Express News Service
The depths of emotion, especially of darkness and melancholia, always makes for fascinating exploration in cinema. American animation show, Undone, through its lead character, Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar), explores the many nuances of depression, and the struggle of trying to overcome it. The touch of science fiction, which allows Alma, and her sister Becca Winograd-Diaz (Angelique Cabral), to travel through time elevates this show further. This Amazon Prime Video original also explores a mother-daughter relationship through Alma and her mother Camila Diaz (Constance Marie), in its recent second season.
In the making of most television shows, the character arc is never fully revealed to actors. And that’s why actor Angelique Cabral did not know that her character, Becca, would also have the same powers as Alma. Similarly, Constance Marie, who plays Camila, did not exactly know that this character has a backstory, a secret that she has been keeping from her daughters. Speaking of how these choices influenced their work, Cabral says, “I think the only way to approach it is by being fully present, and fully into the words that you are saying, and the circumstances at that time. As we explore each season, and new episode, that becomes our reality. I think that if we knew what was happening from the beginning, it might ruin our year-long shooting process. We would know the end and that would get boring. In any case, we will get to the end and play those scenes anyway.”
Marie agrees: “You have to make all the choices that would justify your character behaving the way that they do. I found it incredibly rewarding to get to Season 2 and figure out the why. I mean I made all the choices in the Season 1, but now I have all these answers, and what a relief because now, I don’t have to do it all on my own. It is an example of brilliant writing.” She goes on to discuss the complexity of timelines: “All that is super-complex, but they combine to justify why my character (Camila) is the way she is. So, that was rewarding and wonderful to get to explore that complexity of my character.”
Camila and Alma share a strained relationship in Season 1, with Alma feeling suffocated by her mother’s constant disapproval, and the latter finding the former hard to understand, especially when questions are asked about her father’s accident. In the second season, these complex questions find answers. Marie says, “I think this season allows our characters a lot of time in figuring out who they are, why they are, and where they want to go in life.”
Speaking of working on an animation show that uses the rotoscoping technique, Cabral and Marie express much love. “I loved the technique and think it is almost a character unto itself. You can’t create this world without rotoscoping,” says Cabral. Marie too believes that this story cannot be told in live-action. She clarifies, “We wear the same clothes most of the time. They fix our hair and makeup and everything by rotoscoping, and it is gorgeous when you finally get to see it because we shoot it with nothing and it’s magnificent how beautiful it all eventually becomes.” They do, however, add that for some guest actors on the show, the process was hard to understand, let alone love. Cabral believes that rotoscoping is an acquired taste, one that they have acquired after working with it for a few years now.
Cabral and Marie also believe that the show is great in terms of realistic portrayal of women characters. Marie contrasts the portrayal with how women were written back in the day: “Back then, women needed to be rescued. We always played the side part. We were never the lead.” That Undone is led by three Latinas is groundbreaking, believes Cabral. “I think this is cutting-edge, in a way. And I honestly think that we will see better, richer, and more complex roles for women on television. It is like a renaissance for women, and it is a gorgeous time to be a woman actor. For once, we are not playing perfect women; we are not playing the wife. This season is all about a woman getting a back story and another embracing her powers. It is exhilarating.”