Critic meets... Fernando Siqueira
I always start with this. What made you want to be an actor?
That's a hard question for me to answer. I think it starts from my uncle. He’s an actor and a clown. Since I was young, I would to go to watch all of his shows backstage. I attended a school called the Waldorf School which is a sort of art school. They are all over the world. I fell in love with doing all the work and memorizing the script and everything like that. But then I changed schools and I was totally lost. I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted to be a doctor for a while. In high school, a friend of mine told me I should join a theatre group at the school. After I did, I almost failed my other classes because I was just focusing on theatre. When I graduated from school, I was like “Well, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be an actor!” I think it kind of chose me.
Besides acting, what other avenues would you like to explore?
So besides from acting, I am also a screenwriter. I already wrote two screenplays, a short film, and I'm still writing stuff. I love storytelling in general. I would like to direct as well. I've never directed anything besides my friends doing stupid stuff, but I want to direct one of my movies. There's an actor and director and screenwriter that I really like. His name is Xavier Dolan and I love his films. He writes, directs and acts in his films and I think that's what I want to do.
What type of roles would you want to play in the future?
I really wanted to play a bad guy. I wanted to do like a villain or a serial killer or something because I feel like people usually only place me in good guy roles. I was recently given a bad guy role in the play Extremities for a scene study class. That was a really nice, freeing experience for me to step into this bad guy type of role. My actual dream role was to play the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. But he's not the bad guy and that's why I love that role because he's such a complex character. That's one of the roles that I really wanted to do.
What are you doing at the moment?
I am writing a screenplay right now with my husband. I did a program at USC last summer in screenwriting and we had to write a feature film in like four weeks. We had to do it really fast so it’s nice that I have the time to go back and work on it and make it better. I'm also working on my accent which has been so hard. It's easier when I have text to follow. I want to be able to have an American accent to use in my screenplay. I'm going to do it in the English language so it can have a broader audience.
What would you say is the difference between Brazilian and American acting?
I feel like Americans tend to be more subtle. I feel we take such a big influence from soap operas because they are the biggest thing in Brazil. It's changing now we are having a lot of movies coming from the Brazilian industry. We are also very theatre driven. I went to a theater school back in Brazil. It was a lot of moving around and rolling on the floor. We do a lot more voice and speech work here in LA. We have a lot of great Brazilian actors that work in both industries. I feel the hardest thing for me to adjust to was the language barrier because I was so much more comfortable acting in Portuguese. That has really held me back till recently but now I feel I’ve turned a corner with comedy. It really freed me from my fear of acting in English and I'm so much better as an actor than I was before because of that freedom I got from my scene partners who were so supporting. This was the biggest growth I had in a long time and I've been studying acting for a while now. I feel this was a big leap in my life and that really excites me.
What was the best acting note you have ever been given?
A teacher I had, Ms Hamblin, told me to put a little bit of me in every character that I was doing, because I feel like I was trying so hard to be a character that I forgotten that I was a person. She did an exercise with me where we sat down and we listed everything that I was then we started discussing what was inside of this character, then we could see how I could actually bring myself into the character and that gave me so much freedom to make bigger and crazier choices. I could do something that I know this character would do because I knew how he would feel. Working hard and putting myself into my work. That was the best acting note I had.
Can you recommend a Brazilian film?
Well, I think you should start with one of the most famous Brazilian films, which is called City of God. It’s an amazing movie. It was shot in the villas of Rio de Janeiro. It captures a part of reality . It’s been a while since the movie came out but a lot of it is still so relevant. I’m going to do a little product placement now… My husband (Fernando Grostein Andrade) has a movie coming out called Abe. It is a English language Brazilian film. He's been working on it for 13 years and it’s finally coming out. He shot it in New York in 2017. It's a movie about a 12 year old kid from Brooklyn, New York, who cooks to unite his half Palestinian, half Israeli family. Everything that can go wrong does because the grandfathers hate each other so much. The movie is a lot of fun though. It's a family movie. I really enjoyed it. The film was selected for Sundance in 2019 which was why we moved to LA in the first place!
Actor’s Studio Questions:
Saudade. This word doesn't exist in English. It means you are missing someone but both people. I really like this word. I like the spelling of it.
What's your least favorite word?
This is a cliché but I don't really like moist. It makes me kind disgusted.
What trait in a person do you admire the most?
What trait in a person do you admire the least?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
Alarms. I hate alarms.
What is your definition of happiness?
For me, happiness is hard to be defined. I think being with my family and dogs, watching a good play or movie. Being able to produce and work doing art also makes me really happy!
What profession other than other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
Something related to math or business. I wouldn't be good at that.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I would love for him to say “all of your dogs are here”.