It’s time to say so long to Ugly Betty as America Ferrera returns to the big screen this month with Our Family Wedding, a culture-clash comedy about a Mexican-American law student (Ferrera) who brings her African-American fiancé (Lance Gross) home to meet her caught-off-guard family and announce their engagement. It’s the actress’ first film since the announcement that her four-year-old ABC comedy won’t be returning in the fall.
“I love this character. I’ve grown so close to her in playing her,” Ferrera says, reflecting on the unfashionable fashion editor that earned her a Golden Globe and an Emmy. “It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, but I’m so proud of what we’ve done with it, and proud of what it’s meant to so many people. I think that we’re going to get a chance to really wrap it up and give the characters their due justice.
“I’m just grateful that they just didn’t just pull the plug without finishing the story lines.”
She’s keeping busy beyond Betty, of course, with projects like Our Family Wedding, which gave her a chance to re-team with veteran Latina actress Lupe Ontiveros, who appeared in Ferrera’s breakthrough debut, Real Women Have Curves. It was an opportunity the younger actress relished.
“I can’t even explain how much I owe to her. She played a hundred maids so I could come in and take a part like Betty,” Ferrera says. “She’s such an incredible talent, and so incredibly underused, and I think that everyone who has seen her work knows that she’s a star and she should’ve been at the level of Meryl Streep.”
Later this spring, Ferrera will be heard, if not seen, in the upcoming How to Train Your Dragon, voicing a fierce dragon-slayer — something of a departure from Betty Suarez. And that’s just what Ferrera was looking for.
“She is tall and blonde and has blue eyes and has a kick-ass body,” Ferrera says of her character, Astrid. And Ferrera admits she didn’t think she was a likely choice for an animated feature.
“I don’t have like a Disney princess voice, obviously,” she says. “I’ve always had a raspier voice since I was younger.”
With three movies out this year and a TV show winding down, the actress and producer isn’t too concerned with filling up her dance card. But would she entertain the idea of doing another series anytime soon?
“I would entertain sleeping for three months,” she says with a laugh. “And then taking a long, deep breath and seeing what happens organically and naturally after that.”