In Santiago Menghini‘s feature film debut NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE, Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) is an immigrant in search of the American dream, but when she’s forced to take a room in a boarding house, she finds herself in a nightmare she can’t escape.
Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew spoke with actor Cristina Rodlo where they discussed everything from what initially drew her to the project, working with Director Santiago Menghini to develop the character of Ambar, and what it was like filming that wild final scene in the film.
Hi Cristina! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. What was it that excited you about playing Ambar?
Cristina Rodlo: Well, first of all, I love horror films! Obviously, a lead role on a Netflix film definitely got me excited about it. And then I read the script and it’s not a horror film just to be a horror film. I think it has a message as well and has the immigration touches a little bit. I thought it would be a great character to play and very fun to play and that’s why I said yes.
How was it working with Director Santiago Menghini on this? Did he give you a lot of directions or was it more free reign for you to bring this character to life?
Cristina Rodlo: We talked a lot. We talked a lot about how we wanted Ambar, how we wanted to play with her, how she was feeling in every scene, and that was great. That was very, very helpful so when we came to set we were ready to go. It’s a film where I’m there the whole time, like every frame, every second of the film you’re going to see my face. Hopefully, you don’t get tired of it [Laughs].
How was your experience working alongside Marc Menchaca, especially considering what ends up unfolding between your characters?
Cristina Rodlo: It was amazing. It was amazing to work with Marc. He’s an amazing human being, an amazing actor. We became such good friends. Obviously, being in a pandemic, we were hanging out the whole time, 24/7. We were hanging out after shooting. We would go and have dinner and, when he was not working, he would wait for me and we would have dinner together. We had an amazing time in Bucharest as well and we enjoyed being together. We learned a lot from each other and he’s an amazing partner. Like honestly, I can only say amazing things about him. Before we started shooting, I watched The Outsider (where he played Jack Hoskins) and I was like oh my god, he’s going to do an amazing job.
When I spoke to Santiago, we chatted about the house and he had told me it was built from the ground up. How was in filming inside there?
Cristina Rodlo: Actors are always afraid of being on set cause it usually tends to look like a set, you know? And I arrive at this house, which was a set, and I’m like wow, this does not feel like a set, it does not look like a set. It looked amazing. The cinematographer did an amazing job as well, the art department did an amazing job, so we were all very excited to be there. The house was a character in the film, the house is part of the scary part, you know?
Let’s chat about the ending cause it’s so wild. What was your experience like filming those interactions with the creature?
Cristina Rodlo: That was originally not the ending. We were supposed to have another. We shot a different ending that was part of the ending that we shot and Santiago loved that ending better. It was exhausting shooting that whole ending sequence but it was so rewarding. We had a girl doing just the hands which were painted green, but that was it. Santiago would tell me just to imagine it being huge and kind of like a vagina.
What did you enjoy most about filming this and what do you hope people take away from its message?
Cristina Rodlo: I had a lot of fun doing this film and obviously was very grateful that I was working during a pandemic. I think people are going to have a lot of fun with it. For me, it was very important to do this film because of the immigration issue. With me being on screen the whole time, I think people are going to connect with Ambar and my hope is that if people connect to that character, they can see that Ambar represents everyone. Ambar is every immigrant in the world. That’s what Ambar represents so, if people connect with me, then I hope they connect with the rest of the world and we can make a difference.
NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE is now available to stream on Netflix. For more on the film, check out our review here.
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