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Kate del Castillo: Mexican Superstar Talks Playing Lesbian and Trans

Kate del Castillo: Mexican Superstar Talks Playing Lesbian and Trans

Spanish-speaking audiences are well familiar with Mexican superstar Kate del Castillo and now LGBT audiences in particular are beginning to appreciate what a treasure of an actress she truly is.

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Spanish-speaking audiences are well familiar with Mexican superstar Kate del Castillo. With arresting roles on Weeds and and anticipated forthcoming roles in films Without Men (below) opposite Eva Longoria andgritty prison pic K-11, LGBT audiences in particular are beginning to appreciate what a treasure of an actress Castillo truly is.

Get to know the incredible Castillo a little better with some key highlights from her intriguing interview with Advocate.com.

I think the character you play codes as lesbian right away. She’s much more self-assured than the other women.
Yeah, definitely, she’s a straightforward lesbian. Absolutely. I think she has overcome that machismo world and she’s the one who, who gives them a little bit of self-assurance and telling them ... to become a woman in every single sense without a man. I think it’s a beautiful character and [she] comes to revolutionize the whole town.

The film is about that women emerging from these supporting roles to be leaders in their own right. Do you feel like the leader in real life?
I am a leader in my own world. That’s enough for me. I’ve been living by myself for a long time. Then I married and then ... I think I did a big thing first of all, on marrying the first guy I married, and I wrote a domestic violence book because that was my experience. So, for me, this means a lot. I’m always trying to push for women’s rights. So this movie, it’s just perfect for me.

Do you think Spanish-speaking audiences versus English-speaking audiences will perceive the film any differently?
Unfortunately we — and I’m speaking not for Latin America but for Mexico because that’s where I come from — we still, I think, are a little bit macho. Not that we only live in a macho world, but we also think as a macho world; even the women, you know? The women in Mexico, because that’s the way we were raised. But now, every year, every moment, every single month, everything’s changing in Mexico and in Latin America. They see the women working but still being moms.We are working and we still having control of our homes, of our children, of everything, so we added something. And I think we’re gaining all of this respect from men in a good way.

You have a very much buzzed-about sex scene with Eva Longoria.
Oh, yeah. [Laughs]

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Was this the first time you kissed another woman (in Without Men)?
This was the first time, yes, and then I went to the Queen of the South and I kissed another girl there, so I’ve been kissing [women] and now I’m going to play a man who wants to be a woman. So I’m confused now. [Laughs] My husband is like "Oh, honey." But yeah, this was the first time, and we were — I’m going to talk for myself, but I was nervous, just because in the back of your head, it’s stupid, but you know, it’s a woman. I’ve kissed very ugly guys, why wouldn’t I kiss Eva Longoria? Right? [Laughs] But in the back of your head it’s just weird ... and all the people, the crew, they were like "Oh, my God, these two chicks," you know? Actually, we had so much fun and she’s so nice to work with. She’s a fun and very light actress, very light girl, like in the way you can hang with her. So we had a lot of fun and uh, and she’s just, she’s just soft.

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So it was a little different than doing a sex scene with a male costar?
Absolutely, absolutely. Yes, and we had so much respect. Sometimes with male actors, you don’t get that much respect. sometimes in this career you get to come across the asses. [Laughs] So, I felt really, really secure in many ways. And it was just amazing; we had a lot of fun.

Tell me more about your upcoming film, K-11.
I’m researching a lot about transsexuality [for the role]. Oh, my God, I’m so excited. That’s why I love my job, because I learn so much with every role that I play because you get to research. I’m playing a transsexual. And I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading and getting to meet people. I’ve learned so much from these transsexuals and transgender people that it’s amazing. I can’t even describe you how much in peace I feel now because I’ve got to meet people ... that they are amazing people that have been through so much pain. And that makes them just survivors in my point of view and amazing, amazing people. I’m very happy and I’m very proud to be able to, to just to open my eyes, open my mind. Once I was playing a prostitute down in Bolivia — I spent three months there, and it’s the poorest country in Latin America. I was having a bad, bad time because I was hanging out with all these prostitutes. In Bolivia, it’s legal. So I was hanging out with all these prostitutes, and the stories they would tell me, my heart was so broken and I was feeling so bad I would be like, “Dad, I feel so bad, I wish I could have so much money to give these people, and to do something, to help them” and my father — my father’s a big actor, right — he was like, “Honey, you need to stop this because this is not your reality. But I am so glad you know that it exists because it is reality.”

So you know, there’s a big difference. And, and there’s only so much we can do but ... just knowing that it exists, it changes your life. It changes your point of view. It changes the way you act every single day. So for me, now, as I’ve learned and I’ve grown so much in this past month of researching [transgender issues]. I’m starting the movie tomorrow, so let’s see what happens.

Well what can you tell me about your role? Are you actually playing a transgender person in the film?
Yes I am. Everything happens in Los Angeles County Jail. K-11 is a section they have in that jail that segregates all the gay and transsexual and bisexual inmates so the other ones won’t harm them. So I’m one of those transgender girls inside the jail. And she actually runs the dorm, so she can be as feminine as any girl and then she becomes really violent because she does meth and she does a lot of drugs, and she’s mercurial — she snaps in a second and she’s violent and she can be very masculine.

And so it’s this duality [that’s] amazing, I mean, it’s like a schizophrenic kind of role, which is so hard and such a challenge for me ... because I’m not playing a lesbian like in Without Men. I’m playing a man who wants to be a woman. So it’s just different.

I know that there’s a lot of interest from the trans community, since there are so many interesting people involved in it.

[Director] Jules Stewart has done an amazing job getting actors together. When things are meant to be ... the right people just fall in this right project, in the right moment, and all of the people that are involved are amazing and things start to happen instead of the obstacles that you get all the time when you want to do a movie.

It’s expected to be a blockbuster.
Well, yeah, hopefully. It’s funny, with the Queen of the South, I finished it in January, and then all the success ... is just a blessing, because you don’t expect that. As an actor, you just go and do your job he best you can. it’s not in your hands anymore. You’re done. You don’t even know if that thing’s going to even go out; you can only can do what you can do and and try to do the best way you can, and that’s it — everything else is a blessing, it’s a gift from life, really.

Queen of the South beat all of the English-language network shows at the 10 p.m. spot.
I know, isn’t it amazing? For me it’s like a dream come true. Thinking about even competing with the networks, it’s just amazing. Also, that I worked with, in English, in many great movies, with great actors and great directors, and this thing in Spanish is the one that catches attention from other networks — and also Americans [overall]. A movie I did called Under the Same Moon that was in Spanish, it was also a big hit. And for me, it’s an honor and I feel so grateful that something in Spanish is what’s grabbing attention.

To read more from the Castillo interview, click over to Advocate.com now.

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Diane Anderson-Minshall

Diane Anderson-Minshall is CEO and editorial director of Pride Media, the parent company of PRIDE, Out, The Advocate, Plus, and Out Traveler.

Diane Anderson-Minshall is CEO and editorial director of Pride Media, the parent company of PRIDE, Out, The Advocate, Plus, and Out Traveler.