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Reese and Sofia are in Hot Pursuit

May 05, 2015

By: Lynn Barker

Latina actress Sofia Vergara cracks audiences up regularly as Gloria on the TV series “Modern Family”. She has even provided a voice for one of the Smurfs movies. Reese Witherspoon is a fan fave for many films including her Oscar-winning role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, her “Legally Blonde” movies and as the voice of Ginormica in the animated Monsters vs. Aliens.

You know how to drive a bus, right?You know how to drive a bus, right?Courtesy of Warner Bros.

In the new comedy film Hot Pursuit, the two actresses team up for some crazy on-the- road action as Reese plays an awkward, lonely policewoman protecting Sofia’s character, the hot, outgoing widow of a crime lord. It would seem that the two smart, funny women have little in common but, as Sofia explains, just not true. Picture her speaking in her Latin accent.

Oh No! Don't kill us!Oh No! Don't kill us! Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Sofia: We sat down and we (discovered) we like the same things. We like the same food and we like make-up, we like to have family around. We like the same places to travel, we had kids young (at a young age). We have a lot of similarities.

Q: Reese, you are beautiful but you are co-starring with Sofia and you are kind of playing…

  • Reese: The dude. (laughter)

Hey, I'm the dude!Hey, I'm the dude!Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Were there any vanity issues? Also, there were several scripts that the two of you could have done together. How did you decide on this one?

  • Reese: I was such a huge fan of Sofia’s on “Modern Family”. My family watches it every Wednesday night and I started to think “Oh, it would be really funny to do a movie with her, a buddy movie”. So we were meeting and literally every man in the hotel lobby stopped what he was doing and stared at her the entire time. It was like being in a hair care commercial. She sat down and she was just as lovely and charming as I thought she would be, thank goodness, and we just started talking about movies and this was the one we both decided would be the funniest.
  • Sofia: Yeah. It was a road trip so always road trips bring a lot of exciting adventures that can bring a lot of funny situations.
  • Reese: And I knew she would be beautiful so I decided I would be the dude. I like playing weird characters anyway.
  • Sofia: Yeah, it’s great because (looking at Reese) you get to be comfortable on set. I was miserable the whole time dressed like a sausage in that (tight) white dress and sweating then with the high heels, blisters while she was all carefree and sitting on the floor and she wouldn’t even change for lunch. The dirtier she looked the better so she knew what she was doing. (Reese laughs).

Sofia in that tight, white dressSofia in that tight, white dressCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Do you think this will help young women identify with subjects like self-confidence and friendship?

  • Sofia: Yeah. I think it’s great. I realized that this movie is very special in the sense that this is not the normal movie where girls usually are trying to trick some guy or trying to get some guy or getting married, this is a movie where these two women who are different and with different personalities, are trying to achieve the same thing and trying to survive. So I think a lot of girls can learn many things from this relationship. You don’t have to be the same. You don’t have to look the same to understand another human being and support each other.
  • Reese: Perfectly said.

Besties forever!Besties forever!Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: I think this is the first time we have seen two females; one Caucasian and one Hispanic, as the lead characters in a movie. Can you talk about that and how Latinos are making more progress in Hollywood? Also, Sofia, can you critique Reese’s Spanish?

  • Sofia: Well, it was not very good, obviously not her best work. That was one of my favorite scenes because she had to struggle a lot. I could see fear in her eyes (laughter), anxiety sometimes and confusion. So it was great because that’s how I feel every single scene of my life, looking for words and people making faces, even though they don’t want to. So I really enjoyed it. I tried not to help her that much because it was a personal thing I was experiencing that I really liked (laughter). So, now when I’ve seen the movie, I understand why people laugh so much at me. It’s hysterical to see somebody trying to talk in (another) language and look confused.
  • And, it never would have occurred to me that I would be able to do a movie with somebody like her. It was amazing that she came to me. It was hard for her to reach me because she couldn’t find me. (I’m kidding). Her husband is my agent (laughter).
  • Reese: She was like “What did you say? Like honeeeee, get Sofia right now”.
  • Sofia: So, he arranged a meeting between us to see if we wanted to do something. (Note: Reese produced the movie). It’s amazing that somebody like her would have the vision to put us together and it’s such a big help to the Latin actors and actresses. Hopefully, this movie will do good and more studios, more producers will think of adding us into movies and television shows. I can’t complain because I’ve had such good luck getting jobs like “Modern Family” that has opened all the doors for me but we still need more. We need more places where a Latin can do their thing. And, people like Reese are helping.
  • Reese: I was looking around about two or three years ago and reading all these articles in the L.A. Times and Hollywood Reporter about Latin audiences showing up (at films). They are 35 to 55% of the audience and looking then at movies and going “Where are the Latin actors?” Also, movies that are reflective of our culture where some people speak Spanish and some speak English, that’s the kind of life that everybody is living every day but we’re not seeing it reflected on screen so I think it’s great and hopefully, we’ll cross our fingers, for the success of a film like this, there will be more thought about that kind of opportunity to showcase what real life looks like.

Cooper is a señorita with a gunCooper is a señorita with a gunCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Sofia, we met you many years ago and you haven’t changed. Can you talk about that?

  • Sofia: I hope not. I’ve been working in the entertainment business for twenty-five years, not at this level of course since I got lucky with “Modern Family” but, for me, I try to make my work a part of my real life because I’m working 70% of my life so I try to enjoy it and bring my friends and family to enjoy it with me; everything, my money, my house, events, my fame because life goes past really easily so you can’t take work very seriously so hopefully, I haven’t changed.

Let's cowboy upLet's cowboy upCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: You two have a screen kiss. What was that like?

  • Reese: That was her idea.
  • Sofia: Delicious (laughter). She smells like strawberries (laughter).
  • Reese: That was in the script.

Officer Cooper, where are you?Officer Cooper, where are you?Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: And pulling Reese’s ponytail?

  • Reese: No, she did that.
  • Sofia: It was bouncing around and it felt like the right thing for me to do.
  • Reese: I had whiplash for three days. She just grabbed that ponytail and was whipping my head around.
  • Sofia: That’s something you can’t fake. An audience is intelligent. You can’t fake a ponytail pulling (laughter).

Cooper is ready for a big missionCooper is ready for a big missionCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: How much of the physical comedy in the movie was improvised?

  • Reese: We were so happy to have Anne Fletcher directing us because I don’t have a lot of physical comedy instincts. I’m more verbal so we got to certain scenes like where we are running from bad guys or we are in that bathroom and we have to push ourselves through the window and I would turn to Anne and I’m like “Just show me what you want me to do because I don’t know what to do” so Anne just started putting her legs up there.

Taking that spill out the windowTaking that spill out the windowCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Do you see this as a feminist film in any way?

  • Reese: We had the idea to make a movie that wasn’t about romantic involvement. It wasn’t about men and chasing men and as soon as you strip that element away, you actually get to dig deeper into female characters. I think it’s great.

You look like Jose Bieber!You look like Jose Bieber!Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: What would you say to younger generations of women trying to get into the entertainment industry?

  • Reese: I would say, first of all, get your foot in the door and do everything you possibly can to just start working because the more you have time on set and learn what developing scripts or movies are like, (the better). And that’s incumbent on people like us to hire interns and having people standing next to us learning how to direct. Practical experience is the best way to learn I think. I would say it’s important to get those experiences and work hard. “Linked In” is an incredible opportunity and if you are a professional, we’ve hired people from “Linked In”.
  • Sofia: I agree and hopefully, there are more producers like Reese that will support all of this.
  • Reese: I think one of the most important things for women out there is you have to show up and buy tickets because if you want to see something different you have to support the women who are writing and directing the better this movie does….
  • Sofia: The more opportunities there are gonna be for women to do stuff.

We're here. Now what?We're here. Now what?Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Reese, what is the trick in playing these type “A”, wacky characters?

  • Reese: I don’t know. People just like it and think it’s funny and I just enhance it and make it even bigger and more annoying. People really seem to enjoy laughing at me.
  • Sofia: I did.
  • Reese: I also like to find the heart of that person. I loved (my character) Officer Cooper. She’s a little nerd and she has no female friends. She has no friends and she’s kind of a wreck so when she meets Sofia’s character, she’s like “That’s my first friend”.
  • Sofia: And she’s not even a friend.
  • Reese: I love that scene where she makes out with a guy and runs to tell her best friend and Sofia’s like “Whoops, we’re not friends”. There are so many outtakes that we couldn’t include.

It's going to be a looong road tripIt's going to be a looong road tripCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Hot Pusuit is in theaters now!

Hot Pursuit PosterHot Pursuit PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros.