Pilar PadillaSi Se Puede
Meet Pilar Padilla, star of "Bread and Roses," a new film about the L.A. Janitor's Strike of April 2000.
By Luther Orrick Guzman

PILAR PADILLA is a new Latin actress who stars in the masterpiece film, "Bread and Roses." In the movie, she plays Maya, a young lady from Mexico City who illegally crosses the border in search of a better life. Shortly after landing a job, she finds herself as one of the leaders of a janitor's strike. Pilar and her movie co-stars deliver Oscar caliber performances in this riveting new film.

Landing the role of Maya in the film was a unique and interesting exprience for Pilar. She states, "The director (Ken Loach) would present a situation and see how we would react to it. He allowed you to resolve the situation he gave you. I never knew exactly what I was going to say since I didn't know the scene. He'd merely give me a little background."
For the part, Pilar competed against 12 other actresses, and was ecstatic when she got it.
She says, "When I found out I was selected for the role, I asked the producer (Rebecca O'Brien) why they selected me, and she said it was because of the way I reacted to certain situations, my personality, and the way I valued life."

When asked if Pilar was prepared for the possibility of instant fame that this role could bring her, she responds, "I don't think about it. I know it will be an important film for Latinos. We have an incredible distributor, but I don't really know how the public is going to receive it because the film has a lot of different angles and points of view."

She, furthermore, explains, "(The movie) doesn't display Latinos as heroes, but at the same time, it doesn't display Latinos as victims. The film doesn't display white people as the stereotypical exploitational characters, either. I think the film displays things as they are. I think that when people see that type of a reality (in the movie), they're instantly shocked. I love the fact that the director has respected everyone's point of view. And that is a difficult thing to do, especially in a society where everyone wants to see the stereotypical good guy be the good guy and vice versa."

Pilar continues, "I think the other reason this film works is because the director is English-not American or Latino-so he has more of an objective standpoint than an American director or a Latin director would."

In terms of the film's story line, which revolves around janitors' rights, Pilar feels that the theme is universal. She explains, "Everyone needs to stand up and fight for their rights."

During the making of the film, Pilar enjoyed working with her co-star, Elpidia Carrillo, the actress who plays Pilar's character's sister (Rosa) in the film. Pilar says, "I learned a lot from working with Elpidia. She gives herself entirely to each scene so it was really easy to work with her."

One of the most moving scenes in the movie is when Pilar's character, Maya, calls her sister Rosa (played by Carillo) a traitor for revealing a secret to Maya's boss. Then, both Maya and Rosa get into a very heated argument. Pilar reveals, "I know I'm going to sound pretentious, but it was an easy scene for me to do because it wasn't difficult for me to understand that situation. It was a lot of work, but I had been working towards that scene since the auditions. So once we did it, I was prepared. All I had to do was just re-live it."

While Pilar plays a leader who fights for janitors' rights, what can she say about other social justice issues such as QV marriages? Pilar says, "In regards to those fighting for their rights to get married to the same sex, I'm all for that. I believe everybody should fight for what makes them happy." She then continues, "I would even play a QV character, but I must emphasize that I wouldn't play that character just because it's hip to play a lesbian. It has to be a good story. I wouldn't play a character just because I'm anti-repression or pro rights. The same goes for doing a nude in a film, it has to be a good story above all."

So what's next for the talented actress? With "Bread and Roses" already completed, Pilar is now busy working on a theater project in Mexico. She also has just finished working with Edward James Olmos, Selma Hayek, and Marc Anthony in a film for Showtime in which Pilar also makes a bold social/political statement. An air date has not been set, but it should be airing on Showtime in either June or July.

For more information on "Bread and Roses," visit: www.breadandrosesthemovie.com

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