Real Women Have Curves
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Real Women Have Curves
How much were you involved in the writing of Real Women?
I wrote the first and second draft and then when my father decided to boycott my wedding because I had written several plays about him in which he was the antagonist I fell into a depression and I didn’t want to continue writing the script. I did a few more revisions, but after wards I didn’t want to continue working on it. George continued to work on it and made the rest of the changes. Before I started writing George and I discussed the obstacles in adapting it and the changes that needed to be made. The screenplay that got produced was my third attempt at writing the screenplay. The previous two were so close to the play and were very insular, staying a lot in the factory, but no one would do it that way and I was advised to open it up.
So the first decision we had to make was who will be the protagonist ? In the play Estela is the protagonist. In the movie we chose Ana because she had the most to learn and was the better character to take us into the world of the sewing factory.
The main plot in the play was the whole immigration paranoia, which would not work in the movie because we would have to go out of the factory and as soon as we would do that we would realize it was not the immigration but the DEA.
The play was an ensemble and the movie had to be about one person and her arch, so that’s why Ana was the better protagonist.
Also, the mother in the play is funny and annoying, but she is not the antagonist. In the movie we needed a better antagonist since we were losing the whole immigration antagonist forcing things to happen. So the mother became the antagonist and the symbol of tradition and culture. She was made even meaner than I wrote her because George and the director felt they had to. The director’s mother, according to her, was evil and mean like the character in the movie. So that’s how that happened.
This subject is also connected to the presence of men in the movie (they are absent from the play) and the role they play: in the movie they are shown as very positive characters, supporting even Ana, but that is not the case at all in the play. What has motivated these changes? What is your opinion about their result?
Since we had to open up the story and take the women out of the factory we had to add men. I loved the play for not having them, but we had to add them. George and I felt it was important not to make them the centre of attention, because it wasn’t about them, so we made them supportive. I liked that because my father was tired of being the antagonist. I also liked that it was a step forward for Latino men and their representation. Lastly, the greatest tragedy is that machismo is passed down by mothers and we wanted to show that. Overall, I am very happy with the movie. The movie is really a mixture of my fist play Simply Maria or the American Dream and Real Women…
Was the play adapted to be shown in movie theatres or on TV?
The play was adapted to be a movie for the screen, but George, who was also the producer couldn’t get a film company interested in it a as a feature so HBO was interested in it for it’s cable channel. Luckily because of the success at Sundance and all the interest in it, HBO decided to distribute it theatrically.
The play is a comedy and on stage you can get away with more things that make it easier to bring out the humor in the unfortunate circumstances the women are stuck in. The movie is a ¨dramedy¨, because what works on stage doesn’t always work on film. Yes, people who have seen the play and then saw the movie were disappointed by it because it wasn’t as funny or tension filled. My own father-in-law was very disappointed.
Yes, I’ve become more interested in film because it can reach more people and I am also a visual writer. I was teaching for a while and I loved it, but right now I’m actually trying to adapt three of my screenplays into novellas because I have several screenplays, but haven’t had any luck getting them made. So I am going to see if I can give them a life on the page before they make it to the screen.
I also have three treatments for three screenplays already written which I hope to expand into screenplays. Most importantly I am working on a low – low budget screenplay which I plan to produce and direct in the next two years.