W MAGAZINE – The rising actress discusses working with method actor Leto, her slate of upcoming projects, and making space for young Latinas in Hollywood.
Adria Arjona, star of Sony’s latest entry into the Marvel canon, Morbius, says she only met her co-star Jared Leto once before filming. During the entire duration of filming the action-packed flick, she never saw the method actor, who plays the titular biochemist who accidentally becomes infected with a form of vampirism during an experiment gone wrong, again.
“We met before going to London, and we had a really lovely conversation. And then I show up in London [to film] and I never see Jared again, it was all Dr. Morbius,” the actress tells W over the phone from Los Angeles. “He was so in character and he was so committed to the role, which set the tone for all of us. After we wrapped, I saw him again and I was like, Oh, what’s up, Jared, we’ve been a movie together, but I haven’t seen you in months.
“I never worked with someone that completely transformed themselves. I called him Doctor on set, I never called him Jared. He always called me Dr. Martine,” Arjona goes on. “I still have him saved on my phone as ‘Doctor.’ I should probably change that.”
There was also a point when Arjona, who plays Dr. Martine Bancroft, Dr. Morbius’s scientist girlfriend and confidante, almost didn’t end up in the movie at all. At first, director Daniel Espinosa thought Arjona might be too young for the role, but the 29-year-old performer won him over in the audition room. Soon, she found herself working with Espinosa and the writers to make sure Martine would be a “fully rounded character” in the film. “You look at Martine, and you give her importance based on her intellect, and not based on the way that she looks,” Arjona says. “In Marvel movies, sometimes that’s different. In this case, she’s just a brilliant doctor. Morbius would not be where he is without Martine—she is his anchor.”
Arjona will soon have her work cut out for her with another massive franchise: Andor, a spin-off of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with Diego Luna. Of course, the actress can’t reveal any details about the Disney+ series, not even her character’s name. “I was about to tattoo her name on me because I think it’s such a cool name. And as I’m on my way, I’m like, wait, I can’t do that, what if someone asks me what it is before the series premieres?,” the actress reveals. “But I will get it at some point.” The only Star Wars tidbit she’s at liberty to share right now? “They built an entire city for us to film the series,” Arjona says.
And this summer, the actress will star in a Latinx remake of The Father of the Bride, opposite Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan, on HBO Max. Arjona will play the bride, with Garcia—to whom she became quite close during filming—playing her father. “Andy is the best advice-giver,” she says. “I know I can call Andy at any moment, and be like, should I do this?”
While many viewers have reboot fatigue, Arjona promises that this revival of the 1990s classic film, originally starring Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams Paisley, will give a fresh take on the original. “A lot of times, as Latin Americans traveling the world, we often get [described as being] all the same. And that’s so wrong—we cannot be more different,” the actress says. “I was raised in Mexico, my mother’s from Puerto Rico, and my father’s Guatemalan, and I spend so much time in all three places, but I cannot tell you how different my Guatemalan and my Puerto Rican family are, culturally. It’s unfair to us and to our culture and to our history to pinpoint us all as the same, so I think this movie will definitely show the differences. I hope that shifts people’s perspectives so they can really see the differences between cultures.”
As for the rest of her upcoming, yet-to-be-determined roles, Arjona just wants “to make sure that I’m opening doors for young Latin American actresses, so they don’t have to go through what I went through at the beginning of my career—I try to make choices so that the audience and the industry can see us in different lights.”