‘Marvel’s Runaways’: Ariela Barer and Allegra Acosta on Representing Latina Superheroes

     November 22, 2017

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From showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, Marvel’s Runaways, available to stream on Hulu on November 21st, tells the story of six teenagers – Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer) and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) – who realize that their parents have been lying to them all their lives and that they’re really evil. As a result, this group of estranged friends, who also have secrets of their own, must band together to stop their parents before it’s too late.

On September 26th, Collider (along with a few other outlets) was invited over to the L.A. set of the series to chat with the cast and executive producers and learn about all things Runaways. During a small roundtable interview, co-stars Ariela Barer and Allegra Acosta talked about how much of a dream come true it was for them to sign on for a Marvel series, what it means for them to represent Latina superheroes, developing the child-parent dynamic with their TV parents, what they most enjoy about playing their characters, and keeping it all a secret from their friends and family. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.

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Image via Hulu

Question: How much of a dream come true was signing on for a Marvel series?

ALLEGRA ACOSTA: So much! It was the biggest dream come true! It was almost unrealistic because, at the beginning of the year, before I even got this audition, I wrote my goals, and just casually I wrote, “Maybe I’ll be a superhero!” I didn’t think of it too much, but then, when I got this and I figured out what I was going to be and I ended up booking it, it was just so fast and so weird and unexpected. It’s just the most exciting thing, ever, to be a part of this cinematic universe that’s just about embracing your true hero. It’s so amazing!

ARIELA BARER: I feel like my formative years were right on the brink of Marvel taking over the entertainment industry. So, for me, it was always a thing to be like, “Maybe after I grow up and win an Oscar, I’ll deserve my Marvel stint. I’ll follow in the foot steps of Robert Downey Jr.” But it came a lot faster than I thought it would, which is exciting.

Latina superheroes are so far and few between. What does it mean to you to be representing not only your generation, but also a Latina superhero?

ACOSTA: I remember Gina Rodriguez was on Twitter like, “Where are all the Latina superheroes at?” And then, we were like, “We’re right here Gina! You probably don’t know who we are, but we’re right here!”

BARER: It was really important to me that you have characters who are Latinas, and who are super strong and powerful. We have such a responsibility to show that, even though we got this opportunity, we have to create more for other Latinas, and for especially girls who are my age. I don’t think you’ve ever seen 14 year-old Latina superheroes. It’s just amazing to have that broad spectrum out there and to show that we’re not our stereotypes. We’re much stronger than that and bolder than that, and it’s cool that we get variety within one show. We never end up falling into tokenism, or anything like that. It’s cool to have two of us because we can be truly personal and relatable in without having to worry about encompassing everything into one story. We can keep it as real as possible. People don’t have to relate to both of us. We don’t have to be the perfect role models. We can be human.

If one has to have evil parents, you guys seem to have gotten the nicest evil parents. What’s it been like to develop the child-parent dynamic with your TV parents, Brigid Brannagh and Kevin Weisman?

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Image via Hulu

BARER: It’s so easy and so fun! They’re just so warm. A lot of the parents are very cold, as they should be because of who they are, and they’re fantastic at it, but our parents are the more fun, goofball, warm ones. I feel like it’s why we are the way we are. We’re the dorky ones ‘cause they’re just unapologetically themselves and interested in things. And in real life, they’re also just like that. Kevin and Bridget are just so warm and fun, and you can talk to them, from small talk to your deepest desires of where you want to be in life and your art. They’re just so easy to talk to that it immediately felt like family.

ACOSTA: Also, since Molly is adopted by the Yorkes, she’s also very curious about her family. She’s driven by wanting to know about her roots and where she comes from, but she’s also driven by the dilemma that she is in love with her sister and wants to be accepted by the older kids. I love them. They’re just so funny.

Television