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HOLA! USA Exclusive

Judy Reyes talks about the global success of her movie ‘Smile’

Reyes plays a pivotal role in “Smile”, the successful horror movie that’s now streaming on Paramount+

Judy Reyes has built a prolific career in TV and film. Catapulted by her work in the beloved sitcom “Scrubs,” where she played the role of nurse Carla Espinosa for eight seasons, over the course of her three decades in the industry, Reyes has dabbled in various genres and worked with multiple talents. She’s played parts in beloved and cult series like “Search Party” and “Better Things”, and in Latino trailblazers like “One Day at a Time” and “Jane the Virgin.” While she’s not a fan of horror, developing a fear of the genre when she was very young, over the past year she’s been involved in a couple of scary movies that have shifted her perspective and have made her appreciate these stories anew.

In an exclusive interview with HOLA! USA, Reyes talked about her role in the film “Smile,” one of the most unexpected box office successes of the year. The movie follows Dr. Rose Cotter, (Sosie Bacon), a therapist who has a traumatic encounter with a patient and starts to feel like she’s being pursued by a malignant entity. It’s now streaming on Paramount+.

Reyes talked about the genre of horror and why audiences are craving these types of films that scare them, entertain them, and have something to say.

Smile still©Courtesy of Paramount+
Sosie Bacon and Jack Sochet in “Smile”
“Smile” was an absolute success in the U.S. and internationally. Can you tell me a bit about your experience with the film and the public’s reception?

You know, since I have a small but important part in the film, for me it’s succes was an absolute surprise. It didn’t fit my head that the movie was such a big success. And when I saw it, because I’m not a big fan of horror movies ever since I was a kid and was traumatized with them, I could see it with a different perspective and I found it so fun.

I was surprised by how much it scared me and how well made it was, and I was very proud to participate in its making. I’ve received so many comments on Instagram and Twitter where people are congratulating me and telling me that they were so surprised to see me in that film. I feel so proud. I had an incredibly positive experience while working with Parker Finn, the film’s writer and director. The crew welcomed me with open arms and I had the best time with Sosie (Bacon), who spent the entire film in a state of trauma due to how efficient she was in her performance.

One of my favorite parts of the film is that, even though it’s very scary, it’s also super fun. And it also has some commentary on mental health. What did you think of this element when you read the script and took the role?

I didn’t realize that there was some commentary on mental health until I saw it. And that’s why I think the public has received the film so intimately. When you start watching it, you go like, ‘Oh my God, imagine if that were to happen to me.’ The viewer starts to put themselves in the protagonist’s shoes and starts to think about what they’d do if something like this would ever happen to them.

Horror is one of my favorite genres. It’s very exciting to witness this moment that we’re living in, where there are so many good horror movies coming out that have pushed people to go to the cinema to see them. What do you think of this moment in horror?

You know, I just completed another horror movie. And when I read the script I didn’t realize that it was a horror movie because it’s so resonant with our times, with being a woman, with being feminist, with being a part of the LGBTQ community, and living in this world where you’re fighting to keep a semblance of control.

I think horror is a great opportunity to share with the public in a fun and imaginative way the horrors and the preoccupations that are affecting us in a time period that’s so… delicate, for lack of a better word.

Totally. Do you have a project that’s exciting and that’s coming out soon?

I just worked with a writer-director that’s called Laura Moss, who made a movie where I star called “Birth Rebirth.” The film is a reinvention of the “Frankenstein” story through a feminist lens, where I play a nurse again who lost a daughter and donates her organs. Then there’s also a doctor that’s consumed with trying to realize her project of bringing the baby back to life, and she wants to help her. I’m very excited about that project, it was a very positive experience. The team was mostly made up of women, which make you feel like even though the world is changing very slowly, change is happenng. I’m very proud to have participated in that film.

I also have a part in the second season of “Dr. Death,” which stars Edgar Ramirez.

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