USA’s new drama Queen of the South is a story about Teresa Mendoza, a woman who is forced to flee Mexico after her drug-dealing boyfriend is murdered. The series premieres tonight at 10/9c. While at the ATX festival, we spoke with Alice Braga (Teresa) and Peter Gadiot (James). Read our interview below!
Can you tell us a little bit about your role in Queen of the South?
Peter: Absolutely. My character is called James. I am the second in command of the Mexican Cartel in America. Camila Vargas, played by Veronica Falcon, is my boss. I am in charge of the day-to-day operations of the cartel. The pickups, the drop-offs, the exchanges of money for products, working with the men on the ground and things like that. That’s my role. Then I come into contact with Alice’s character, Teresa, when she is fleeing Mexico. I act as an unwilling chaperone or guide who introduces her to the world. (laughs). She’s very unwilling as well. We’re kind of forced together and through that, we grow to learn a lot about each other and have a really interesting relationship actually.
Did you read the book before you auditioned for the role?
Peter: Not before. I didn’t have time to read the whole book before my audition, but I did read it while we’re in the early stages of filming. It was really interesting. Some of it was relevant and some wasn’t because we’re not doing an adaptation of the book. That’s not what we’re trying to do. The book is just the source material Queen of the South is inspired by. It’s its own take on the novel.
Did you picture yourself as your character when you were reading La Reina Del Sur?
Alice: I did when I was reading it (laughs), but I never thought that it would be possible. I didn’t think I’d actually ever get to be Teresa. It’s a dream come true
Are there any scenes from the book that aren’t in the TV show that you really wished there were?
Peter: Yes, but this is only season one so we could still use those scenes. They could still very much happen.
Is there a scene in particular that you are excited for fans to see?
Peter: That’s a good question. Honestly, there are a lot of really good scenes. There’s a lot of fun action stuff. I’m a guy, so I like all the action stuff. (laughs). We do a couple of, almost SWAT team/special unit, military style raids on things. We do have some things like that which I really enjoyed. They’re really fun. What’s so good about this show is that it has those elements of a typical thriller action which you’d expect in any movie. But it also has this really deep-rooted character journey and is about relationships. I think that’s why I believe it’s going to be successful because it has those two elements. It commits fully to both.
Peter, what play are you doing?
I’m doing The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Theater. I’m playing Petruchio.
Since our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us what do you nerd out about?
Peter: I nerd out about outdoor gear. I’m really into backpacking, mountaineering, expeditioning. When you’re carrying your whole world on your back, brands really matter. I’m really nerdy about brands like Patagonia, Architect, MountainHardware, etc. If anyone needs any recommendations about outdoor gear, talk to me. (laughs).
Queen of the South airs on tonight on USA at 10/9c.