Mexican Teresa Ruiz says she is convinced that “feminine energy” can light the way for those who are lost, as her character does in “Father Stu,” a film that opens next week based on a true story and in which he shares credits with Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson.
“Feminine energy has that ability to be like a light or like a candle that guides the way when one is lost,” Ruiz said in an interview, and he hastens to clarify that this energy is present in both men and women.
After achieving notoriety on the screens for her role as Isabella Bautista in the series “Narcos: Mexico”, Ruiz got used to playing strong women as she now does with Carmen, a young woman who teaches Sunday classes at a Catholic church in Los Angeles.
He points out that Carmen’s strength comes from within her soul, from where she manages to become the “light that illuminates” the path of Stuart Long, played by Wahlberg.
Claiming the value of people who selflessly help and love others is very important for the Mexican actress. She also finds it essential to highlight those who struggle in the midst of adversity.
That was precisely what caught his attention in the story of “Father Stu” and why he agreed to participate in the tape written and directed by Rosalind Ross.
“It tells of a man who suddenly finds why he is in the world and sticks with it despite all the adversity. I liked that a lot; I think it is a message that we should all carry”, she reflects.
THE LOVE THAT TRANSFORMS
The film follows the life of Stuart, who after abandoning his career as an amateur boxer due to injury, moves to Los Angeles in search of fame. There he finds a job in a supermarket where he meets Carmen, who seems immune to the allure of him pretending to be a bad boy.
Determined to win her over, Stuart, a lifelong agnostic, starts going to church to impress her. But it is he who will end up impressed.
“Carmen has the ability to believe in him when the outside world did not believe in him, and from there she can find her vocation,” says Ruiz about the couple’s relationship.
A REFLECTION OF YOUR COMMUNITY
The actress assures that the values of her character remind her of her mother and her people in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she was born. “Carmen has a lot of that essence of who we are as Mexicans and as a community,” she explains.
He describes Oaxacans as very generous and kind people. “Since they have a faith and a belief in something that is bigger than them, then they can spend their lives giving”, he deepens.
Precisely, that faith that she was taught to have is what has driven her to fight for a space in Hollywood.
She acknowledges that this film has transformed her: “It changed the way I see life. I feel calmer, more accompanied by a superior force, by a community. I feel safer”.
The film is based on the real-life of Catholic priest Stuart Long, who despite a devastating health crisis, and the skepticism of his parents and the Catholic Church, manages to pursue his vocation.
“The Catholic Church doesn’t love him (Stuart) for who he is. So he defies a lot of those established Catholic canons and talks about someone who is following his faith and his heart,” Ruiz maintains.
The impact of this film on its protagonists is not fortuitous.
Wahlberg, who is also a producer on the film, had been working on the project for nearly 10 years when the Mexican actress joined it. Ruiz assures that the chemistry with Wahlberg, nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor (“The Departed”, 2006), was immediate, and working with him was enriching.
Similarly, he says that he learned a lot working alongside Mel Gibson, who plays Bill Long, Stuart’s father. The Australian-American artist’s work on “The Passion of the Christ” (2004), which he directed and produced, inspired Wahlberg to pursue this project.
Renowned Australian actress Jacki Weaver, who plays Stuart’s mother, rounds out the cast of the film, which opens on April 13, the eve of Holy Thursday.
In his invitation to the public to see the film, Ruiz says that “Father Stu” is “universal.”
“Whoever sees it does not necessarily have to relate to religion or any doctrine, but rather it is a film that speaks of the human being and his capacity to be great, to be better, to be full of love”, he pointed out.