A New York actress who hails from Panama, Marilyn Cortez recently made a an appearance for several minutes as the nanny Marina in a new HBO series called Clear History, alongside Larry David and John Hamm. Marilyn also works as a stunt woman and has also done some work as a film producer. A graduate of Rhode Island College with a Bachelors in Marketing, Marilyn is currently learning Chinese. She is a martial artist, a yogi, a salsa dancer, and a globetrotter. Learn more about Marilyn by visiting her page on the Internet Movie Database.
1. How did you get started in acting?
I got started in acting when I was learning to speak English. I had already learned to read and write on my own, and I was comfortable speaking English to people I was used to, but when it came to new people I met I was very shy.
In actuality I was looking for public speaking classes, but where I lived at the time, in a small town between Boston and NYC, the choices for classes like that were none. I would either have to travel to Boston or NYC. The one thing I found abundantly were acting classes. So I signed up and took my first theater class and from there on, kept taking the next level theater class and so on. I met wonderful aspiring actors who would tell me about working on set here and there and how exciting it sounded, and this aroused my interested even more. So I started training more, and I had the privilege to do some theater work before moving on to film and television.
2. How did you get into doing work as a stunt woman, in addition to acting?
I got into stunt work by happenstance. I was on set working as a stand-in and I was offered to do stunt work for a film. From there I kept researching on how to get more stunt work. But word of mouth is great. Because one stunt coordinator would refer me to another stunt coordinator and the word spread. So, I still get calls for stunt work for films which is great because I love doing stunts as well.
3. What are some examples of stunts you've done for movies?
I've done stunts in the movies Underdog, R.I.P.D, and Hard Luck.
4. Would you tell us about your role in Larry David's new project, Clear History?
I was hired as the nanny, Marina. Everything was improvised; it truly was. The auditions were all improvisation. I went up against women who had way more experience than me at improv, and who were known in the community to belong to improv troupes. People tell me I am naturally funny, but I always thought it was because of my accent so I never quite gave it a second thought. But when I did the auditions for Clear History, I went in with an open mind and did not try to force myself to be funny. Basically I reacted to whatever Larry David threw at me.
Larry David at the end of one of the last callbacks, focused on my breasts a lot because of their size, and my reaction was just to go with the flow, and I made a comment that made him laugh. All was done respectfully, and when I left the room that day, I forgot about the audition, and heard from the casting director like five months later telling me I had the role.
Working on set with Larry David and John Hamm was exciting. I was working with the king of comedy and a truly professional actor such as John Hamm. They were both pleasant, down to earth, and normal people--and both helped me a lot that day as well. I met many other actors on set, too, some from SNL who were just down to earth people and easy going, and they also gave me career advice.
5. What are some other movies or TV appearances you have coming up?
Well, after Clear History I am being called in a lot more frequently for auditions. My latest one was Law and Order SVU and also in Los Angeles where I fly frequently I have been called in for Big Bang Theory. And in NYC I have a few auditions coming for independent films, and I am excited about these indie films because a few of those are bilingual films, Spanish and English. I have always wanted to work in a Spanish indie film. And there is a film on the works where I will be in, but I signed a confidentiality agreement and I can't mention anything about it.