Interview with Isabela Moner from Transformer: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight
Director: Micheal Bay
Writers Art Marcum (story and screenplay), Matt Holloway (story and screenplay), Ken Nolan (story and screenplay), Akiva Goldsman (story)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Official Socials: Site | Facebook Twitter | Instagram | IMDb
Hashtag: #Transformers
Optimus Prime finds his dead home planet, Cybertron, in which he comes to find he was responsible for its destruction. He finds a way to bring Cybertron back to life, but in order to do so, Optimus needs to find an artifact that is on Earth.
Isabela Moner, who plays Izabella in the new Transformers movie, The Last Night (out now in theaters), sat down with us to do an interview and talk about filming this action packed movie, cutting her gorgeous hair to donate it for children with cancer, what it was to act with Mark Wahlberg as well as Sir Anthony Hopkins, and about where she draws the feelings and emotions she so well portrays on screen.

This movie was so action packed, so how did you prepare for all the action scenes? 
Isabela: I did a lot of training: a month and a half of cardio, resistance training, and I did boxing just because I wanted to. I had three trainers and this was on a daily basis.

It just seems like a lot, like you did a lot in those scenes. 
Isabela: Yeah, and especially when you’re five feet tall and you’re running next to Mark Wahlberg, and trying to catch up with him, yeah. He’s Mark Wahlberg; he wakes up at five in the morning every day, and works out, then goes golfing, and then goes to set, and then he goes to bed at like nine or something. But I go to bed as late as possible because I have schoolwork and then I wake up as late as possible, and then I just kind of roll over and then I just hop into the van to set.

So, were you filming and then go to the trailer and then do homework?
Isabela: Yeah, because we have to have a minimum of three hours of school on set because it’s required, you kind of have to. And, even if you do like school, it’s a lot of work. It’s like you go from quadratic formulas to explosions and death scenes, so it’s mentally a big shift.

Yeah, I can imagine. And then there’s memorizing the lines and getting into character.
Isabela: Memorizing lines was so interesting because a lot of times we didn’t even stick to the script. There was a lot of improve. Like that line that Mark Wahlberg goes like, “Little JLo” (we all laugh), that was improvised.

Do you have a favorite onset experience from this movie, like with the cast? Something that made you go, “Oh my God, this was such a great day”, like some memories from the set. 
Isabela: There was one day when we were finally all together because, you know, the movie has many different people from different walks of life. So the one day we were all able to come together and we all met up this was in Wales, so there was wind and explosions, and it was freezing because it was towards the end of the year and there were thunderstorms. But –and you might not believe me –but as soon as Michael said action, it was in a split instant, all the clouds went away. There was a freaking double rainbow, and it was beautiful. The sun was glistening on the grass and we all just started cracking up in the middle of this really intense scene, it was like the last shot of the movie, and we just all started laughing. Because it described the set perfectly, you know? You’re working hard every day and you almost get so involved that it feels real when you’re fighting for your life, and then the sun would come out randomly, and it was great. It was a great experience.

Is there any specific person you had the most fun with on set?
Isabela: Look, Mark Wahlberg is great, but he wouldn’t want me to talk to the boys (we all laughed). Josh Duhamel is so funny! We are probably at the same maturity level. Lori was nice because she was the only girl in the movie, so whenever she was there I would just hold on to her like she is the only shred of humanity left. It was just great to talk to her and to complain about how we were wearing heals throughout the movie and running. But Anthony Hopkins I have to say takes the cake, because he is just so funny. All of his lines in the movie were improved, especially the scene when he tells the Prime Minister to shut up. And you don’t really see that side of him either, but I saw it on set, that pretty much everything was improvised. He is fantastic because, when I first met him, you know you have this image of what your idols are in person, and you’re kind of scared to meet them because what if they’re not that great? So when I first met him, I was a little nervous, and I couldn’t even get a word out. But, when Michael Bay was like, “This is the little young star of our movie”, I couldn’t speak, and Anthony Hopkins just literally grabs me and pulls be into a bear hug, and lifts me off the ground. And it was the greatest greeting I have every gotten in my entire life, and I’ll never forget it either, because sometimes you just need a hug, and it was fantastic.

Do you have a favorite Transformer?
Isabela: Either Bumblebee or Squeaks

I love your character and it you get a lot of emotion from it, so where do you draw that emotion from?
Isabela: You know, you look at me and you probably think, “She’s been privileged her entire life”, but people go through different things and different experiences. And I definitely have had personal experiences that have brought that dark and sad side, and it’s allowed me to access it easily and all I have to do is think about it. You never know, you can’t judge the book by its cover, yeah. Like back in 2008 we had a house fire, and we lost all our baby pictures and we lost a few pets. My dad is actually a firefighter and he had to go put out the fire, but, luckily, I am so blessed that no one in my family was harmed or injured in any way. But it is from a lot of personal experience that I draw from.
How alike or unlike your character do you think you are?
Isabela: When I was reading the script, I wanted to be more like her, and then, as we went through the filming process, it felt like I wasn’t acting anymore. I’d be on set and I realized we have a lot in common because, you know, because we do have a tough exterior where it seems as though nothing really harms us. We also have a soft spot for family, and it makes her more than just a strong female character that gives her a little more depth and value, literal values to her.

Will we see Izabella in a future Transformer film? 
Isabela: I mean, hey, why not? I’d be down, yeah. But only if they can find my whole family or friends out there, yeah, wherever they are.

How was it filming in England and in Wales? 
Isabela: I’m actually a little annoyed and a little jealous that they actually filmed a lot of scenes in London and I wasn’t part of any of that. I was in the scenes that take place in Arizona where it’s 113 degrees and you’re sweating. I lost like two tutors who passed out from heat exhaustion, and they quit. So I was stuck with that and they were in London and in castles, and churches, and war places. And I was like, “Wow, thanks guys for the invite.” But, we did have the Wales experience.

Was the scene that’s in Stonehenge, was that the real one or was it a set? 
Isabela: Yeah, it was a set literally down the street from the real Stonehenge. The locals got really upset because they thought we exploded the real one. They were about to do a riot or something because they saw pictures in the press of the explosions around the Stonehenge, and they got really upset. Michael could probably do some explosions there, but he was respectful of the land.

Do you feel a sense of responsibility being a Latina actress in Hollywood, and how do you take that on your shoulders? 
Isabela: I do feel a sense of responsibility because it is a responsibility. There are its advantages to being a Latina because, obviously, you have the Hispanic world to support you because they are the most loyal fans, and I really appreciate the fact that they accept me as if I was 100% Peruvian or 100% Latina. I am actually half and half. It is a responsibility because sometimes I do lose parts to fully white girls, let’s be honest. Not because there’s a stereotype, but because young girls my age are playing the parts of daughter of people that look like them, and the majority of adult actors in Hollywood are white, and you don’t look related. It’s so many elements because it’s not only about playing a good character, but being a good person in real life and showing everyone that we aren’t just loud, sassy Latinos. We do have depth and we do have culture, and it’s like demanding respect almost. And I think there is a movement going on and I am glad I could be a part of it. You look Becky G, and Salma has been doing it for a long time, and you see people working on it underground; it’s subtle but it’s there, we are getting there.

You’re saying you’re a Latina actress, when you got the part, how did you feel about getting the role in a movie that is so massive and that it’s something that people are going to really enjoy? 
Isabela: I was ultra shocked because I didn’t think I was going to get it. The role was like 18, 19, kind of 20 year old, and Michael Bay was actually going to hire someone the day before. But then the casting director told him, “You have to see this tape that some girl sent in from her house in Ohio”, and he saw me and he said, “Oh, she’s so young, like 14”, and that’s when he realized he wanted an authentic kid. I was genuinely shocked because I thought he was going to cast some model who is like 7 feet tall. So it’s a great opportunity, it’s amazing. I appreciate him too because the role wasn’t written to speak Spanish at all. He heard me talking on the side to my mom in Spanish and he was kind of like, “Oh, she speaks Spanish, let’s have her improve some lines here and there.”

After that, we were able to take a picture with her. She was absolutely amazing: very mature for being only 15, funny, bubbly, incredibly smart, and also very humble. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Isabela. I so look forward to see where her career goes; she has so much talent and charisma that I am sure it will go very, very far.

In her defense, I was wearing 4" heels and she wasn't

All of us that interviewed lovely Isabela were featured on her Instagram story (where I got the pic from), one of the coolest things ever

Catch the new Transformers movie, The Last Knight, in theaters now.

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