2014 closing ceremony on March 29, 2014 [Photo by Juan Naharro]