Maluma is a big name in Latin music. What made you choose him to play Bastian in this movie?
We needed an international superstar. A lot of names like Adam Levine, Drake and John Mayer came up and any of them could have played the part but I was like, ‘Why don’t we get a Latino? Why don’t we get a global international superstar?’ I brought up Maluma’s name and some people knew him and some people didn’t. Then they met him and everybody fell in love with him.
Was it also important to get someone who would be convincing as your musical partner?
Yeah, I really wanted to make an English and Spanish soundtrack, a Spanglish movie album, because I feel like that is something that hasn’t been done for a mainstream American movie. That was part of the reason but Maluma was just the perfect person to do this with. This was his first movie but he did a great job. We had such great musical chemistry that we wound up doing even more songs after the movie.
How would you describe the music you made together?
I think it kind of sets up the characters we play. It’s not like JLo music. It’s special and different. I love it. Maluma is amazing. He’s a special artist.
How much fun is it to combine your love of music and acting in one project?
So much fun. I think that the last time I sang in a movie was for Selena but that was more Selena’s voice than mine. This is the first time I have sang and made an album for a movie.
So would you say Kat Valdez in this movie is similar to the real you?
I think so. A lot of actresses could play someone like Kat but knowing this world the way I do really helped me play the role in a very authentic way. I knew all of the scenes, what was happening and what it’s like.
Would you describe this movie as a cathartic experience for you?
It was a little cathartic for me, yes. I was playing myself and some of her emotions involved with trying to find love and find a person who understands and accepts Kat for all of what her life is, that really is what the movie is about.
Have you ever had a connection with a fan in the crowd in anything like the way Kat does in this movie?
I have been on stage so many times talking and performing for my fans so I know what that is like. I have thought, ‘Oh my God, what if this happened…’ I felt Kat having this nervous breakdown inside but kind of holding it together as the show person that she is, then making this crazy decision that changes her life. Like Kat says in the movie, sometimes you have to take a leap off a cliff and just know that you are going to fly and that you might not hit the bottom. I think that is what happens to Kat and I believe that very much.
What was Owen Wilson like to work with?
He’s a beautiful human being. We had the best time working together. We both had a lot of respect for each other. When I saw the film I was like, ‘Wow!’ I think we have such natural chemistry that comes through. I think Owen is magnificent in the film.
The Madison Square Garden concert scene is amazing. What was that like to shoot?
Amazing! It’s hard to get Madison Square Garden in your movie with a full audience but Maluma just happened to have a show there that week so we were like, ‘We should just shoot it!’ There was a huge live audience and so I come out at his concert, the crowd go crazy and we have that all in the movie. It’s one of my favourite scenes.
How do you feel about movies and music at this stage of your career?
As you get older and you gain experience and wisdom, you become a better artist. You become a better singer, a better performer, better at connecting with people and you become a better actress. Some people are talented actors from the time they are very young. I think I was always a good actress but it’s more fun for me now because I am more confident with it.
What keeps you grounded through your success?
Where I came from has always kept me very grounded. I don’t feel any different than that person. I’m still the same, I have just done things with my life and it has expanded and grown. But I’m still the same human being.