Actress Maria Luna makes a lasting impression on audiences when she appears on screen. Most recently, she has captivated crowds in her leading performances in the feature films Dada and No Solicitors.
Luna’s emotional and spellbinding performance in the film Dada is sure to earn her widespread renown as it begins touring prestigious international film festivals this season. Her work with award-winning director John Callas in No Solicitors will catch the attention of the viewers in a macabre plot that will be remembered for years to come.
We were lucky enough to be able to chat with this talented actress about her thriving career.
PLM: Where are you from? When and how did you get into acting?
ML: I’m from Spain. I started acting when I was 5 years old… I had a basket full of clothes and would create plays with my friends. While acting during high school I was also chosen to participate in several international drama programs.
PLM: Can you tell me a little bit about the film and television projects you’ve done?
ML: I have participated in some independent feature films such as No Solicitors and The Sheriffs. Both of the characters I played in these films demanded a lot of emotion. In The Sheriffs, I played an instrument while performing, and in No Solicitors, I played a mother whose son was dying, which required a deep level of emotional involvement.
The projects I most like being part of have more realistic themes about social justice, such as Dada, a film about prostitution in Kenya, in which I played a European girl kidnapped and forced into prostitution with two Kenyan women.
PLM: They are all very different, what made you choose to participate in these projects?
ML: I loved that the characters in No Solicitors and The Sheriffs were challenging and demanded a good amount of research and emotional investment. They required skills and commitment as an actress. Dada and A Romanian Fairy Tale were both about social justice issues. The characters were deep, three-dimensional, and the story communicated a message of awareness to the audience.
PLM: You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?
ML: The script is everything to me. If a character is deep and full of layers, I am immediately drawn to them. I always pick characters that are more challenging to me because that means that there is more room for me to investigate and to play with them.
PLM: Can you list some of the theatre projects you’ve participated in up until now, and the roles you’ve played?
ML: I had roles in the productions of Dust and Boxes, both of which were ensemble pieces. Dust tells the story of Adam and Eve through a modern perspective. I played Eve, an empowered woman who makes her own decisions, including the decision of biting the apple. Boxes was about both physical and psychological abuse in relationships. I played a struggling wife learning how to survive within her situation.
PLM: What has been your favorite role so far and why?
ML: Eve in Dust was my favorite role because it gave a twist to the original Biblical story that Eve was not defenseless or stupid, but a grown woman who made a decision, knew why she made it, and was prepared to deal with the consequences.
PLM: What is your favorite genre to work in as an actor?
ML: Drama is my favorite genre to work in because I enjoy visiting my dark side. The characters and situations that come out of dramatic pieces always attract me. Comedy is also a fun relief at times, and it feels great to play and find the right timing in that genre.
PLM: What separates you from other actors?
ML: I am committed, work hard, and have a range. I think what makes me markedly different, though, is that I have been involved in volunteer work for more than 10 years. I also studied psychology, which gives me a deeper understanding of people and the empathy to be able to relate with them. I act because I feel drawn to certain characters, but also because I want people to see, understand, and connect with each other.
PLM: What would you say your strongest qualities as an actor are?
ML: I am a hard worker, consider myself emotionally available, and take directions really well. I am also a good listener and connect well with other actors.
PLM: Can you list some of the people you’ve worked with that our readers might know?
ML: John Callas directed No Solicitors. I also had a role in Palo Alto with Gia Coppola and James Franco.
PLM: What projects do you have coming up?
ML: I am currently working on a travel piece on Europe in which we visit lesser-known parts of the country. I am also working on a fictional feature film about a woman from a homeless background who now lives in the rich portion of Los Angeles. Fighting between the two worlds, she becomes tired with her affluent lifestyle, though, and is drawn back to homelessness as a result of her boredom.
PLM: What are your plans for the future?
ML: I would like to act in dramatic films both in US and Spain.
PLM: What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?
ML: My goals are to become the best I can be, and to work on films that are seen around the world so I can have an effect on social issues and hopefully improve peoples lives as a result. I would hope to get to an Academy Award one day from my performances.
PLM: What kind of training have you done?
ML: I studied at the Actors Circle Theatre under Arthur Mendoza and Monica Garcia. I studied acting, voice, and movement at Stella Adler New York, and comedy training with Mary Lou Belli. I also attended both UCLA and the University of San Francisco, where I studied theatre and film, alongside social justice and psychology.
PLM: Why is acting your passion and chosen profession?
ML: I chose acting as a profession because I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I love everything about it. I love doing the research, getting in character, finding how I can relate to the situation, and expressing myself in a way in which I am even more able to better connect with the rest of the world.