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INTERVIEW – ‘IF’ Star Liza Colón-Zayas on the Importance of Being Seen

IF interview min

Paramount Pictures’ new film, IF, written and directed by John Krasinski, is a story about innocence, and the importance of feeling safe with our friends and loved ones (real or imagined). In the film, Liza Colón-Zayas plays Janet, a nurse who is assigned to Krasinski’s character.

Colón-Zayas exudes comfort and strength, vital characteristics for a nurse dealing not only with a father, but his precocious daughter (played by Cailey Fleming). I had the chance to speak with Colón-Zayas about her latest film, where she shares most of her scenes with Fleming and Krasinski.

An accomplished playwright, with extensive theatre experience, Colón-Zayas began her career off-Broadway and broke into mainstream theatre when she wrote, produced, and starred in a one-woman show titled Sistah Supreme, a semi-autobiographical play in which she chronicles growing up as a Latina woman in New York during the 1970s and 1980s. Most recently, Colón-Zayas is known for her memorable performance as Tina Marrero in the award-winning series from FX, The Bear.

Given that most of Colón-Zayas’ scenes are shared with Cailey Fleming, I asked what it was like to work with the young star, and Colón-Zayas’ enthusiasm was palpable.

“She’s brings this fresh innocence, yet she’s like an old soul. It’s amazing,” Colón-Zayas said. “She’s so grounded and lovely and prepared and professional. But there’s this just incredible talented innocence that you see. It’s mind-blowing.”

IF is written and directed by Krasinski, who also plays the father of Fleming’s Bea. The fact that Krasinski took on all three roles in the film is certainly unique, and it’s clear that his own cast members appreciate his multiple talents.

“I loved working with [John Krasinski]. He’s superhuman. He’s from another galaxy. He can do it all. He’s knowledgable about everything technical. Boundless energy and he’s just constantly upbeat,” Colón-Zayas said.

Of course, Colón-Zayas is multi-talented and impressive in her own right, and I asked her how her theatre background helps her connect with audiences in her on screen roles. She pointed to her experience working with the LAByrinth Theater Company (formerly Latina Actors Base) as a way that helps her she stay grounded.

“I always knew from a child, that I wanted to play make believe. Fast forward to auditioning for LAB. LAB was meant to be a place for people who were not being seen. So I found my artist community there. All the things that I had hang-ups about were safe there. So I just try to bring that along because every day I still remember what it’s like to be invisible,” Colón-Zayas

Watch our full conversation below. IF premieres May 17, 2024. Read our review of the film.

POC Culture Interview with Liza Colón-Zayas

About IF:

From writer and director John Krasinski, IF is about a girl who discovers that she can see everyone’s imaginary friends — and what she does with that superpower — as she embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten IFs with their kids. IF stars Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr. and Steve Carell alongside many more as the wonderfully unique characters that reflect the incredible power of a child’s imagination. 

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Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture.  He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.

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