Interview: Rebecca Da Costa from "The Bag Man"
The wondrous country of Brazil has always been known to produce some of the most beautiful models in all of the world. In the case of young Brazilian Rebecca Da Costa, we get a beautiful model and a very talented actress. Rebecca's latest role is the very seductive and mysterious Rivka in David Grovic's The Bag Man. The film also stars Hollywood heavy weights John Cusack, Robert De Niro, and Crispin Glover. The Bag Man comes out on February 28th and here is what Rebecca had to say about her new film.
Nick Leyland from Movie Room Reviews: I have watched your film The Bag Man twice now and I enjoyed it, and I liked the darkness of it.
Rebecca Da Costa: That's good, that's good.
MRR: Almost the whole film was filmed at night, right?
Rebecca Da Costa: Yeah. It was very hard because we shot in New Orleans for two months and we were shooting from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM every single day. So, it was like, " Oh my god!" To go back to the normal routine afterwards was very hard.
MRR: Well, you were in New Orleans though. Did you enjoy that?
Rebecca Da Costa: I loved that. People are so warm and on the weekends I would try to get out a little bit, just to get my mind away from the movie. And with the music, and the food tha reminded a lot of Brazil. So, I felt right at home.
MRR: Tell me a piece of food there, that was really good.
Rebecca Da Costa: Oh, okay. Well, they did escargot, I know it's A French dish, but they did it with such a special flavor, I think they called it the creole, they folded it, and it is so delicious.
MRR: I always love talking to people about the New Orleans, 'cause everyone has a different food that they love there.
Rebecca Da Costa: Yeah. It was just so great, and also they have so many massage places. [laughter] And yes, I mean it's very important. When you are shooting a movie you get very tense, over the weekend I would try to get a massage now and then.
MRR: Well the Bag Man, it comes out February 28th. Now, can you please tell me about your character Rivka?
Rebecca Da Costa: Okay. So, she's a very witty, sharp girl. As you see this movie, you're not really sure what she's about, and throughout the movie, the layers start to peel off. She develops a relationship with John Cusack. And the big question that lingers in the air is, what does she know about the bag? What does she know about the other characters? What is this girl doing in a motel, in the middle of nowhere. And everything about her is a big mystery. And that's what was very appealing to me, of the part.
MRR: Well, as I watched it, it looks like it was an extremely physical role for you. And you also had to wear a lot of outfits in the film that looked very uncomfortable.
Rebecca Da Costa: Oh really, but they weren't. Well, we needed to make sure I felt comfortable, when I knew that I would be jumping around we needed to make sure that they would be okay for the scenes. I was given total freedom by the director David Grovic to chose my outfit and to be a part of the creative process. She's like this femme fatale, but at the same time, we didn't want her to be stereotyped. And David has a very British, dry sense of humor, he's from England. And he brought out this super hero thing, with wonder woman. And I thought it was hilarious, so we tried that. And everybody loved it and that's what we went with. I think I had like three different outfits throughout the movie. Yeah, but it was just fun.
MRR: Well, it was a really physical role. There was so much violence acted towards you. How did you handle such a physical role and how did you take precautions not get hurt?
Rebecca Da Costa: Yes. I didn't have a stunt double, so I did all my own stunts, and I did like a one week, just learning some tricks from the stunt coordinator to make sure I wouldn't hurt myself. But overall nothing was life-threating, thank God. But I did leave the studio with some scratches and bruises for a few weeks. But yeah, it was just fun. I think the best scene was the one in the jail, because in that scene there was a lot of violence, physicality involved and everybody wanted to make sure that I wouldn't get hurt, but at the same time we wanted to keep this scene as real as possible. That was one of the hardest scenes that I shot.
MRR: That's impressive that you didn't have a stunt double.
Rebecca Da Costa: Yeah, right. I mean I'm very tall and they did have someone, but something happened to the stunt double. So, I ended up doing my own stunts.
MRR: How tall are you?
Rebecca Da Costa: I'm 5' 11".
MRR: 5' 11", wow, you are tall.
MRR: Well, this role seems like a very sought after role because you're working with John Cusack, Robert De Niro, Crispin Glover. How did you get involved with the role yourself?
Rebecca Da Costa: Well, I went to the audition two times. They sent me some of the scenes, I didn't have a chance to read the entire script. And then I did the audition without knowing much about it. And then two weeks later got a phone call from the producers saying that I got the job and that I was going to play the lead opposite John Cusack. And I was just in such a shock, and it was just amazing to me. And then from there I had like two months to prepare myself and I just wanted to feel 100% prepared before getting on set and that's how everything started.
MRR: What ethnicity did you play in the film?
Rebecca Da Costa: I'm Israeli in the film, but again who knows if what I'm telling you is true or not. People will have to see the film.
MRR: Well, your face could be from different parts of the world but did you keep your real accent?
Rebecca Da Costa: No. I did work with an accent reduction coach, just to break it down as much as I could. So I think I have a kind of neutral accent in the film. You cannot really tell where I'm from.
But people confuse me of being Persian sometimes, Russian sometimes, I don't know why. [chuckle] Israeli, Brazilian, Mexican I get a little bit of everywhere.
MRR: I think they're just trying to get a chance to talk to you so they just kind of bring stuff up.
Rebecca Da Costa: Oh, really?
Rebecca Da Costa: Maybe.
MRR: Well, let's talk about working with Cusack and De Niro and those guys.
Rebecca Da Costa: It was like the experience of a lifetime. I grew up watching De Niro's movies and to work opposite him was just such an honor. And he was very giving, because they have been in my position and they have been doing that for like 30 years, 20 years I don't know. So they made me feel very comfortable, they're very open to my ideas and I just felt so honored. And John helped me so much because most of my scenes are with John and he was such a sweetheart. And I remember very clearly he told me "Rebecca, doesn't matter what happens, our connection always must be real. If our connection is genuine everything's going to fall into the right place." He was really, really sweet.
MRR: That's cool. And Crispin Glover is in this movie and he always pulls off creepy characters so well. How does he do it?
Rebecca Da Costa: That's so funny because we just had a screening last night in New York and somebody ask him the same question. Why does he play always the weird character? He's amazing. I regret that we don't have a scene together. I saw the movie and was like "this guy's so good." I guess he's fearless. He just goes to that place, that very dark, weird place that most people don't feel comfortable going there. And he just takes a chance. I admire him a lot.
MRR: Let's talk a little bit about working with David Grovic on this. How did you guys work together and what did you learn from him?
Rebecca Da Costa: As I said he was a fantastic director because even though it was his first picture it seemed like it was his 10th picture. Because he was just very relaxed and he gave us a lot of freedom. We had many, many meetings before we started shooting and then throughout shooting sometimes we'd just change everything. He was open to our ideas and John loves to improvise, so he was open to improvisation. And he was just great to work with and as I said he has this very dry sense of humor, which made a lot of fun to work with and he wrote a lot of this script himself. So, it was an advantage because he knew the script so well inside out and it was really good just to have that security.
MRR: And I think it pays off in the end of the film.
Rebecca Da Costa: Oh, thank you.
MRR: How did you get involved with acting?
Rebecca Da Costa: I always loved acting since I was a child, always. And I used to do theater it in Brazil, but because I when was a very young child, I was 5'11" at the age of 13, people always suggested to my mother, "Oh my God, this girl should be a model." And I never liked the idea. But I had a big dream to travel the world and the moment that I understood that modeling could give me that, I said "Okay, I'm going to try that." So that's when I started modeling and kind of left the acting a little bit aside. But I always knew one day I was gonna go back. And I was living in New York about four years ago and I said "You know what I’m going to start taking classes again." So I started taking classes in New York at the HB Studio and I ran into a friend in the parking lot and she said "Listen, I'm living in LA, why don't you come to visit me?" I said, "Okay." So I booked a flight, and the next weekend I was in LA and I said "You know what, I like this town I'm gonna stay here." And I just stayed in LA, and then six months later I booked my first role on Entourage, and that's how everything started.
MRR: Wow! That's a nice story.
Rebecca Da Costa: Yes, but I've always been like that. I've never been afraid of taking risks in my life, never. And that's what moves me, to go somewhere that I don't know anybody and just trying something new.
MRR: Modeling is a form of acting in a lot of ways, right?
Rebecca Da Costa: Yes. Definitely, and a lot of the modeling experience, like the experience with the camera, the lights, and my angles, that helped me, I brought to my acting world as well.
MRR: Well my last question for you is what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Rebecca Da Costa: So I have Breaking at the Edge coming out in December with another Oscar winner, Lou Gossett Jr., Andie MacDowell and Milo Ventimiglia. I play a girl that suffers from bipolar disorder and she becomes schizophrenic throughout the movie. It was a fascinating, hard role to play. So I'm just gonna be busy for the next couple of months promoting The Bag Man and Breaking at the Edge.
MRR: Alright, well congratulations on The Bag Man coming out on the 28th and on your career and I hope you do wonderful things.
Rebecca Da Costa: Thank you very much, Nick. All the best.