We caught up with Dominican actress Judy Reyes (Scrubs) to get the inside scoop on her new movie, Gun Hill Road, a gritty family drama set in her hometown of the Bronx, New York premieres tonight at the Sundance Film Festival.
Tell us about your new movie, Gun Hill Road.
Gun Hill Road is a father and son family drama. A father (Esai Morales) comes out of prison really devoted to getting his life together, only to find that so much has changed while he's been gone. His wife (Reyes) has strayed and his son (newcomer Harmony Santana) is undergoing this enormous transformation and understanding of who he really is and is actually a transgendered kid. It's something beyond his father's comprehension as a Latino man, as a man from the Bronx, and as a man from prison. So it's the tale of a family coping with their whole foundation of understanding and trying to get through it.
How has your character, Angela changed since her husband went to prison?
She goes through what every woman goes through in trying to be there for a man that she absolutely adores, while also being there for a son that she absolutely adores. She is suffering to understand and relate to his changes, but also trying to be there for her husband. She's the middle-man.
Is the story set in the Bronx?
Yes, it's set in the Bronx where I was born and raised. And the fact that Esai and myself are both from the Bronx and that the writer-director was born and raised in the Bronx gives it a true authentic feel.
People perhaps know you best for your hilarious work as Nurse Carla Espinoza on Scrubs, but this is a very serious drama. Do you enjoy working in drama?
I certainly love the opportunity to challenge myself in both arenas. Having had the good fortune of being on a show that lasted eight years, I've been pegged as a comedic actress. When somebody gives me a chance to play something dramatic, I jump at it because my background is theater and I've always seen myself as a serious actress. But my approach to Carla has always been very serious and therein I think lies the comedy. Comedy is serious business and nobody knows that better than the ones who are best at it.