The beautiful Paz Vega nearly steals “Paulo Coelho’s Best Story,” the true story of the legendary author of “The Alchemist,” one of the most translated books in the history of literature, opening in select cities this weekend and on Amazon Instant Video. The star of “Sex and Lucia,” “Spanglish” and “Talk to Her” took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her process and making a film about a literary legend.
How familiar were you with Paulo Coehlo's work before the film?
I read a lot of his books, especially his early works. I like his characters and the plots. Also I like his style and the way I can connect with his stories.
Why do you think his voice continues to resonate?
I think because he writes about universal topics in a way that everyone can understand. He has the ability to connect with people all around the world. And just few writers can do that.
What attracted you to the material?
When I read the script, I totally fell in love with the story. I found the life of this man fascinating and the possibility to play this mysterious woman intrigued me.
How much period research did you do to make sure you were capturing the era correctly?
I didn't have to think about the period much. I focused more on just playing the truth in every scene. The period atmosphere comes with the costumes, production design, make-up…
When you're making a film based on a true story do you feel a greater responsibility to "get it right"?
Yes, because the people have in their mind the image of the person I am playing. I think Julio Andrade did an extraordinary job with this very difficult and challenging character.
What was the most challenging aspect of this production?
Luiza represents several lovers of Paulo in his early life. It is metaphorical character in a way... And in just few scenes, we had to explain almost without words, so many things.
If every film is an opportunity to learn something about your craft, what did you learn on this one?
This movie was my first work in Portuguese and I don't speak this language. When you work hard, you will be able to act in any language. It is just a matter of time and commitment.