By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Alluring South American beauty Sofia Vergara knows comedy. She stars on the hit TV series “Modern Family,” and she’s known for playing sexy comedic roles in films like “Chasing Papi,” “Fading Gigolo” and “Chef.”
She now co-stars in her first buddy comedy, “Hot Pursuit,” alongside diminutive Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”). She plays the wife of a drug boss who is due to give testimony against a Colombian kingpin. But when her husband is killed, she and her police escort, the tiny but tenacious Officer Cooper (Witherspoon), have to dodge would be assassins and crooked cops to get to their Dallas destination in time for her appointed testimony in court. Comedy veteran Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses,” “The Guilt Trip”) helms this zany buddy comedy.
The 42-year-old leggy beauty, who is engaged to “True Blood” actor Joe Maganiello, recently spoke about her new comedy, which she spices up with Latin flair.
Q: What did you like about doing this buddy comedy?
Vergara: It was a road trip so always road trips bring a lot of exciting adventures that can bring a lot of funny situations.
Q: You and Reese seem to have a natural chemistry, even though physically you’re so different.
Vergara: Yeah, it’s great because you get to be comfortable on set. I was miserable the whole time dressed like a sausage in that (tight) white dress and sweating then with the high heels, blisters while she was all carefree and sitting on the floor and she wouldn’t even change for lunch. The dirtier she looked the better so she knew what she was doing.
Q: Do you think this will help young women identify with subjects like self-confidence and friendship?
Vergara: Yeah. I think it’s great. I realized that this movie is very special in the sense that this is not the normal movie where girls usually are trying to trick some guy or trying to get some guy or getting married, this is a movie where these two women who are different and with different personalities, are trying to achieve the same thing and trying to survive. So I think a lot of girls can learn many things from this relationship. You don’t have to be the same. You don’t have to look the same to understand another human being and support each other.
Q: This is one of first Hollywood comedies where two females—one Caucasian and one Hispanic—the lead characters. Can you talk about that and how Latinos are making more progress in Hollywood? Also, can you critique Reese’s Spanish skills that she uses in the film?
Vergara: (joking) Well, it was not very good, obviously not her best work. That was one of my favorite scenes because she had to struggle a lot. I could see fear in her eyes, anxiety, (and) sometimes confusion. So it was great because that’s how I feel in every single scene of my life, looking for words and people making faces, even though they don’t want to. So I really enjoyed it. I tried not to help her that much because it was a personal thing I was experiencing that I really liked. So, now when I’ve seen the movie, I understand why people laugh so much at me. It’s hysterical to see somebody trying to talk in (another) language and looking confused.
Q: What was she like as a scene partner?
Vergara: It never would have occurred to me that I would be able to do a movie with somebody like her. It was amazing that she came to me. It was hard for her to reach me because she couldn’t find me. Her husband (Jim Toth) is my agent. So, he arranged a meeting between us to see if we wanted to do something.
It’s amazing that somebody like her would have the vision to put us together and it’s such a big help to the Latin actors and actresses. Hopefully, this movie will do good and more studios, more producers will think of adding us into movies and television shows. I can’t complain because I’ve had such good luck getting jobs like “Modern Family” that has opened all the doors for me, but we still need more. We need more places where a Latin can do their thing. And, people like Reese are helping.
Q: Are you guys very different from each other?
Vergara: Not really. We sit down and we like the same things. We like the same food and we like make-up, we like family around. We like the same places to travel, we had kids young (at a young age). We have a lot of similarities.
Q: You haven’t changed much over the years. How do you stay grounded?
Vergara: I’ve been working in the entertainment business for 25 years, not at this level of course, since I got lucky with “Modern Family.” But, for me, I try to make my work a part of my real life because I’m working 70 percent of my life so I try to enjoy it and bring my friends and family to enjoy it with me; everything, my money, my house, events, my fame because life goes past really easily so you can’t take work very seriously so hopefully, I haven’t changed.
Q: You and Reese have a screen kiss. What was that like?
Vergara: Delicious! She smells like strawberries.
Q: Was pulling Reese’s ponytail in the script or improvised?
Vergara: It was bouncing around and it felt like the right thing for me to do. That’s something you can’t fake. The audience is intelligent. You can’t fake a ponytail pulling.
Q: What would you say to younger generations of women trying to get into the entertainment industry?
Vergara: Hopefully, there are more producers like Reese that will support all of this. If films like this are successful at the box office, the more opportunities there are going to be for women to do stuff.