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An Interview with Nana Gouvea, Star of Black Wake

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2018

Films starring Nana Gouvea on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Black Wake - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


From my personal point of view, Black Wake really is a mix of Dr. Luiza and our monster.

On one hand, Black Wake is about the story of an Ancient Being that ended up falling to earth by accident thousands or maybe even millions of years ago; obviously it's causing lots of trouble for humanity; and on the other hand, Dr. Luiza's loneliness and confusion about her family and her work to find a solution for all the madness that's happening around the world. In my heart, I feel like our Ancient Being and Dr.Luiza share this feeling of loneliness, while they need to keep fighting in order to be able to do what they want the most.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Nana Gouvea can we find in Luiza?


When I study a character in any project my intention is to bring that person to life. I don't always relate personally to the characters I play and I never judge what those characters do in their stories, I lend myself to the character so that the character can tell their stories through me. I actually did some research about scientists and doctors but in the end I decided to give to Dr. Luiza a complete different direction, Dr.Luiza is woman in a man's world, she is lonely, extremely intelligent and capable, she is very intuitive, she is unstoppable and the most important of all, she is a mother and wife! She needs to go back to her family. Oh wow, I love Luiza, I would love to have 10% of her courage and personality.


To what extent could you identify with Black Wake's horror theme, is that a genre you can at all relate to?


I always loved horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies. Love monsters and aliens and zombies! I really enjoy all that.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place?


Summing up, I met Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here] in an audition here in New York and since then I was really looking forward to working with him, I loved his honesty and pure heart at that very moment.

Jeremiah had the first version of the script for Black Wake and after he met with the producer Carlos Keyes, they started working on the movie and I was immediately cast as Dr. Luiza. I've been part of this whole project since the beginning.


What can you tell us about your director Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


As said before, Jeremiah is a honest person with a pure heart, he is as honest as a child and that alone makes our work definitely easier. He always knows what he wants from the actors and from the scenes. He is so sweet and direct! Working with Jeremiah is not only a pleasure, but an honor. I hope to do many other projects with him.


Hailing from Brazil, Black Wake was to my knowlege only your second movie shot in the USA - so how does making movies in Brazil compare to shooting in the US?


Everything is different. In Brazil I used to work for the biggest television network (TV Globo) and it's a cultural thing in there that we do novelas. I actually did dozens of novelas and TV series in Brazil, not movies. Each novela takes more than an entire year of the actors' lives. We shoot every day on a very very tight schedule, we have to deliver a full episode a day, so as an actor we feel like we are always in a hurry and under pressure, especially because of the budget. It's a lot of money at stake and everything needs to be perfect "now". There is no place for mistakes, improvisation, reshooting, ADR, nothing like that. Everything is done exactly like what is in the script.

In USA, I did already 2 TV series (Otona no Kiso Eigo 2017 and 2018, shot in New York for NHK Japan and The Fever also 2017 and 2018, available on Amazon Video, also shot in New York) and I have worked in 3 movies until now including Black Wake (the other ones would be Blood Circus, released, and Linea de Sangre, in post production). What I like the most about doing movies and TV series in the USA is that we have a little more time to prepare, sometimes even reshoot and do ADR. Not mentioning that I really love the opportunity to explore a different culture but still keep doing what I love, which is acting.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


Oh man! It was awesome, such a friendly and creative environment! I already miss everybody! I can't wait to see everyone again at the premiere here in New York, February 24th.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes, luckily I have some future projects that I can talk about. Carlos Keyes, Tom Sizemore and I are in pre-production for our next feature film, a thriller named Killer Response. Also, I have been promoted to lead for season 4 and 5 of the TV series The Fever, witch I start shooting this February.


As far as I know you came to acting via a modeling career - so do talk about that part of your career for a bit, and how did modeling prepare you for acting actually?


I was a model from 10 years old to 19 when I got accepted into college for Formacao de Atores (Actors Formation) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During the classes my own teachers started offering me parts in their projects. A few years later, I was working a lot as an actress for TV Globo (the biggest Brazilian Network) but still I wanted to study a bit more so I got into "Cinema (Films)" in another college, also in Rio.

In New York I studied Meisner Technique at Esper Studios with Terry Knickerbocker and I take classes for breath control, voice and accent reduction at Voice, Speech & Melt with Gail Bell. So, I would not say that my modeling work prepared me for acting, not that it didn't help but I actually studied acting quite a bit and I still keep preparing myself for the work with Gail Bell, who became my personal coach and mentor for the last 5 years.


How would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I would say that I use a mix of everything I studied and found that to be really useful for me on set. Sometimes I use a bit of Stanislavski, sometimes Strasberg, sometimes Meisner, but most of the time I just follow my intuition and trust my gut and try not be locked inside rules. I prefer I let it happen and be present in the moment.

I read an interview that Jeremiah gave to you [click here] where he says that I'm a "method" actress, lol. I think that sometimes... I agree. LOLOL!


Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?


Uh... So many! Meryl Streep, Penelope Cruz, Al Pacino, Cate Blanchett, Tom Sizemore, Jonny Beauchamp, Jonny Depp, Viola Davis, Eva Green and list list would go long!!!


Your favourite movies?


I have no idea! Oh my God there is so much good material out there! It makes me crazy to have to choose only a few. Sorry!!!

But, ok... I would say that I'm obsessed about Game of Thrones. It's not a movie... but its great, isn't it?


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I learned when I was child, never talk bad about anybody or anything ;)


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


No dear Mike, 

Thank you so much for your time and for the opportunity.

God bless you and all your readers. Xoxo


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
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produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD