Experimenting + Stretching As An Artist: A Conversation with Aria DeMaris for Netflix’s LOST IN SPACE
There’s more danger — and adventure — ahead for the Robinson family! With the Jupiter 2 stranded on a mysterious ocean planet without their beloved Robot, the Robinsons must work together, alongside the mischievous and manipulative Dr. Smith and the always charming Don West, to make it back to the Resolute and reunite with the other colonists. But they quickly find all is not as it seems. A series of incredible new threats and unexpected discoveries emerge as they look for the key to finding Robot and safe passage to Alpha Centauri. They will stop at nothing to keep their family safe… survival is a Robinson specialty after all.
Aria DeMaris is a Latin American actor, writer, producer, and dialect coach. Her acting work includes “Lost in Space,” “DC Legends of Tomorrow,” British WWI drama series “The Bagley Boys,” Hallmark’s “Christmas at Holly Lodge” and the award winning “That Burning Feeling.”
She has dialect coached on “Supergirl” and “Altered Carbon” and coaches actors all over the world. She wrote, produced, and performed an original two woman play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and has lent her voice for Disney’s “Tini: The New Life of Violetta” as well as English and Spanish narrating for Cambridge University. Her first written feature film is in the post production stage and will be out in festivals later this year.
In our interview, The Fan Carpet‘s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of talking to multi talented Actress Aria DeMaris who plays Izabel in season 2 of Netflix’s LOST IN SPACE and special thanks to Chris Harvey for setting this interview up.
Aria tells us about how she got started in the industry, her passion for being an artist and her experience portraying Izabel on LOST IN SPACE…
If we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the Film Industry?
I’ve been an artist since I can remember. I started drawing and painting, which turned into making comic strips and writing stories and plays that I would perform with my friends. I also liked creating voices and personalities for my pets and inanimate objects. As for defining moments, watching the behind the scenes at MGM and Universal studios with my family was pretty awe-inspiring as a kid. I became a film aficionado very early on, learning about the classics from my dad. One unforgettable memory was watching La Vita e Bella. I think it hit me hard then and there that I needed to be a part of this magical world of storytelling.
You’re currently Izabel in Lost in Space, what can you tell us about Izabel that compelled you to portray her and how she fits into the story?
Izabel is a space ship coder on the Resolute who helps the Robinson family with the reparations of their ship. She is also the wife of Aubrey Azevedo and mother to young Elise, who befriends Will Robinson. I was thrilled to play a capable, intelligent woman, wife, and mother trying to survive in a strange and threatening world with her family.
A lot of the premise of the show is about survival and cooperation, and those with families fight to give their children a better life and a chance at a real future free from danger. I think Izabel is relatable as she is a strong, skilled person, with a complex job, combining a tender maternal side, managing family life.
I thought it was a progressive move on the writers parts to have a same-sex married couple with a young daughter in the show. It is the future after all! One more thing to add is that I’m happy to be able to play my ethnicity, as most people don’t know it but I am Hispanic, and Izabel is Brazilian.
Lost in Space was recently released on Netflix, what was the filming experience like? Do you have any memorable moments?
It has been a wonderful experience from the start. The sets are colossal and impressive. Seeing the magnitude of the Resolute was one of my favourite moments along with my own “Indiana Jones falling door” stunt scene, though not exactly as smooth as Indy’s escape. I have my amazing stunt woman Tamara, and stunt coordinator Jeff to thank for helping me make those moves (painless) and looking right on camera! Of course hanging out with the Robot/Brian is always a good time, but then again everyone on the show has been so lovely to work with, it really is a blast!
What is your preferred genre, and do you have any favourite films?
That’s tough as I really do love most genres. As a viewer I get my kicks from Comedy, Psychological Thrillers, as well as Historical, Fantasy and Period genres. But I’m also a sucker for Documentaries, Sci-Fi, Grind-House and Drama.
As an actor I love working in different genres as they all come with their own interesting challenges that adds to the fun and the growth as an artist. I’ve had a lot of fun with Period, Crime and Sci-Fi though.
My list of favourites would make this too long, but I’ll try and keep it short; The Godfather, Casablanca, Sunshine, The Shining, Misery, The Silence of the Lambs, The Shawshank Redemption, The Big Lebowski and I’ll leave it there or this will go on!
Are there any other aspects of the Film Industry that you would like to pursue? You’re listed as a Producer on The Bagley Boys, is Producing something you’d like to more?
I am pursuing Producing as I really enjoy learning about the various roles behind the camera and each stage of production. Being able to connect and see what each person brings to a film breathes new life, curiosity and a new found respect to the film making process. It really does take a village.
I’m a lover of history and war, so The Bagley Boys is very much a passion project for me. It’s a story of bravery, friendship and heartache, following the lives of a group of men and nurses, along with their families from 1914 to 1918 dealing with the hardships of life at the front, the pain of separation from loved ones and the realization that not all of them will make it back home. I believe history should never be forgotten, and since its been 100 years since the most catastrophic war the world has ever seen, it’s now more important than ever that we remember these people, their stories and the sacrifices they made, so I’m excited to help tell this story.
I’m also excited to say, I’ve explored writing even more, with a wild, Grind-House thriller that recently wrapped shooting in Toronto. It’s currently in post production and getting ready to hit festivals at the end of the year. I can’t say too much about it right now, but it’s a gritty, over the top story with quirky, stylized characters. The idea of the film came from the director Ryan M. Andrews, and with the majority of the cast being women, our producer Thet Win, put us together and I was able to write the script, giving a strong female presence to the story and dialogue. It’s really exciting for me because there is a lot of strong, female characters in the film.
You have an eclectic range of credits including Animation and Writing, are there any genres that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?
Besides dialect coaching, I think I’ve tried my hand at a few different jobs behind the camera, and I’m grateful for all of these experiences. I am interested in directing one day but I think that won’t be for sometime. I’d really like to continue to immerse myself in acting, and get more involved in writing and producing before that day comes.
You’ve worked with a great crop of talent, do you have a wish list of who you’d like to work with?
Definitely, and it’s been a pleasure to have worked with them. There are so many peers and people I admire that I would love to work with but I’ll try to narrow it down or else I’ll be here for hours. Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Alejandro G. Inñárritu, David Fincher, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Lupita N’yongo, Sam Rockwell, Cate Blanchett, The Coen Brothers, Cilian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, I could go on, but I’ll stop there!
Who inspires you within the industry?
So many people from independent Film Makers, Writers, Directors, Producers, crew and of course my fellow actors. The people who really inspire me though, are the ones who are passionate about their work, committed, humble and a joy to work with. Of course my hero’s from the above list (and many more I didn’t list) inspire me, along with Kathy Bates, Pam Grier, Melissa Leo, Francis McDormand, Judi Dench, etc. I feel that every person is so unique and has something special to offer through their performances, experiences, instincts and talents. I have a deep respect and admiration for resilient, fearless women who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerability and “ugly” parts of themselves. That’s what makes them so human and multi-faceted.
I saw you in Christmas at Holly Lodge, your character in that is very different to Izabel, is that something you strive to do as an Actress?
I definitely like to experiment and stretch myself as an artist. I have to have a never ending curiosity which is what breathes life into my acting. A curiosity for a story and a character, and how they fit into the world of a script. I’m very inquisitive, so to have a little fear of the unknown, and to fill in the gaps left by the writer are fun for me. I need to explore and raise as many answers as there are questions, and never be satisfied by just one answer. Without curiosity and wonder, we wouldn’t have the surprising nuances that we have in real life, and that same curiosity has to be there when it comes to acting, or any form of art really. I like to dig deep into roles where I may not have a clue where to begin, where I may even feel I fall short and not be able to relate to the character. More often than not these are the roles that bring me closest to my humanity and humility, helping me truly understand and empathize, and funny enough these are the roles that I discover I have the most in common with which is also humbling. All of these factor into my growth as an artist and person and my enthusiasm of working in this field.
You have a lot of credits including Short Films, Features and TV do you approach Short Films differently to features?
My process is the same. I take into account the characters background, upbringing, the era, their circumstances, etc., as well as the style of the project and the story. Admittedly, as I am a big nerd, I really dig doing as much research as possible. Not only is research and prep work fun but it’s important in terms of the artistic integrity of the project and doing justice to any role and story.
Fandoms are a big part of the industry, who or what are you a fan of?
So many. Trailer Park Boys, X-Files, The Sopranos, Firefly, LOTR, Outlander, Downton Abbey, Futurama, Harry Potter, Rick and Morty, Archer, Evil Dead and South Park to name “a few.”
Is there a book that you are a fan of that hasn’t been adapted to film or TV or Netflix yet that you’d love to be a part of?
I think there’s been so many great adaptations, and a lot of the books that come to mind are already out there being made or have been made already. I would like to see The Queen of the Night, All the Light We Cannot See, Prosper’s Demon and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay adapted into a film or Series.
With the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, what do you think the future of Cinema is, since you do a lot of work with them including Dialect Coaching and other behind the scenes things?
I think the future of cinema will continue as it has. With streaming platforms there is more opportunities for more films and Filmmakers to get their work out there. Movies don’t have to rely on getting Theatrical release to hit a wider audience. Just like vinyl records are still hugely popular, DVD’s and Blu-rays will always be around, but the more options there are for stories to be seen, the better, and that’s what really matters.
LOST IN SPACE IS STREAMING ITS SECOND SEASON ONLY ON NETFLIX NOW