A woman of in­flu­ence

From break­ing out in War Dogs to tan­gling with Ryan Gosling in this month’s se­quel to Blade Run­ner, Ana de Armas has quickly dis­tin­guished her­self in Hol­ly­wood as a force to be reckoned with.

Esquire (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS BY EMILY POENISCH PHO­TO­GRAPH BY ZOEY GROSS­MAN

From break­ing out in War Dogs to tan­gling with Ryan Gosling in this month’s se­quel to Blade Run­ner, Ana de Armas has quickly dis­tin­guished her­self in Hol­ly­wood as a force to be reckoned with.

Blade Run­ner, Ri­d­ley Scott’s twisted vi­sion of a smog-choked, dystopian Los An­ge­les roamed by an­droids called “repli­cants,” has long been recog­nised as a clas­sic of the sci-fi genre. Star­tling vi­su­als and a brood­ing Har­ri­son Ford fu­elled the film’s cult sta­tus, but Daryl Han­nah and Sean Young de­liv­ered the oth­er­worldly per­for­mances that have kept view­ers trans­fixed since it was first re­leased in 1982. When Ana de Armas got the call that she had been cast in the se­quel, the Cuban ac­tress, who ar­rived in Los An­ge­les just a few years ago (speak­ing not a lick of English), knew it was a game changer. “My phone was blow­ing up!” she ex­claims. “I was call­ing all my friends in Spain, my par­ents in Cuba. It was non­stop for five hours.”

Di­rected by De­nis Vil­leneuve (Si­cario, Ar­rival) and star­ring Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Jared Leto and Ford repris­ing his role as Deckard, Blade Run­ner 2049 is one of the most hotly an­tic­i­pated movies of the year. The plot is a closely guarded se­cret, and de Armas is care­ful not to give too much away. “She’s very im­por­tant in K’s life. She’s his best friend, his lover, his cheer­leader,” de Armas says of her char­ac­ter, Joi, and her con­nec­tion to Gosling’s Of­fi­cer K. “I wish I could tell you ev­ery­thing, but there’s prob­a­bly some­one on the line ready to kill me.” She can, how­ever, say what it’s like to work with Gosling. “He is prob­a­bly the most hum­ble per­son I’ve met in my life. He’s very shy. But at the same time, he’s very funny.” And she’ll also dis­close the com­pet­i­tive hi­jinks that Gosling and Ford en­gaged in dur­ing the five-month shoot in Bu­dapest: “Whose trailer is big­ger?” she laughs. “Who’s got more plants? Who put a red car­pet in front of their door?!”

Although she had achieved con­sid­er­able suc­cess as an ac­tress in Spain, de Armas had her sights on Hol­ly­wood. “I’m am­bi­tious in a good way,” she ex­plains. “I’ve never wanted to set­tle as long as I’ve thought there’s more.” With her tenac­ity, hus­tle, cap­ti­vat­ing screen pres­ence, and ef­fort­less chem­istry with costars, the 29-year-old be­gan book­ing parts op­po­site Keanu Reeves, Edgar Ramírez, Miles Teller, and now Gosling. And although many of those have been wife or girl­friend roles, de Armas’s char­ac­ters were hardly du­ti­ful and dec­o­ra­tive. “I’ve tried to choose roles where women are not just re­act­ing or wait­ing for some­thing to hap­pen,” she says. Next up, de Armas will star in the ac­tion-thriller Three Sec­onds along­side Joel Kin­na­man, Clive Owen and Rosamund Pike. But for now, she’s tak­ing it all in stride. “My fa­ther used to say, ‘Take the long view and short steps,’” she says, “and that’s what I try to do in my life ev­ery day.”

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