‘Queen of the South' Exclusive Interview - Premieres June 23 at 10/9c on USA Network

The premiere of ‘Queen of the South’ will be on Thursday, June 23 at 10/9c on USA Network. The new original USA Network series is based on the global best-selling novel “La Reina Del Sur” by internationally renowned author Arturo Pérez-Reverte and debuted its pilot during the 2016 ATX Television Festival.

The cast of the ‘Queen of the South has an extraordinary diverse cast starring Alice Braga who is multi-awarded Brazilian actress (“I Am Legend”) and stars as Teresa in the show. Also in the cast are Verónica Falcón from Mexico (“Besos de Azúcar”) as Camila Vargas, Justina Machado from Chicago (“Six Feet Under”) as Brenda Parra, Peter Gadiot  from England (“Tut”) as James Valdez , Hemky Madera from Dominican Republic (“Weeds”) as Pote Galvez, and Gerardo Taracena  from Mexico (“Apocalypto”) as César “Batman.” The guest stars include Joaquim de Almeida from Portugal (“Our Brand is Crisis”) as Epifanio, Jon Ecker from San Marcos, TX (“Narcos”) as “El Guero,” and James Martinez from New York (“Breaking Bad”) as “Gato Fierros”.

‘Queen of the South tells the powerful story of "Teresa Mendoza," a poor young woman from the barrio of Jalisco, Mexico who is forced to run and seek refuge in the United States after her successful drug-dealer boyfriend from a drug cartel “El Guero” is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico.  In the process, she teams up with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. She eventually creates her own and very powerful drug empire and becomes one of the wealthiest women in the world. She learns the hard way that she can only depend on herself and stay one step ahead of everyone else if she wants to stay alive. Teresa’s journey on becoming the ‘Queen of the South’ is indeed very intriguing and exciting. The TV series has all the elements of an action movie: interesting characters, dynamic relationships, plenty of action and stunt actors, guns, and explosions.

LA Splash Magazine had an exclusive interview with the cast during the premiere of the pilot in Austin, TX with our writer Yenis Monterrey.

Yenis Monterrey interviews Alicia Braga.- What are the traits of your character as Teresa Mendoza and what qualities do you admire about your role?

Alice Braga.- “I play "Teresa Mendoza." She is, in my opinion, a very strong woman even though she comes from very poor life circumstances. Teresa is a character that has a lot of strengths and inner power. She doesn’t have any family or real friends and was sexually abused when she was younger. The quality I admire most about Teresa is that she never victimized herself and she never takes anything for granted and keeps on moving. She keeps on trying to survive whatever life throws at her. She is brought into the world of drugs because she fell in love with a successful drug dealer “El Guero” and he became the only person who has really cared for her and he changed her life.”

Yenis Monterrey.- I’m curious if Teresa from the wildly popular “La Reina del Sur” and Teresa from ‘The Queen of the South’ are similar. How will you describe your character in the English version in comparison with the Telenovela in Spanish from Telemundo?

Alice Braga.- “The creators of the ‘Queen of the South’ decided not to follow exactly the book 100%. They recreated the journey from Teresa in the English version. I’m a really big fan of the book and it’s the reason why I jumped into this project. I read the book 8 years ago and I fall in love with Teresa and I really loved her character. The creators decided to change the journey with the English version to adapt it to the present conditions. I always honor Teresa from the book and I always come back to the book and look into the details and look into little moments and try to figure out how Teresa would respond to the new situation that the writers of the TV series in English are creating. I’m trying to keep Teresa from the book alive and at the core of the human being created in the book by Arturo Pérez-Reverte is the character I’m trying to portray”.

Yenis Monterrey interviews Veronica Falcon.- I’m really impressed with the pilot and the powerful and strong role you play in the TV Series ‘Queen of The South’ as Camila. Can you give us some relevant details about your character?

Veronica Falcon.-For me, Camila is one of the most interesting characters I had played in a long time. Camila is a very complex character; she is a villain and she has many qualities and she is an antihero. She is definitely a criminal as she can be machiavellian, manipulative, and controlling, but she is also a strong woman who is independent, powerful,hard working, and very loyal; in addition, she is a survivor. She has been a very interesting character to play and I feel very lucky in getting a character like her and with such an extraordinary cast.”

Yenis Monterrey- How do you describe the relationship between Teresa and Camila on the TV series ‘Queen of the South’?

Veronica Falcon.- “I play Camila, Epifanio’s wife. When Camila meets Teresa she doesn’t know her. Camila dismisses her as just another one of Guero’s girls out there for money and drugs, but later Camila sees that the young woman’s drive, fearlessness, and intelligence makes Teresa a valuable player on her team so she keeps Teresa as her protege from being captured or killed by Epifanio. The relationship between Teresa and Camilla will start growing and Camila takes Teresa under her wings. Camila sees in Teresa someone she can relate to. The most interesting thing with our characters is that they are not really friends and are in very different positions, but they always find bases to establish good relationships with mutual respect. As women in the business of drugs they stick together and need each other to survive and get their objectives”.

Yenis Monterrey interviews Jon-Michael Ecker.- “El Guero,” Jon Ecker, you are  known as an actor in the bilingual market for your different roles in “Popland” (2011)“Gossip Girl: Acapulco (2013) Cantinflas (2014) and also  Narcos (2015-) and I love it since you are originally from San Marcos, TX. Your character has as short life during ‘Queen of the South’ and I’m wondering if we are going to see more of you during the flashbacks?

Jon-Michael Ecker.- “Yes! The TV series ‘Queen of the South’ is going to have a flashback of “El Guero” to further explain the story. My presence in her consciousness how it is in the book and the version in Spanish. I play “El Guero” Davila who is also in the book, my story as “El Guero”  pretty much follows the book. I play the love interest of Teresa and we met back in Sinaloa Mexico and we fall totally in love, but my character was already involved in the business and I pulled her into the situation that keeps the story going from this point”.

Yenis Monterrey interviews Joaquim de Almeida.- What can you reveal about the powerful character you play as Epifanio and the drug cartel?

Joaquim de Almeida.-Epifanio runs the most powerful drug cartel in Sinaloa and he is also running for governor. Suddenly his wife Camila doesn’t want to be the boring wife of the governor and she decides to run her own business of drugs in Dallas, and then she protects Teresa. Epifanio is after Teresa because she is in possession of a very important book that has a lot of information about the cartel and facts that incriminate Epifanio. Epifanio is fighting to win as governor and he is also fighting to get his wife Camila back, but she keeps playing different games on him. They also have a daughter that we don’t see much of in the beginning during the pilot and their daughter plays an important element in all the fights and conflicts between Camila and Epifanio”.

Yenis Monterrey.- Is the character Epifanio a challenge for you? I know you have played a drug dealer in the past. We are looking at a TV series that portrays women with power and not chauvinistic men who have trophy wives.

Joaquim de Almeida.-I have played  many characters like “Epifanio” in the past as a drug dealer, but Epifanio is different because in this case my character is challenged by very strong women. The story is different and we play a different game and it becomes a big fight between all the characters”.

Yenis Monterrey interviews Peter Gadiot.- Who is James? Was your character originally in the book or the version in Spanish Telenovela “ La Reina del Sur”?

Peter Gadiot.-James is a lieutenant in the drug cartel and his character takes place in Texas. He is the second in command in the drug cartel run by Camila. Through loyalty and hard work he has gained Camila’s trust and is assisting her. He takes later an interest in Teresa and they have a love-hate relationship and the story of the narrative from the first season will develop from there. My character of “James” is an addition to the version in English since my character wasn’t in the Telenovela from Telemundo or the book “La Reina del Sur,” I had to build my character from the scratch.”

Yenis Monterrey interviews Hemky Madera.- What can you tell me about “El Pote Valdez” your character in the ‘Queen of the South’?

Hemky Madera.-I play the hitman.- I kill people for Epifanio and like in the book in the future I become Teresa’s protector from trying to hunt and kill her”.

Yenis Monterrey.-Since you are from the Dominican Republic, What advice will you give to the Hispanic actors at following your steps?

Hemky Madera.- “I will say keep going and following your dreams. It doesn’t matter how hard it seems to be if you work hard and dedicate yourself you will get wherever you want to get”.

‘Queen of the South’ is a TV series on the USA Network that is a persuasive story about love, revenge, money,  hatred, survival, ambition, betrayal, passion, and corruption. The theme of the series is universal and comes from today's real world that is a dangerous reality. The EP David T. Friendly of the series said during the ATX Television Festival that there is no doubt about the consequences of the drug world that are very dramatic and are destroying lives and families. The TV series portrays details with authenticity and realism and the show tells true stories.  


Follow Yenis Monterrey (Writer) @Foxactress

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