Carmela Zumbado, Marisol Sacramento and Alex Meneses all star in the new comedy-drama film The Wall of Mexico, and the three actresses discussed the topically relevant film exclusively with uInterview at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.

The film centers around a wealthy Mexican-American family named the Aristas, who attempt to build a wall along their house near the U.S.-Mexico border after local townspeople try to steal their well water.

The Wall of Mexico is about walls [and] borders, whether they be psychological, sexual, gender, political, cultural, barriers,” Meneses began.

“[It’s about] walls, everything that divides,” Zumbado added.

“I play Monica, who is the mother,” Meneses continued. “I am sort of a keeper of secrets, very queen-like, a bit cold [and] standoffish, except with my girls and I let them get away with murder. They’re my little wolves and I love them so desperately. She is the lady who handles everything because the girls can’t and my husband is off on business, so she handles the family business as well.”

Sacramento then explained the personality of her character Tania, one of Monica’s two daughters. She also revealed that the film’s magical realism aspect, something many Latin American authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez are known for, drew her to the script.

“I think on the surface Tania, my character, seems sort of just your typical party girl,” Sacramento explained. “She does drugs, she loves Reggaeton, she loves sex, but I think that what really drew me to this script was this kind of aspect of magical realism with a bit of perversity, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez on cocaine.”

She continued: “She is this sort of, like, trope of a party girl, but then it’s very prismatic and you just lean in a bit and she’s actually full of melancholia. She’s poetic and there’s this intense sadness [there] and it was really interesting to find the dichotomy in that and play that. It was hard at times but really fun.”

Zumbado revealed that what she most liked about the script was her character Ximena’s relationship with her on-screen sister Tania.

“What drew me to the script was my character’s relationship with Marisol’s,” said Zumbado. “The two sisters have this beautiful symbiotic flow that they have going on and they kind of just exist together swimming in this… I don’t know, this pool of existence. Yeah, [it’s a] very Siamese twin-like relationship. And my character is different in the sense that she’s more focused on her thought and she’s very concerned with the human condition and metaphysics and philosophy, and so she was a really challenging character to get to tap into because I really don’t have anything in common with her, and that just provided a really great adventure in getting to know her.”

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Sacramento revealed that one of the most difficult scenes for her to shoot was one in which she delivered a long monologue, because they “rolled for about 50 minutes without cutting.”

Zumbado, meanwhile, said the party scenes were the most challenging.

“I think all of the partying scenes were exhausting to shoot because we had to actually
party,” Zumbado said. “There was six hours straight [of shooting], it was like six hours of cardio because we’re dancing and having to act like we’re high on drugs and stuff, so those are
definitely really challenging. But it’s weird to have to act like you’re dancing without
audio because for sound purposes we had to have the background track pretty subdued but we wanted to dance full out and make it seem like this is one of their awesome nightly parties that they have in their detached garage.”

Directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak and written by Cotler, The Wall of Mexico also stars Esai Morales (Ozark, How to Get Away with Murder), Jackson Rathbone and Xander Berkeley. 

Full transcript below:

Q: What’s the plot of the film?
A: Meneses: The Wall of Mexico is about walls borders whether they be psychological, sexual, gender, political, cultural: barriers, walls, everything that divides. And I play Monica, who is the mother and I am sort of a keeper of secrets, very queen-like, a bit cold, standoffish except with my girls and I let them get away with murder. They’re my little wolves and I love them so desperately. She is the lady who handles everything because the girls can’t and my husband is off on business. She handles the family business as well.

Q: Who’s your character in the film?

A: Sacramento: I think on the surface Tania, my character, seems sort of just your typical party girl, you know. She does drugs, she loves Reggaeton, she loves sex, but I think that what really drew me to this script was this kind of aspect of magical realism with a bit of perversity, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez on cocaine. You know, she is this sort of, like, trope of a party girl, but then it’s very prismatic and you just lean in a bit and she’s actually full of melancholia. She’s poetic and there’s this intense sadness and it was really interesting to find the dichotomy in that and play that. It was hard at times but really fun.

Zumbado: What drew me to the script was my character’s relationship with Marisol’s. The two sisters have this beautiful symbiotic flow that they have going on and they kind of just exist together swimming in this… I don’t know, this pool of existence. Yeah, very Siamese twin-like relationship. And my character is different in the sense that she’s more focused on her thought and she’s very concerned with the human condition and metaphysics and philosophy, and so she was really challenging character to get to tap into because I really don’t have anything in common with her, and that just provided a really great adventure in getting to know her.

Q: What were the most challenging scenes for you?

A: Meneses: I think one of the most challenging scenes for me was the scene at the pool because I was chastising my daughters in a fun and loving way and I couldn’t yell at them and it was just from a logistics point of view. It was hard to do that because they were far away and it was outside, it was a pool but I had to sound like I was whispering. You know, Monica’s very steady, she’s very even-keeled in the film, so there’s not a lot of emotion going on for my character except at the very end and that was freeing. I loved that running and screaming and I think maybe the other difficult scene to shoot was the very first scene that I shot. I don’t know if you guys did this when we were on the scaffolding and looking down into the well, because they’re shooting from up from down below shooting us above and we had to be on this very rickety scaffolding and Esai Morales kept joking and farting.

Sacramento: For me, I had this small monologue and as you know, there’s two directors and you want to please both of them and I wasn’t getting it right, or I know that’s the actor in me saying I’m not getting it right, but we rolled for about 30 minutes without cutting. It felt like, “why can’t I get this right? These are just words, these are sentences strung together!” and it was really difficult because it was a night shoot and everyone was exhausted and, you know, there’s 50 people standing around saying or thinking in their heads — or at least you were thinking — “let this be the one,” and they kept forcing me to do it again and again and I think that they’re the type of directors who want us to get it right and they would often say, “can you try that again? can you do it again? can you do it again? can you do it again?” until they got what they wanted or had an array. They’re perfectionist and they’re hyper-intelligent and then after 30 minutes they finally said “cut” andf we were on a bed and I just cried into the bed and the producers came up said are you okay and I said, “I’m just tired.” That was a difficult scene for me and then seeing it on the screen it seems so simple but behind it I was losing my mind.

Zumbado: I think all of the partying scenes were exhausting to shoot because we had to actually party. There was six hours straight, it was like six hours of cardio because we’re dancing and having to act like we’re high on drugs and stuff. So those are definitely really challenging, but it’s weird to have to act like you’re dancing without audio because for sound purposes we had to have the background track pretty subdued in the background, but we wanted to dance full out and make it seem like this is one of their awesome nightly parties that they have in their detached garage.