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Ivana Baquero looks back on ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and ahead to ‘The New Daughter’

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FIVE QUESTIONS: IVANA BAQUERO

Barcelona-born actress Ivana Baquero will celebrate her 16th birthday next month and is poised to make her English-speaking acting debut in ‘The New Daughter,’ the Anchor Bay Entertainment thriller that arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on May 18 and stars Kevin Costner. Baquero is well known to fans of fantasy films from her remarkable performance as Ofelia in Guillermo del Toro’sPan’s Labyrinth,’ one of the best-reviewed films of the last decade. She says in this e-mail interview that the 2006 landmark film continues to hold new meanings for her.

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GB: ‘The New Daughter’ is a thriller about a just-divorced father who takes his daughter and son to a new town for a fresh start, but then, after a series of mysterious events, he comes to believe that his family is in mortal danger. Can you tell us a bit about your character, Louisa, and how you approached the role?

IB: Louisa was a very complex role. In the movie, we meet her right after she’s been through a traumatic break-up between her parents, so it was very important to reflect Louisa’s pain and constant blame toward her father. On the other hand, she is also a very sensible person: she is welled up in pain and confusion, but at the same time she is a normal girl who is just protecting herself from the world. Luis Berdejo, the director, offered me a lot of help when developing the character and her emotions. We would sit together for hours and just talk about her, jotting down ideas that could enrich the character.

GB: ‘The New Daughter’ gave you a chance to work with Kevin Costner. Can you talk about your experience with him and what he brought to film?

IB: I would specially emphasize Kevin’s generosity as an actor. He was always there to give me advice in moments of confusion, and he would always be there to help Gattlin [Griffith, who plays the Louisa’s brother] and me. I really enjoyed listening to his tips. He’s also very professional and it’s always a pleasure to work with an actor of that magnitude.

GB:'Pan’s Labyrinth’ is viewed by many as a modern masterpiece of fantasy filmmaking. Did you have a sense of how special the film was while you were making it?

IB: When I read the script I instantly knew how marvelous the project would be, especially with Guillermo as its writer and director, but I had no idea about the actual impact that it would end up causing. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ was definitely a blessing for me. It was like an intense acting school and a launch pad for my career. I was able to learn, gain new experiences, act, have fun, and then enjoy the final result by sharing and promoting the movie.

GB: You were just 11 when you were cast in ‘Pan’s.’ How has the movie changed for you as you watch it now?

IB: I find myself discovering new things every time I watch the movie. It’s amazing how after every screening, I discover new things about it; little details that Guillermo left out for people to discover. And I must admit that I never get tired of it, I’ve watched it over 13 times.

GB: Every actor finds new challenges and new opportunities as their career moves forward. What do you consider your challenges now as an actor, and what projects do you hope to pursue next?

IB: There is always a challenge when preparing for a role that’s the complete opposite from me. However, I also find that it’s one of the great beauties of acting: being able to create a realistic interpretation of a person that is very different from you, and successfully transmitting their emotions to the audience. I actually feel inclined to accept projects that are full of challenges, because those are the most fulfilling and interesting.

I’m definitely in a learning stage, and all I’m looking for right now are different kinds of projects that can widen my horizon and allow me to explore different areas of acting. I would love to try a thriller, or a comedy, or anything different that I could get something new from. For now, I prefer looking at the context and the story, rather than a specific genre or type of movie. In fact, my next project is a family movie based on New York, and I loved it because the character that I’ll be playing is very different from any other roles that I’ve ever done.

-- Geoff Boucher

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