An interview with Majandra and Marieh Delfino can be found in the February issue of the “Hispanic Magazine”:
by Idy Fernandez
One got her big screen break alongside Benicio Del Toro in Traffic, while the other fought off a flesh-eating creature in Jeepers Creepers 2. Now, for the first time in their careers Majandra and Marieh Delfino grace the screen together, playing sisters in Sam Shepard’s upcoming Don’t Come Knocking.
HISPANIC: What are your roles in Don’t Come Knocking and why did you two decide to be a part of it?
MAJANDRA DELFINO: Just by reading the script we knew instantly that it would be a great project. Besides, it’s such a heavy film but we’re the fun part of the script, we’re the party. (laughs)
MARIEH DELFINO: Sam Shepard’s character was once a big movie star, but ruined his life with drugs and alcohol. He decides to find himself, but we play a part in his breakdown. We’re these two crazy Cuban sisters who help him bring on the debauchery. It was also really attractive for us to play sisters since we’ve never been able to work together before.
H: Why was it important for the two of you to work together?
MAJANDRA: When we first started acting we wanted to do stuff together and people would say “you don’t want to be known as the Delfino sisters because it’ll be cheesy.” But I think we’re both up to the challenge of making it work, and not turning it into something that will later backfire. I’m sure the Weinstein brothers aren’t complaining.
H: Why hadn’t you girls been able to work together before?
MARIEH: We’ve tried but whenever we go in to test for a role or even the same roles, the casting team will ask us to test for something else, so it’s just never played out.
H: Do you girls ever worry that your relationship could become strained if one of you becomes a bigger name than the other?
MARIEH: The bigger star thing has never been a concern because I think coming from a traditional Latin family you’re taught that if my sister wins then I win. Who better to get a role that I didn’t get than my sister?
H: What problems, if any, have you two encountered when auditioning for roles either individually or as sisters?
MAJANDRA: In either situation the problem is that since we’re half Venezuelan and half Cuban, whenever we want to play an ethnicity we’re either not ethnic enough or we’re too ethnic. If I want to appease what people want for a Latin role I need to put darker skin makeup on and darken my hair, but I’m at a point where I’m not willing to do that. It’s really insulting to our culture.
MARIEH: I think Los Angeles doesn’t have enough Hispanic diversity the way Miami does, and people in Hollywood want things to be fed to them.
H: How are the two of you alike and how are you different?
MAJANDRA: We’re the same in that we’re both very creative and sensitive to other people’s feelings. Our personalities are different in that I want to be like Vince Vaughn. I come across as harsh while Marieh is very diplomatic. I’ll just tell people: No, you’re wrong. (laughs)
MARIEH: I’ll never forget something Majandra once said about us. She said: “We have a very similar look. We’re like the same painting by two different artists.”
MAJANDRA: Yeah, I think I made that profound statement when I was like 16, and then that was it, I peaked. (laugh in unison)
H: What’s something about each of you that people would be surprised to learn?
MAJANDRA: Well, we’re not double-jointed or anything like that, but I’m a perfect score on duck hunt. Any shooting game I’m perfect, I had no idea until two days ago. (laughs)
MARIEH: I worked at Fat Burger for a month. I’ll do that, just take an odd job to have a different perspective and learn from people. It was a good exercise in reading people, and there’s always a stereotype that fast-food employees are losers who spit in your food, but everyone there had goals and was very intelligent.
H: We heard Majandra decided to become an actress first, but that there was a catch. What was the story behind that?
MAJANDRA: My mother gave me a six-month deadline to get an acting job. Because I was only 14 at the time and was already singing in a group, she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to balance it with school. In Miami it’s hard to get a job in six months. There’s barely any theater down there. She said: “If you can do this after school, fine, but I’m not going to become a stage mom.” By the end of the third month I got my first job as Kathleen Quinlan’s older daughter in Zeus and Roxanne.
H: We heard that in 1999 you wrote and recorded an independent album called The Sicks. Who was your inspiration to delve into the music industry? Do you have plans for a follow-up album or to become a mainstream singer-actress?
MAJANDRA: I’m obsessed with Portishead and Fiona Apple, I always try to go towards that with my sound. It’s one of those things I just did for myself and hopefully people out there like it. There will be a follow-up album sold on Amazon this winter, but singing won’t become my bread and butter.
H: Finally, despite the problems you two encounter at auditions, what place do you think Hispanics hold right now in Hollywood?
MARIEH: Now it’s getting past the style or fad of Hispanics. We’ve got more permanence now and have become part of mainstream American culture.
MAJANDRA: It definitely needs to keep going. The creator of Desperate Housewives said he created the Solis family because they reminded him of a Latin family he knew who didn’t look Latin. But he still cast people who look Latin because they thought otherwise people wouldn’t get it. I’m looking forward to the time in America when the audience doesn’t need to be spoon-fed that kind of thing.