Dania Ramirez talks American Reunion, on BluRay and DVD tomorrow
In light of American Reunion’s release on BluRay and DVD tomorrow, July 10th, Dania Ramirez, spoke to me about joining the iconic cast of the American Pie franchise. In this last chapter of the infamous American Pie story, Dania plays Selena, Michelle’s friend and a former band nerd at East Great Falls High. When the gang returns, Selena is now beautiful and hardly recognizable.
Dania talked about being awkward herself in high school, seeing old friends when visiting her hometown, and what it was like walking into a successful and established franchise.
AG: Hi Dania, how are you?
DR: Amazing. I’m excited to talk to you. I’ve got a movie coming out on DVD, and you’re talking to me. I’m excited about that.
AG: Awesome. Can you tell us a little bit about your character, Selena, and did you have any kind of personal connection to her?
DR: Absolutely. Well, let me just say, I was excited just to be a part of the franchise. One, being a Latina, being added to the whole American franchise, that was exciting in itself. Two, I was a fan of the first one. I was a fan of all of them, actually. I actually saw these kids grow up, and back when I first saw it, I wasn’t really acting like that. I was still sort of a student of the game, so I was super flattered when they called me and asked me to be a part of this one. I got to sit down and see the reunion happen between the actors, not even in the movie, but the real live reunion. For me, it was interesting to be added as Selena. I think it’s a good representation of what America is now. The fact that we, as Latinos, we are almost the majority. It was a good representation of America today, so that was cool. My character, Selena, was the ugly duckling that sort of turned out to be a swan, but still kept her essence really pure and sweet. That’s something sometimes you don’t have, especially when you go through things in high school. Most people turn out to be vengeful or upset, because they got picked on back then. For her to maintain her sweetness, it was something that I could relate to. When I came to the States, I was 10 years old. I didn’t speak the language, and I was really advanced in school, so I started high school at 12. I was definitely awkward and trying to figure out culture, how to be cool, not the prettiest, just sort finding myself throughout it. I know what that feels like, so I could relate to her character. I can relate to seeing people years later, now that I’m an actress. I grew up and went to high school in west New York, New Jersey, so I have that feeling myself. I get to go back when I go see my sister, and I go back to my town and see people that I grew up with. I get to share with them where I am now because of my whole life experience, you know what I mean? It’s something that I feel like Selena sort of had and inspired Finch. It’s been 12 years after he graduated, and he’s making up these lies about where he’s at in life, you know? She kind of makes him feel like, “Hey, it’s okay. So what, you lied?” Everybody goes through that, everybody has had those moments, like, “Okay, I wanted to be this or that, and I’m not there yet.” But it’s about finding love and what you are that makes it special. I think that’s why they ended up having such a beautiful connection.
AG: Like you said, you got to see the reunion of this cast just in itself. What was it like working with such a famous cast? Everybody knows these characters. What was that like?
DR: I felt very un-famous, and I didn’t like it! (laughs) I’m kidding. You know, it was great. It wasn’t even a challenge. I like it, I like meeting new people, and I got a chance to know them as people outside of their characters. They’re all fantastic human beings, so it was inspiring to see that, to see them come so far in their careers. As far as the journeys that they’ve taken, as an actress, to get to talk to these people individually, I haven’t had that journey yet in my life, you know what I mean? So it was inspiring to be around them and to see how humble and cool all of them still are.
AG: How did you get involved in this project?
DR: I was shooting Premium Rush, which by the way comes out on August 24th. It’s myself, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, etc. I was shooting Premium Rush in New York, and I flew back to have a meeting with Peter Kramer at Universal. We were just kind of having a general meeting about my career, my life, things that I wanted to do, and I like to joke around in everyday life. I’m kind of like a nerd and a klutz and a ditz sometimes, and I like to make people laugh. I said to him that I wanted to do a comedy. It was something I really hadn’t explored yet in my career. That’s sort of what I wanted to do next. We weren’t talking about anything specific, and then a few months later, I got a call from my agent. He said that they had submitted me the offer to play Selena in American Reunion. That’s how I got the news. I was like, you can imagine, on my way to a run and I started screaming. It was so cool.
AG: Being the Latina of the cast, what do you think you brought to the film that was different?
DR: I think everybody brings their own sort of special thing, but I’m sort of my own creation. I think everybody has that long life experience, and I try to bring that to every character to make my character really three-dimensional. I think I brought a sense of humility to a real character within the franchise, so I sort of made her fit in with all these people. At the same time I challenged them, or challenged Finch who doesn’t really get challenged much. Everyone is just going along with what he says. I think because I was sort of a nerd back in high school, I got to play around with that. And, you know, I’m Latin! Every time you put a Latin girl in something, you’re going to get a little spice (laughs).
AG: Like you said, this is a huge franchise. Everyone knows these characters, and knows these stories. You’ve been in a lot of movies and TV shows that have huge followings also, like The Sopranos, Heroes, Entourage, and now American Pie. What is it like being a part of something like that? Do you ever feel any sort of pressure because there’s such a huge fan base?
DR: I think the pressure is off, because they’ve already been established. I’m not unfamiliar to walking into something and being new. I kind of like that. I like to go in and do my own thing and kind of spice up whatever franchise I’m walking into. I try to make each character memorable within something that has already been established. I think it’s exciting. I like that. Some people might think it is challenging and there is all this pressure, but I like it. I like to feel challenged. That’s the whole point of what I do, you know? I get to experience that.
AG: If you could pick any other kind of franchise with a huge following, like Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter ––
DR: Hunger Games! That’s your answer. Oh my god, I would die. That would be amazing. Plus, there’s something about playing a game. I’m very competitive. I played volleyball in college, so I like the whole idea of pulling for one another and just playing a game and trying to figure it out and end up on top, be a winner.
AG: What’s up next for you? And do you have any last words about yourself, the movie, or what people can expect from the DVD?
DR: What people can expect from the DVD is a lot of hidden scenes. There’s a lot of laughs in the movie that you already remember, but there were a lot of things that we did off-camera and a lot of things that didn’t make the actual movie that are just going to be great for a great, fun laugh that you’re really going to enjoy. So just expect a lot of that on the DVD. Expect to laugh again at the story once again. The movie is fun. American Reunion is just that. It’s light hearted, it’s nostalgic, it’ll give you that warm feeling once again, so I don’t know why you wouldn’t want that. What I have going on next is a movie coming out, Premium Rush, on August 24th. I also have a show that I’m going to start filming called Devious Maids. It’s by Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives, and I play Rosie Falta alongside Rosalyn Sanchez, Judy Reyes, and Ana Ortiz. It’s just really exciting, and Eva Longoria is producing as well, so there’s a lot of Latin power within that. I’m excited for people to see that. I also have a film that I’m producing, and it’s called Runaway Love. That’ll be my first production that I’ll be starring in. And you can follow my whole life on Twitter! At @daniajramirez
AG: Awesome, I will make sure to include that. Thank you so much for your time!
DR: Thank you, baby. Bye!