Never judge a book by its cover. This saying can also very well be applied to the character of Carolina Elscher, the brilliant and strong financial pioneer in Devils Season 2. A decidedly ambitious international role, but one that Ana Sofia Martins managed to bring to the small screen with great audacity and charm.
We at Survived The Shows had the great pleasure of speaking with Ana Sofia Martins, who took us behind the scenes of her portrayal of Carolina Elscher on the Sky Original financial thriller, Devils, her approach to the character and the challenges it gave her.
What’s the one element in Carolina’s character that fascinates you the most and drew you to join Devils in the first place?
ANA SOFIA MARTINS: Well, I think Carolina is a very intriguing character. When I first started reading about her, I was fascinated by how many layers this character has and how fierce she is. And of course, when you read a character like this, you want to play it! You want to find it inside of you, you want to see it you have it inside of you! And I think the whole show has that appeal and that’s what made me want to be a part of this cast, you know? Season 1 was amazing, you know, the results were fascinating. The Italians love the series, the Brits love the series, and I’m like ‘Oh My God, I love it too, so I want to be a part of it’. So, I was very honored when I was invited to join the cast!
Carolina Elscher is a brilliant, fierce, financial pioneer who doesn’t like a refusal. How did you approach the role? Is there any figure you took inspiration from?
ASM: Not a particular figure, but I approached it from a very professional angle. She’s the best and she knows that she is best. She has a very deep pocket, she has a lot a money and she knows that people want to work with her, you know, becauses she will guarantee results to them. So, I had to go through that angle and to understand how I would feel if someone like Carolina presented themselves into my life and how much I would be eager to work with them. So I think it was easy to give her, you know, not a bit of arrogant side, but a very short of herself. It was fun to work the character on that way.
Which was your biggest challenge in playing Carolina Elsher, both professionally and personally?
ASM: That’s a good question. I think it was in the same way professionally and personally, I think it was a two-in-one kind of thing, because the financial language was so difficult to me. I was like ‘what does this mean?? What is this little, like four-letter word that mean so much to them and I have to use it like on a daily basis???’.
It was a bit hard for me but I read a lot about it and Guido, he helped us a lot ’cause he was with us on set sometimes and sometimes when you don’t understand something it is better if you ask than to make a fool of yourself [laughs] And it’s funny because Patrick [Dempsey] said on the first meetings that we had that ‘there’s no stupid questions, all questions are valid’. So that made me feel a bit more secure, but definitely the financial language and the way they talk to each other, it was very challenging for me, but I think I nailed it!
Where are you and Carolina most similar and where are you completely different?
ASM: [Laughs] I think we’re very similar when it comes to being private and reserved, about our private lives. It’s funny because when Carolina first appeared in my life, I was going through a personal moment where I wanted to be more focused on my private life and I didn’t want to show it on social medias like everyone does. So I think she helped me to get there faster. So we’re similar there, but I think we’re very different when it comes to the way we see life, I mean, she only thinks about profit, she only thinks about money all the time, you know, she’s very money oriented and I’m not like that, so we’re totally different. [Laughs] Maybe I should be more like her but I’m not there yet.
Talking about the environment on set, how can you describe your experience?
ASM: I think it was a very fun environment, a very safe environment at the same time, because as you know there were four new female characters in this season and [Patrick Dempsey and Alessandro Borghi] were such gentlemen and so accomodating to us and to our doubts, to our insicurities sometimes and it was great to work with them.
They are very different people from their characters, both of them – Thank God [laughs] – but it was great meeting them. You know, the whole cast, I think, the production, even like LuxVid and Big Light Productions, they make sure that everybody felt welcome and safe. Because when you’re working and there’s a pandemic outside, there’s so many things going through your mind that you just want to focus on the professional side, and the investment that they made in order to make us feel safe for COVID, it was really amazing, you know.
We had testing three times a week, we had machines outside the studio to disinfect our clothing. You know, we had Covid people inside our building like “Covid security” to make sure we weren’t all in the same space, like ten people speaking at the same time like ‘no no no, everybody has to be separate from each other’, but it was very rewarding to work during COVID and I think we felt safer on set than people were feeling on the street, so that’s a lot.
Especially I think I became closer with Clara Rosager, who plays Nadja.
We spent a lot of time together. Rome was empty, so we got to know Rome, like it was so amazing, there were no tourists outside, just us – That was even an opportunity to, you know, get a new friendship. We used to work out a lot together at the hotel as well, we used to do meals together and then her family came to visit her on set and I got to know her family. I think I exchange messages with her every two days, so she was a great person. Joel De la Fuente, as well. We went to the Vatican Museum and the museum was totally empty, so we had the best pictures. It was a great opportunity to get to know these great actors, you know, and become friends with them.
If you had to choose a scene that’s been more fun to shoot, which would it be? And if you can choose a scene that’s been more challenging?
ASM:[Laughs] Let’s see, you know this is funny to say but I think the same scene gave me fun vibes and ‘Oh my God what’s happening’ vibes. Because there was a specific scene when we’re all in the meeting room and there are so many characters there, so it was a very complex scene to shoot, like you had to – so many cameras, so many angles, so many actors and it was challenging for me.
It was so challenging that we were doing the scene acting for like five or six hours and I had one line. One line. And the time that my line came up, I missed it up.
[laughs] I was like I can’t believe it, you have one job, one line, and you can’t say it. Because I was so mesmorized by everything that was happening around us. Like, you know, that was the first time in my life that I got to see something being done this big, you know. Because our studio was so amazing. We have the best cameras, we have the best crew, and all of a sudden, like me, Ana Sofia, is like ‘Oh my God, what’s happening in my life? Okay it’s your turn to talk. Ehhm, ehhm.
Patrick [Dempsey] was next to me and he was so amazing. He was like ‘You know what Ana? Everybody makes mistakes, you got this, you know the line, you’ve just got a bit nervous’. It’s funny because his talking to me calmed me down and I FINALLY got the line up. Sometimes it’s amazing how something so much fun and that you’re loving so much can be so challenging at the same time.
I can’t wait to watch that episode, because I haven’t watched it yet. I want to see if you can tell how I was feeling – I hope not [laughs]
Among all the characters on Devils, which one do you find more similar to you as Ana Sofia?
ASM: I love to think that I have a little bit of everyone of them. Only the good parts, of course [laughs]. You know, I think I can see a little bit of Massimo, I can see a little bit of Dominic, I can see a little bit of Nadya, you know, I can see a little bit of Latoya – it’s all of them, you know, ’cause all these characters are not just good or just bad, they’re like humans, you know they have many layers. There are many specific characteristics about them and I think I can find something good in all of them or something fun that I also have in my personality. Also bad parts, but let’s not talk about those! [laughs]
If you had to give some advice to those among our readers who would like to pursue a career in acting, what would you tell them?
ASM: I would say, invest in your education. Do a lot of workshops, and you know, do a lot of courses, if you have the opportunity. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Be ready to hear a lot of nos, a lot of refusal, because you know as actors we do a lot of self-tapes and a lot of auditions and it would be great if we got all the jobs but that doesn’t happen so you have to be ready to feel that you did a great job and still, you know, people didn’t hire you because that happens all the time, because someone else was better for the job and you just have to be ready to deal with that and to just believe in yourself and keep working on your craft.
Even if people tell you ‘Oh my God, you’re the best, I’ve never seen anyone act like you’, keep working on it, because this job is never done, you’re always learning, you know? And it’s pretty good!
DEVILS is available in full on demand on Sky and NOW TV Italy and Season 2 is premiering June 20 on the CW.