By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Sofia Vergara, the Colombian-born star of “Modern Family” is a bona-fide media darling.
The Latin bombshell joins the ranks of the fourth estate, playing sexy TV newscaster Gabby Babbelbrock in the animated sci-fi comedy “Escape From Planet Earth.” As an alien from a distant planet, Vergara’s Gabby is blue with fish-like facial features, but with Vergara’s distinctive curves and irresistible charm.
The actress, who is engaged to businessman Nick Loeb, says she enjoys doing voiceover animation—she previously voiced a penguin in “Happy Feet Two”—because it liberates her as a performer. It also fits into her busy TV schedule.
Q: How did you get involved with this project?
Vergara: This one was quick, because they asked me three days before, “Do you want to do the voice for this character?” And I was like, “Yeah of course. Why not?” So I went from the set of “Modern Family” and (recorded) it in two hours. It was really easy. “Happy Feet Two” was a different thing because it was in Australia and all of the actors were (together) in the (recording) booth. This one, I was alone.
Q: A lot of actors want to do animation for their children, but your son, Manolo, is grown up.
Vergara: Yeah, he’s 21. I did it because the cast was great and I figured, why not? It’s a beautiful movie for kids. It was only two hours of my time. I didn’t have to travel and I thought it was really cute.
Q: You get to walk down the aisle in this one.
Vergara: I did. My (butt) looks huge, though. (She laughs.)
Q: Did you model your character after any particular journalist?
Vergara: Not really. I didn’t have time to think about it. They sent me the pages the day that I did it. I just didn’t want it to sound too much like (my “Modern Family” character) Gloria. That was my main concern. Journalists don’t talk normal and I tried to do that a little bit so people didn’t think, “Oh, it’s Gloria giving the news.”
Q: Do you believe in life on other planets?
Vergara: I believe in everything. I’m 40 years old now and things that I didn’t believe in when I was young I now think how dumb I was. So, why not? It’s a huge galaxy.
Q: Your character falls for the muscular brother instead of the brainy hero. Which do you prefer in real life?
Vergara: (coyly) The muscle guy.
Q: There’s a sizable Latino presence in this film with your co-stars Jessica Alba and George Lopez.
Vergara: I hadn’t thought about that before because it’s more normal (having Latinos) in movies. We’re everywhere now. (She laughs.)
Q: Are you interested in space? Do you like stargazing?
Vergara: I love it. I grew up in Colombia where the cities are not that big and polluted, so you get to see a little bit more in the sky.
Q: Do you have to commit long hours and days to the TV show?
Vergara: Yeah, but it’s not that bad. I have the best job in the world. We’re such a big cast that sometimes I get a day off during the week. It depends on the episode. Some days may be more difficult than others. Ed (O’Neill) is so professional; he comes in and knows all his lines. Rico (Rodriguez) knows his lines and my lines. We go in (and) do our thing. There’s no drama.
Q: Do you like being a mother on the show?
Vergara: It’s a lot of fun with the baby, which is very well behaved. Actually, there are two little babies that we’re shooting with. We’re having a lot of fun on the set.
Q: Did the writers ask you for personal experiences of motherhood to use?
Vergara: In the beginning, they did. But we’re now in the fourth season. I did meet with them but now they know me so well.
Q: Did they have to find babies that responded to you?
Vergara: No, they just brought us this set of babies and that was it.
Q: You were a working mom for a long time. How would you handle motherhood if it had happened at this stage in your career?
Vergara: Well, I still am a working mom. My son is still my son. I always say it’s about learning how to delegate. You have to learn to trust people and have people help if you want to do both things right. It’s good to be organized.
Q: How has playing a mom on the show changed your character?
Vergara: I don’t think she’s changed. I think she’s a little more sensitive about everything.
Q: You and Nick just returned from New Orleans. What’s your favorite food there?
Vergara: Beignets. You’re supposed to have one with your coffee. At my first sitting, I had five. They’re big. And then the next day we went to (a café) where they were even bigger, and I had three. I kept thinking, I can’t keep doing this. Once the feeling of being full would go away I was like, where are we eating next?
Q: Do you watch what you eat?
Vergara: I don’t (indulge) all the time, but vacations or going to another city for me is different. When I’m in L.A., it’s easy to watch what I eat. Everything is healthier. I try and compensate by working out a little bit more. My bad thing is dessert. When I thought it was fantastic to be really voluptuous, I wouldn’t edit myself but now I try and eat healthy like, I’ll eat chicken or a little mashed potatoes or vegetables. I save the calories for dessert.
Q: Do you have any plans for your hiatus this year?
Vergara: I have a lot of things I’m doing—my endorsements that I try and take care of and do during that time and my K-Mart (line of clothing). I always try and do something to have a little presence in the movies. But it’s hard to get a big role in a movie because usually I only have those four months (during the summer), and movies start production before or extend to when I have to start a new season of “Modern Family,” so it’s hard to get something I really want to do. But I try and do something here and there.
Q: What do your fans generally want to know about you?
Vergara: The girls always ask, “What did you eat? How do you stay in shape? What do you wear?” The guys always ask me on Twitter, “Will you marry me?” or “Will you go out with me on a date or send me a kiss?” Girls are about looks and wanting to buy clothes; with guys, it’s all about sex. (She laughs.)
Q: You have thousands of Twitter followers, you can’t possibly read all the responses, can you?
Vergara: I don’t, but every once in a while, like if I‘m at an airport waiting, that’s when you get to read more or when you’re just sitting in the car waiting for an awards show, then you have time to.
Q: What can you say about “Fading Gigolo,” the comedy you have coming up with Sharon Stone and Woody Allen?
Vergara: I was very excited to work with them as well as with (director and co-star) John Turturro.
Q: You also are in Robert Rodriguez’s sequel “Machete Kills,” right?
Vergara: I play an assassin. It was a lot of fun.
Q: How was it working with Robert for the first time?
Vergara: I’ve always wanted to work with him because I think he has a very new and different way of making movies. He’s so involved in everything and he’s Latin, so I always wanted to work with him. I had an amazing time. I was shooting and jumping and driving. I can’t wait to see it.
Q: So we’re going to see you doing some stunts?
Vergara: Yeah, and looking crazy. (She laughs.) I saw little bits of (the movie) and my face is fierce. When I’m screaming and killing someone, I’m really scary.