Miss Bala may seem like an odd movie to remake during this current political climate. After all, the original Mexican film from 2011 is based on the true story of Laura Zúñiga, a beauty pageant contestant who was caught outside of Guadalajara, Jalisco with a truck full of cartel members and ammunition. (Zúñiga was on her way to represent Mexico in the Miss International 2009 pageant.)
In Catherine Hardwicke‘s (13, Twilight) update, Miss Bala taps into a more current vein by turning the protagonist from a Mexican beauty queen to Gloria Meyer (Gina Rodriguez), an American makeup artist visiting a friend in Baja. When her friend is kidnapped, Gloria is forced into the arms of a cartel leader– played by Sesame Street’s Ismael Cruz Córdova– and smuggle laundered money across the border in an attempt to extricate herself from the long arms of the DEA and gang warfare.
It’s not quite “Build a Wall!” propaganda, but Miss Bala certainly doesn’t shy away from showing us the ugliness and brutality of gang violence on the borders and heavily leans on the idea of corruption of Mexican law enforcement.
We spoke to Gina Rodriguez about her role in the film, and what themes in the film scare her more than others. (After all, beauty pageants are terrifying.)
What’s scarier, drug cartels or beauty pageants?
- The physical changes necessary to play an action heroine.
- How the decision to make the character American instead of Mexican changed the narrative of Miss Bala.
- How Gloria differs from any role the actress has ever played, but especially that of her most well-known character from Jane the Virgin.
Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength.