America Ferrera gets ready for the end of the world
When it comes to an actor’s career path, few challenges are greater than figuring out what to do after a hit TV show.
The comfort provided by TV success gives way to wondering when the next job will arrive, while the natural urge to play a different type of character conflicts with fans’ desire to see you in the same kind of roles.
America Ferrera, star of “Ugly Betty” from 2006 to 2010, has been successful in her post-TV life because she has taken on smart projects like “It’s a Disaster,” a comedy telling the story of a couples’ brunch interrupted by an apocalyptic attack, in which she stars with David Cross, Julia Stiles and others.
The characters respond to the news of a nuclear disaster downtown in different ways, from a proactive approach to figuring out what’s happened, to Ferrera’s Hedy, who is hit by grief and then despair.
In real life, “I think I’d probably be the proactive one,” Ferrera says. “What’s interesting though is that what [writer-director] Todd [Berger] based these characters on are the different stages of grief. … So I don’t think I’d be any single one, I’d probably be a mixture.
No matter what happens with the movie — now on demand and on iTunes and in theaters Friday — it won’t change the fact that Ferrera is most closely associated with “Ugly Betty.”
Of course, “Betty” is widely acclaimed for its portrait of a Latina woman who never conformed to cultural or gender stereotypes. In 2007, U.S. Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.) paid tribute to Ferrera for “breaking down barriers for Latinos in prime-time television.”
So have things changed for Hispanic actors in the post-“Betty” era?
“I think the opportunities are increasing,” Ferrera says. “There doesn’t seem to be a watershed or a sort of windfall moment where all of a sudden there are as many representations of Latinos on screen as there are Caucasians, but I think it’s [improving] little by little.”