The multilingual and multitalented Elena Sanchez stars as Latara in the terrifying new horror film, Demigod. Elena, who was born in Germany, got to reconnect with her German culture while playing Latara because the film was set in Germany.
Synopsis: Upon the death of her grandfather, a woman and her husband return to her birthplace in Germany’s Black Forest, only to find a terrifying secret awaits them.
Check out my Q and A with Elena!
How does it feel now that the film is coming out and people are going to get to see it?
Elena: It feels great! It’s always exciting to know that something myself and the rest of the cast and crew put a lot of heart and soul into is ready to go out into the world. I hope people like it!
What was your first impression of the finished film?
Elena: Honestly, it’s sometimes hard for me to watch a film I’m in as just a regular viewer. As I was watching it I was thinking, “Oh, that scene was fun to shoot!” or “Man, it was really cold that night!” It feels like it’s a video journal of my time on set. Visually I was very pleased by how it turned out, and I’m happy to see my interpretation of Latara on screen.
How did you come to be a part of this project?
Elena: I had originally been cast in a smaller role in the film, and due to COVID some of the actors had to step away from the project, so I was offered the role of Latara instead.
What really sold you on playing Latara?
Elena: I loved the fact that Latara is such a layered and complex character. She’s not your typical witch. There are a lot of internal and external issues she is dealing with, and emotionally that was fulfilling to do. Plus, I got to wear a really cool costume and also do my own stunts!
You get to speak German in this film, and according to your bio, you’re multilingual, what was it like getting to use both German and English in the film?
Elena: I was really excited to be able to speak German in this film, and also use my German accent (while speaking English) for the first time. I haven’t done any projects that are set in Germany, and it was so cool to be able to have that cultural connection with the role I was playing. I was also asked to do some dialect coaching for the other actors while we were on set, so that was fun!
What is your first language and was it easy for you to learn different languages?
Elena: My first languages were German and Spanish. I didn’t learn English until I was five when I entered an American kindergarten. I didn’t speak at all for the first month, and then suddenly I started talking from one day to the next, and never stopped! It’s easier to pick up new languages as a child, but it definitely took work to develop those skills and continue growing. I have my parents and especially my mom to thank for that. They made sure to only speak their respective languages to my sister and I (my father spoke Spanish and my mother spoke German to us). My mom would sit us down and make us study German, and dictate the language to us so we would practice our writing. We also went to Spanish classes organized by the Spanish consulate for children of ex-pats. At times, I hated it, but now I am so incredibly thankful that we were forced to do that and that my mom didn’t give up on us.
Do you have a preferred language to act in?
Elena: I am happy to act in any language! I feel thankful that I have the ability to act in a variety of languages, and that this opens additional doors for me.
Has being able to speak multiple languages helped you with your acting? How so?
Elena: Being able to speak multiple languages has helped me book a variety of roles. I’m fluent in English, German, and Spanish, but because of that, I am good at using different accents and picking up different pronunciations, even of languages I do not speak. For example, I’ve booked a role where I had to speak Arabic. The Arabic dialect coach on set didn’t believe me that I had never spoken the language before, hah!
Is being multilingual a skill you’d encourage other actors to learn?
Elena: I would definitely encourage other actors to learn languages, as it makes you more versatile and could open you up to more roles. However, it’s a hard skill to learn from scratch once you’re an adult. I would encourage actors to have and hone as many skills as possible, but to not stress about which type of skill to learn (whether it’s a language, or sport, or technical skill). It’s important to find something they enjoy learning and doing.
What was your favorite part of filming this project?
Elena: My favorite part of filming this project was that it was like a summer camp experience. Well, winter camp, I guess! We were all quarantined together in cabins on a campground in Mississippi, and all of our filming locations were also on this campground. During those weeks we lived and worked together, and I am thankful for all of the new friends I made!
Were there any scenes or aspects of filming that you found challenging?
Elena: The most challenging thing for me on Demigod was that I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for my role. I only had about 3 days from the time I found out I was playing Latara until I had to be on set, so it felt a little bit like when you’re studying last minute for a test. Luckily I managed to pass the test, though! Also, towards the end of the movie I did a big stunt (I can’t give that away, you’ll have to watch the movie!), but it was something I had never done before so there was a learning curve involved. It was something that could potentially be very dangerous and I wanted to make sure I did it well and that it would look good on screen. Ultimately, we were all very happy with how it turned out.
What’s up next for you?
Elena: I’ve been getting more into producing, with the goal of hopefully producing projects that I can also be in, and getting the opportunity to bring stories to the screen that I feel strongly about. It’s been interesting to learn more about how to do that, and I’m excited to see where that path takes me.
Thank you so much for chatting with me. Is there anything else you’d like to say about Demigod?
Elena: Thanks for the chat, I hope everyone enjoys the movie and gets some good scares out of it!