After 30 years on screen, Liza Colón-Zayas finds her breakthrough in ‘The Bear’

Liza Colon-Zayas earned his first screen credit exactly 30 years ago, in one episode New York Secret. She continued to appear in dozens of television series, from Law & Order And Sex and the city ARRIVE House And Dexter. She was one of the passengers inside Paul Greengrassnominated for an Oscar Flower 93. She starred in a famous work by Othello with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and about a decade later won numerous off-Broadway awards for her tour-de-force performances in the ensemble piece Halfway straight to heaven.

However, unless you’re particularly interested in the New York theater world, Colón-Zayas’s name is one you’re likely only recently familiar with, thanks to Bear. Colón-Zayas plays Tina Marrero, a veteran chef who—if somewhat reluctantly—finds new purpose in life as her new boss, Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), making big changes in her workplace.

Schedule a conversation this week Little golden boys (listen or read below), Colón-Zayas is in Chicago filming BearTuesday (and, according to reports, fourth), just won her first SAG Award as part of the FX team and is excited about what lies ahead. Even if she can’t share much in that department yet, the smile she wears from start to finish shows that like her personality, Colón-Zayas will continue to blossom.

Vanity Fair: We’re talking to you from Chicago, right? Give me a day in my life when you were in production Bear.

Liza Colon-Zayas: A day in the life of Chicago. Usually when I work, I wake up and go to the studio while it’s still dark, then we shoot very quickly. Archivist Chris and the entire crew is just the most amazing, kind and supportive crew you could ask for. It was a joy. And I’m a bit of a recluse, so after I’m done, I just want to go home and disconnect—get ready for the next thing.

You’re filming seasons three and four at the same time. Am I right about that?

[Pause] Father.

Got it, got it. Can you tell me what makes you excited, where is Tina going next?

Without giving too much away, we’ll see more of what we love and what stresses us out. Bear. We will see more of the backstories, secret lives as well as the challenges involved in keeping this family together.

I wanted to ask you about your experience this past winter going from one ceremony to the next. At the Critics’ Choice Awards, you actually spoke on behalf of the cast when you won Best Comedy. How does it feel to be a part of that?

It was surreal, like a roller coaster. Even though I won some awards in season one, other people won most of them. So to be able to win these awards, like best ensemble—that moment of being on that stage after spending most of your adult life observing other people and rarely When there are people who look like me or like us, I just want to document all of that. And then going backstage and being led through the waves of press and interviews and celebrations is difficult. towel. Because I had just won a SAG award, I couldn’t meet my idol Barbra Streisand go up [to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award]. I told my agent, “I feel like my life has come full circle. I’ve been singing along to Barbra since I was little, and here I am, backstage and I don’t get to see her.”

Because you won a prize!

Right. It can often feel like an out-of-body experience. Right now, I’m so busy processing what’s going on that it’s hard to be present and experience all the details. I’m doing it now.

Can you take me back to when this role first came to you? How do you hope to play the role of Tina? I’m sure you can’t imagine this career impact.

I auditioned in a self-tape because we were in the middle of a pandemic. I haven’t read the script, I don’t know anything about it. It’s simply a matter of reading a scene or two. We went to Chicago in the summer and it was really fun. It seemed things were too interesting to go any further. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When we saw the first rough cut of the pilot, I thought, “Wow, this is really tense,” and that’s not what we felt, or at least what I felt , when we were filming. I thought, “Oh, maybe this is too specific.” I never expected that we would be in the place we are now, where people from all walks of life feel connected and understood. I’m very proud of it.


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