Mexican Actress Paola Nuñez Talks AMC's 'The Son' and Politics Of Show

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Mexican actress Paola Nuñez stars in her first English-language television series, THE SON alongside Pierce Brosnan. Her participation in the AMC show is much more than just an acting gig, says the actress. THE SON represents a chance to see Mexican-American’s history represented like never before.

A staple in Mexican telenovelas, Paola transitioned to Hollywood two years ago waiting for her big Hollywood break. She came close with a pilot that didn’t get a greenlight. THE SON marks Paola’s first time acting in English. The thought of acting in another language was “nerve-racking” and she felt like fish-out-of-water. She imagined herself flubbing the lines and the countless retakes would cost the production money.

“Luckily the language wasn’t an obstacle,” says Paola during our phone conversation. "I wassurrounded by “super talented people who made me feel at home."

The Mexican actress plays Maria Garcia in THE SON, a Mexican-American daughter of a wealthy rancher in 1890’s Texas who goes up against Eli McCullogough (Pierce Brosnan) and his family looking to land grab some of their property.

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Nuñez has dreamed of working on a period piece as does every other actor.

“I think that’s every actor’s dream, let me tell you,” says the Baja California native.  It’s a chance to explore a different time period with clothes and attitudes. It’s the best thing to happen to you as an actor.”

Everything on the set was authentic replicas of the time period. There was no cheating even down to the undergarments.

“The wardrobe is 100% accurate. They didn’t even let me use my own socks.”

Unfortunately for the actresses on THE SON, they wore corsets from the time period which Paola describes as “super uncomfortable.”  The tight corset made eating and sitting a painful experience. Luckily the director was “kind” enough to allow the wardrobe person to remove the girdle during the meal breaks.

The Austin 100 degree heat didn’t help things any either. It was a difficult shoot, admits the actress, but it was worth it especially when you’re standing next to Pierce Brosnan.

“He’s striking. There’s no word to describe him in Spanish, according to Paola. “He’s so manly and handsome. He’s like every thing you expect from a superstar.  That’s Pierce Brosnan - charming and adorable.”

As for the acting, the man she can't help but see as James Bond, also brings humility to his acting process with his generosity towards the other actors.

Pierce Brosnan in AMC The Son

To ready for the role, Paola read the original material. Based on Philipp Meyer’ novel THE SON, the story details the contentious history between Mexico and the United States as it grew into a superpower after the Mexican-American war. As a Mexican citizen, the history between the two neighbors intrigued Paola.

“Mexico lost half their territory after the treaty. What happened to the Mexicans after the land grab, those of Spanish heritage, the Mexicans who became American citizens… that’s relevant to today’s politics,” explains Paola. “What’s happening with Donald Trump is a direct consequence of all this history we’ve experienced with the United States. It’s to understand why relations with Mexico is so deteriorated and damaged. In understanding our past, we can improve a little bit.”

The historical backdrop of the AMC show is an important part of the character’s conflicts.  THE SON takes place after the 1848 Mexican-American war ended with the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty. Mexico ceded to the United States nearly all the territory we now know as New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and western Colorado all for the price of $15 million. Mexican citizens living in the annexed areas where guaranteed full civil rights as American citizens, but the transition caused much more conflict with the native residents.  

“Today more than any ever, we need to hear the voices of the Mexicans. This is what happened to the Mexican Americans. I’m not Mexican-American but Mexican,” she clears up. “It will resonate with them because of their history.  They have stepped on Mexican-American rights since then. The treaty guaranteed rights to Mexican-American citizens. The United States didn’t honor that agreement.”


To bring even more authenticity to THE SON Paola suggested the Mexican-American character's dialogue be delivered in both Spanish and English, typically known as Spanglish. Originally the script called for the Mexican-American characters to speak in English with Spanish sprinkled in, but she wanted to reflect how Mexican-American typically speak. The director was open to hear her input and the reasons behind it.

“Because that’s the way Mexican-Americans talk. It’s always in Spanglish,” she told the director. “It was more real to do it that way.  Spanglish is like a new language. I thought it was important to include that.”

She won that argument, and her character Maria speaks Spanglish much like Paola and I speak during our interview.

Paola Nuñez had our backs on that one. Kudos to her for speaking up in an industry where most newcomers are afraid to speak up. The Mexican actress is a fighter much like Maria Garcia on THE SON.

Catch Paola Nuñez on THE SON Saturday’s on AMC 9/8c.

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