Interview: Danay Garcia Talks Love of Acting, Fear the Walking DeadApril 12, 2018
Recently we had the chance to talk with Danay Garcia, who is reprising her role as Luciana Galvez on season four of Fear the Walking Dead.
Did you always want to be an actor or was that an interest that developed over time?
Danay: I started dancing first when I was about five, I did gymnastics, I don’t remember a moment of my life where I was not in the arts. When I turned sixteen I told my parents I didn’t want to dance anymore because, I saw friends in dance companies getting injured and I didn’t want to that, so being tall I tried modeling and that career is even shorter than dancing. Then I experienced the theater and the moment I went to theater class I thought, this is my home, it felt like home and since that moment I haven’t stopped.
It takes a lot of discipline to be a dancer. Did dancing for all those years help you in any way in regards to acting or are they two totally different things?
Danay: Oh no, they are exactly the same thing. In dance, you tell a story with your body through music and in acting you tell a story with your voice and psychology. The journey to accomplish either one of them is exactly the same for me, I mean I rehearse every day, you just don’t go on the stage and dance, you have to be in class every day to rehearse, to prepare yourself, prepare your body and mind and I think that’s the same.
Acting can be a tough business. Did you find it hard starting out or was it an easy transition from dancing and modeling?
Danay: (Laughs) I don’t know what’s easy anymore. No, it was not easy. When I came to this country I didn’t speak English but instead of looking at it as too hard I viewed it as just an obstacle to overcome. I took it one step at a time, was patient with myself and was it hard? Sure, but it was doable and I was trained that we are all unique, we do things at different speeds, it doesn’t me we’re more intelligent than other people, we just go about things in a different way. It was hard but I wouldn’t change my journey for anything, I actually love it.
So what was your audition like for Fear the Walking Dead?
Danay: I treated it like any other audition, really. I wanted to go in there and give it my all and I had been waiting for this kind of job, this kind of character. I had no idea that this character had the chance to become a series regular because they give you very little information, you have almost nothing. You only have a few scenes, you don’t know what relationship you have with the other person you’re talking to, all I had was this was a life and death relationship. It was very intense and I knew I had to nail that but the rest just kind of developed and then I got the job. Actually, I had the audition on a Wednesday and they hired me that day and on the Friday they put me on a train to Baha where they were filming, I was in L.A. So I had a wardrobe fitting on the Friday and then had the weekend to read the script because come Monday I was on set as Luciana. It’s funny, on the way to the hotel to the set, it was about a forty five minute drive, I was so nervous, wondering how this was going to go, I was meeting a new family so to speak and when I got there the van door opened and the PA said welcome and behind him that was about fifty zombies walking around in between takes. I was like oh my god, I am definitely here and really, I haven’t stopped since.
In a situation like that did you turn that into an advantage, the short preparation time, by just not thinking too much and just throwing yourself into the role?
Danay: Yeah but the preparation you do every day, you just kind of flow with it. When you’re prepared you get to the point where you just want to let it out, whatever you have inside that you need to tell, you just want to do it. Of course, there is the adrenaline rush and you think oh my god, who are these people, how am I going to work with them, so it’s just a natural reaction. When you are prepared and confident you are ready to go, no what you are feeling, and that adrenaline rush is great to add to the excitement. At this point I’m at a place where my days are so long, tough scenes physically and emotionally, but I know I can do it, I know I can get through it and move on to the next day.
As an actor, how much fun is it being part of a show with such great writing and such a huge and talented ensemble cast?
Danay: Well, talking about being nervous and not being nervous, that is a great example. This show is so good and for any actor, good writing is everything. It’s like what Alfred Hitchcock said, if you want to make a movie it’s about the script, script, script. So I knew I already had that which helped calm me down and the cast is so amazing and they have done such a great job developing this universe, I knew it was in good hands, so I had nothing to worry about and it’s been fantastic, really great.
Have you got used to the gigantic fan base for Fear the Walking Dead or is it something you’re still getting used to?
Danay: I don’t know if I’m used to it, I’m used to what it feels like, the unconditional love and now with the cross over the love we get seems to come from all over. It’s a really beautiful experience because it means you’re on the right path in terms of telling a story, you’re really affecting people, and judging by their reaction they just want to see more of it. When you do a play and you’re on stage and peek out from the curtains and see the theater full of fans, that’s the feeling I get with our fans and it’s a good feeling.
So besides Fear the Walking Dead, what other projects do you have coming up?
Danay: I wrote a thirty-five-minute short film called La Cura which means The Cure and I shot it, I co-directed it, last year and now it’s being submitted to festivals. I’m very excited because this is something that happened out of nowhere for me and this was such a good story, and I love telling stories, that I decided to get behind the camera so I’m very excited for this to come out. I was shot in Mexico during my hiatus from Fear the Walking Dead and I actually planned it out while shooting, I had about twenty days off because I wasn’t in a couple of episodes, guiding the actors and directing the story so yeah, that’s what I did on my days off last year. It’s been such a great process because now I’m behind the camera, in the editing room, it’s all in Spanish so it has to be translated while keeping the poetic essence of it, it’s like I’ve discovered a part of me I never knew I had and I just loved it.
I want to thank Danay for taking the time to talk with us