Kate del Castillo just might be the cutest, nicest, and most bubbly actress I’ve ever spoken to (save for sweetheart JoAnna Garcia, who owns my TV-shaped heart). That’s what makes Kate’s upcoming recurring role as a powerful Mexican badass on Showtime’s hit show Weeds all the more amazing! Read on to find out what Kate had to say about her sinfully devious and super-violent character, why she loved bossing around her real-life ex-boyfriend, Demián Bichir, on the show, and why she can’t get enough of Weeds star Mary Louise-Parker. Kate also shares why, despite being one of Mexico’s most famous telenovela stars, she thinks telenovelas are boring and formulaic carbon copies of one another. It’s the exclusive only Vivo Por TiVo is bringing you, so no cambies este canal (don’t change this channel!).
Tell me about your character Pilar on Weeds?
She is a powerful woman who comes in and shakes up the relationship between Demián Bichir’s character Esteban, and Mary Louise-Parker’s character Nancy. She is going to shake things up in a really interesting way, but I can’t say anymore about that because I don’t know anymore. They’re being really private about it, which I love!
You’ve known Demián Bichir (who plays Tijuana Mayor Esteban Reyes in the series) for years (they dated!). What was it like being reunited with him on this project?
I’ve known Demián for a long, long time. We worked together on this movie called American Visa, which is actually a very good movie we shot in Bolivia four or five years ago. He’s a well-known actor in Mexico, so it was great to work with him again and see him again.
Was it fun getting to boss him around?
[Laughs] It was! I love these kinds of roles because lately everything is changing about Latina roles in the United States. Before, it was either we were kind of slutty or we played maids. You know? For me, to be a powerful woman all dressed up, really classy, and well respected and bossy is just a lot of fun.
Your character has been described as powerful and a bit violent? Is that a fair description?
I think she is violent. She knows exactly what she wants, and she will do whatever it takes to get someone out of her way!
Could that someone be Nancy? Does Pilar dislike her?
It’s not that she doesn’t like her, but Nancy is getting her way, and Pilar is not too happy about it! So she might do things to get what she wants. Let me just add that it’s also great for me as a fan of Weeds, to see another strong woman like Pilar be at the same level as Nancy. Because Nancy’s never been threatened by a woman! It’s always about men around her. So I think that’s kind of interesting!
I agree. Pilar sounds badass! Do you think there are enough Latina badasses on TV?
I think we’re slowly taking over! Nah, I’m just kidding. But I do think things have changed. There are a lot of Latinas now in the U.S. There’s a lot of talent, not only women, but Latin talent now. We’re mas cada vez. Hopefully, there will be more and more!
Some Weeds fans are upset about the dark direction the show has taken with these Mexican storylines. What do you think about them?
I love it! What I love about Weeds is that they do the real thing! They don’t just say “oh let’s do something about Mexico,” and then suddenly, it’s all Ecuadorians and Salvadorians and Puerto Ricans. They like to be real, and it’s great for me as a Mexican to see Mexican actors playing Mexican. I love that Demián is actually doing a Mexican role. For me, that’s incredible. And they’re talking about great themes and issues. They keep it real and funny.
Did you enjoy working with Mary Louise Parker?
Oh my God! I am really honored because she is just one of the greatest actresses. I love her because she’s been on stage, and she’s an actor’s actor. She was so generous to me, and beautiful and respectful and welcoming! I really appreciate that, because it’s really hard to come into a show that’s in a fifth season where everybody knows everybody, and suddenly here comes this new person. It’s like the first day of school when you feel weird and have no friends. They were really nice to me, and she especially was just a doll!
I hear your character will be sticking around for a while. True?
I come in on episode 6. I don’t know. I’m trying to do my best. I love my job, and I love the character. I know how this works: If it works for the story, if the character works, and if they like her, she might stay around for a while. But I’ve done three or four episodes so far.
You’re also starring in Julia, a very dark movie opposite Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton. Do you find that lately you’re attracted to darker projects and roles?
No, I don’t search for those kinds of roles. I love drama, but I don’t want to be doing just drama or playing dark characters. I love comedy too. I like to have fun because I spent so much time as the leading girl in telenovelas! It was great, don’t get me wrong, But it got boring after so many years because the leading girl does the same thing all of the time. All the leading ladies are kind of the same. There’s you know, the sweetheart, or the girl next door, and you cry all of the time, and it’s drama, drama, drama. And at the end, it's, you know, a happy ending. So the storyline doesn’t change for a telenovela, the leading lady just gets to kiss a different guy, like all of the roles that I’ve done. They have a formula for being leading lady, so I was kind of bored! So now that I’m here, and I’ve been able to play so many different kinds of characters, I’m just so fascinated by it, and thrilled because I couldn’t do that in Mexico. I’m an actress, and I want to do every single kind of character!