Rosie Perez: “I’m a Big Dork”
The ‘Lies in Plain Sight’ star chats with BettyConfidential about her new film, Spike Lee and today’s dancing shows.
BY BROOKE SAGER
Academy Award winning actress Rosie Perez hits it big on the small screen this week with her powerful drama Lies in Plain Sight on the Lifetime Movie Network. Rosie stars as Marisol Reyes, an upper-middle class woman whose daughter suddenly commits suicide and takes a dark secret down with her.
Though everyone adored Rosie’s spunky yet corrupt cop role in Pineapple Express, it’s a welcome change to watch the actress tap into her gut-wrenching side. Rosie feels lucky to participate in a film surrounding such an important issue. “Unfortunately, this type of violence [in Lies] has no prejudice or boarders,” Rosie tells BettyConfidential. “It’s a universal problem.”
Rosie was fascinated by the film’s display of grief. “Marisol expressed shock on a very human level,” Rosie says. “A lot of times, Latina women are portrayed over-the-top—screaming, falling to their knees in misery. But not here. And I knew the director would allow me to express that shock.”
Sadly, Rosie herself has experienced her fair share of sadness with the passing of both her father and aunt. But she was able to use that sorrow in her stellar portrayal of Marisol. “Learning to act out your life is one great thing about being an actress. Everything is so powerful inside you. It just comes out organically,” Rosie says.
What other similarities does she see between herself and Marisol? “Not a hell of a lot,” she admits. But when the director asked her not do her hair or makeup in order to depict Marisol’s grieving, Perez was thrilled. “That’s me. In my home, I don’t really care about how I look. But once I’m outside, I’m a Puerto Rican—give me mascara, lips and hair!”
Lies is brimming with emotionally charged themes and important messages. Rosie hopes that adult viewers take the harrowing situation at hand as a lesson. “Let children know that it’s okay to tell someone. That they must tell someone,” Rosie urges. “Pick up a book and learn what the signs are. Don’t wait to see them.”
While it’s common knowledge that Rosie’s acting chops are tremendous, her career started with dancing and choreography. How did she decide to make the switch? “I met Spike Lee (at a dance club.) And that was that,” she says, reminding us that Spike has always known talent when he sees it.
Rosie grew up watching the Fly Girls and now lives in a generation with shows like Dancing With the Stars as inspiration. “The costumes (on DWTS) are awful. And the makeup and spray tans are worse!” says Rosie, who prefers So You Think You Can Dance? She gives props to SYTYCD’s outstanding choreography and well-respected guest dancers. “It revitalizes the dance culture, she says. “I’m a huge dork—my neighbor and I actually still have So You Think You Can Dance? dinner parties.”
If Rosie Perez is a dork, then we want to be dorks too.