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INTERVIEW: Ana de la Reguera Talks Fighting Zombies in Army of the Dead

The actress plays mercenary Maria Cruz in Zack Snyder's heist movie.

Ana de la Reguera

Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead features an international cast of characters that come together to pull off an elaborate casino heist in post-apocalyptic zombie Las Vegas. But unlike its inspiration Ocean’s Eleven, the film isn’t a boys club. Several women are part of the heist team, and each one sports their own apocalyptic survival skills. As David Bautista’s Scott Ward assembles his team, the first person he recruits is his former fellow mercenary and mechanic Maria Cruz, played by Ana de la Reguera.

You may recognize de la Reguera from her work in series like Goliath, Power, Narcos, and Eastbound and Down. The Mexican actress has also appeared in films like Nacho Libre and Everything, Everything. After Army of the Dead, she stars in The Forever Purge which hits theaters this summer.

We got the chance to talk to de la Reguera and find out about zombies, Zack Snyder, and the challenges of working with a large ensemble cast.

THE MARY SUE: What was it like working with Zack Snyder?

ANA DE LA REGUERA: Oh my God, it was amazing. First of all, as a person he is the sweetest, most giving, fun, talented person, and then as a director he’s just such a great leader, his work ethic, how he loves what he does, how talented he is, how effortless the work is for him. After I watched the movie I was like, “how did he do that?! This is huge!”, and it never felt that way. It felt when we were shooting like a small movie, even though there were like big sets and everything; but we were just there with him, he was the DP [Director of Photography], there was all natural light, and we were just moving with his camera and just there with him. It was a different experience for me because always the director is out there, and someone else is giving you directions, and you have a stand-in who tells you what to do, and Zack was like, there with you and we were all a team working together.

TMS: In addition to the film, you’re also voicing your character in the animated prequel series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. What can you tell us about the series?

ADLR: It was great! We finished the movie around October 2019, and last summer we were recording the prequel, but we already knew when we were on set that it was happening. They were showing me some pictures of my character, how I was going to look, and they already had the idea. It’s exciting that they were creating this whole world around the film.

You’ll find out way more about our characters in the series. Our group of war veterans, Omari [Hardwick], Dave [Bautista], and I were experts in killing zombies, we saved lives before, but yes we are very good friends. In the series we had a taco truck that I used to drive, and I love cars, obviously that’s why I have a body shop, but I used to have this taco truck where, in the early zombie outbreak, that’s how we saved a lot of people! We were shooting from the top of the taco truck, and I was driving it, and that’s how we moved, and we could sleep there, but you’ll see a lot of that in the animated prequel.

ana de la reguera


TMS: What was filming like, was it a physically demanding shoot?

ADLR: It was, it was, we were carrying a lot of gear, and I’m not very tall! The wardrobe department was amazing, they did a great job. If you look closely on my arm guards, you can see zombie bites from my old jobs, and they were full of details that you may not see, but it helps me so much as a character. On my leg I had one gun, then I was carrying another gun, so I was carrying the guns, plus the wardrobe, and the heat and the dust and the running … yeah, there were a lot of days that were hard! But there were other ones where we were in the back of the group, so they gave us plastic rifles that wouldn’t be so heavy and we were in the shade, so depending on the day, there were days when we thought we were going to faint, and other ones were very chill, you know.

TMS: You’ve also starred in From Dusk till Dawn: The Series. Would you consider yourself more of a vampire girl or a zombie girl?

ADLR: I think I’m more of a vampire girl. I think so, I like more the looks. The zombies are sad-looking, and vampires are way sexier and more sophisticated and romantic too. But I do think, if I had to choose, zombie movies are way more fun at the same time, they’re just different. But I think I would be more of a vampire person.

TMS: Do you have a favorite horror movie?

ADLR: I do, which is the first Freddy Krueger movie, Nightmare on Elm Street, probably the first horror movie I ever saw. I remember the premise was just so cool. I remember I loved Freddy Krueger and watched all of the movies. I was 10, I think.

Army of the Dead hits theaters and Netflix on May 21.

(image: Clay Enos/Netflix)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.