This year was all about thrillers and mind games for Adria Arjona. The Guatemalan-Puerto Rican actress stars in new film The Belko Experiment, alongside John Gallagher Jr. and Tony Goldwyn, which tells the story of a crazy social experiment in Bógota, Colombia. Arjona, who plays Leandra, and her coworkers are locked in their corporate office for hours for a little game of "kill or be killled." Sounds fun, right? Arjona agrees, considering her previous role as Emerald City's Dorothy.
Read on to see what the actress has to say about her character, her on-screen love interest, and more.
What was the first thing that came to mind to you when you first read the script for The Belko Experiment?
Holy shit. I read the script and then I re-read it and I was like “shit.” Like what is this? I had never read anything like this before. It was just so out there, and it spoke about really interesting things that humans do. And I was just really intrigued to play Leandra and play this kind of moral mind game with the other actors. I knew that it could be a lot of fun. Obviously I had my hesitations, I mean not that I’m not a fan of horror films or thrillers or anything like that, but I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to them. So I was like how can I be a part of something that I’m going to be so afraid to watch? I read one more time, and I was like no, this is quirky and fun and has something, an element that’s very different from every other show I’ve ever seen or read, so I decided to jump into it and get to work.
Your character Leandra, what were your initial thoughts on her as a person? Was she someone you could relate to? Were there certain things about her that you found off-putting?
I pretty much related to her right off the bat. I don’t know if relate is such a good word. When I get characters, they just speak to me and if I cannot connect to them, whether I’m similar to them or not, I just connected with her. A very liberal, open-minded view. She’s very able to see different opinions than all these people have that she can kind of be the moral compass of the story, and I think it has a really important role when it comes to people have to kill or be killed. I think Leandra takes a different twist to it than the rest of them. So it’s really fun ‘cause you get to influence the people, and I love to do that.
Did you agree with the decisions that she made in the movie?
I do. Yes. There’s one that kind of stings me, which I can’t really say ‘cause everyone’s gonna know. But to be honest, I think Leandra is truly one of the heroes of the film. She makes a very, very, very positive decision in how she’s going to tackle this. [Leandra] knows who to trust and who not to, even though she really wants to trust these people she’s worked with for a long time. They’ve been her family. They’re all alone in Colombia, so she wants to trust them but has to make the decision not to, and I think that was one of the hardest ones. How do you think for people that you don’t know who they are anymore? You’re getting to know them right then and there. So that’s one of the hard decisions she had to make.