Melissa Barrera thought there was "no way" she would be cast in 'Carmen.'
The 32-year-old actress stars in the title role of big screen adaptation of the Frank Wildhorn musical - which is a modern-day reimagining of the classical opera about the love life of a gypsy girl against a military backdrop - but was convinced that director Ben Millepied "hated" her upon their first meeting.
She said: "Our first meeting was super interesting. I already knew of Benjamin’s work. I knew he had choreographed Black Swan and I had Googled him, and I knew his talent as a choreographer. And when I met him, we were sitting at a picnic table outside of [L.A. Dance Project] and we just talked about the script. He had sent me the script with some of the music and pictures and inspiration, a very complete package, and I was like, ‘This is incredible. I would be so lucky to be able to be a part of this.’
"And so we met and we chatted about the script and I told him all the problems that I had with the script and I was like, ‘He hates me.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way that I’m getting this,’ because this was in 2018. I had done nothing except a season of Vida, so I was like, ‘I’m no one. Literally, I’m no one.’ "
The 'Vida' star went on to explain that although she is not a confident dancer, she eventually decided that she "needed" to be a part of the film following a callback and refused to let the opportunity go.
She told Collider: " I just got to LA and I just came and I told him all the issues that I have as a Mexican. A story about a Mexican immigrant, it is important that we do it right so I told him all my thoughts and then, he’s so serious. He’s French! So he was so serious. I was like, ‘He hates me. There’s no way I’m getting this.’ I left, I called my team, I was like, ‘He hates me. There’s no way.’ And then they called me, they were like, ‘He wants to see you dance.’ I was like, ‘Well, that’s gonna be a whole other thing because I’m not a dancer'.
"So many things changed and the one constant was that I knew that I needed to be a part of this movie. You know, you just get this gut feeling? I knew that whatever Benjamin was gonna do was gonna be something incredible and magical, just because I had seen him work. I had already started working with him in dance and I was like, ‘I just can’t let this go!'"
'Carmen' had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11.