A spectrum of emotions hit Cuban actress Ana de Armas when she landed a role in director Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Blade Runner. Three years earlier, ambition had driven her from a cozy acting career in Spain to the unforgiving circles of Hollywood, where the competition was stiff, the roles were scarce and her lack of mastery of the English language proved a liability in auditions.
“Hard moments happen every day,” says the 29-year-old actress, best known for her role opposite Jonah Hill and Miles Teller in last year’s War Dogs. Things were different during her Blade Runner 2049 tryout. De Armas wasn’t criticized for how she sounded. “I felt very lucky that someone was finally paying attention to my audition—and not just my accent.”
In the film (out Oct. 6), de Armas plays the mysterious lover and confidante of Ryan Gosling’s LAPD officer K. She calls her role “complex, multilayered” and “a big surprise.” Also unexpected? Her ease with her leading man. “He is very funny, always telling stories—and we had a few dances in between takes.”