Mayans M.C., the Sons of Anarchy spinoff co-created by Kurt Sutter and Elgin James, has so far earned splendid ratings, making it 2018’s most-watched cable premiere. Sutter recently spoke with Uproxx about several subjects, including the two strong female characters who are navigating through a very dangerous and male-dominated world. One of those women, Adelita, has been organizing and leading an underground rebellion against the ruling Galindo cartel. Her actions are inspired by real-life events ongoing not only along the U.S.-Mexico border but throughout Central America.
Carla Baratta, a Venezuelan actress, plays Adelita, who (as a child) watched her own family be murdered by the cartel that now refers to her as the “rebel bitch.” As a character, she depends on no man and chooses to take matters into her own hands while protecting hundreds of children who are orphaned as a result of cartel violence. Baratta was happy to chat with Uproxx about Adelita’s “nickname” and other topics, including her ever-evolving experience on the FX series and her growing optimism about inclusion in Hollywood.
The early episodes of Mayans are about establishing EZ (played by J.D. Pardo) within the club while Adelita’s rebels, who have been stealthily operating in the background, suddenly spring into action against the cartel. How long has the group been plotting up to this point?
These rebels started a long time ago. Two or three people, and then more and more people started to band together with them. They’ve been planning these things for a long time, especially for the last four years, the cartel has been doing all these things near the border. So maybe about four years.
Your character is tasked with representing a whole culture while avenging the deaths of decades of victims. How do you get into the right mindset for this challenge?
When I first got the audition, I connected with Adelita because I’m from Venezuela. And we have a lot of issues happening right now, and we have a lot of problems with the government. They were killing students who went out to protest on the streets. And so I’ve watched how violence works in a closed environment, and I think that gives me the mindset to just change that. And also, I get a lot of inspiration for Adelita from the Mexican Revolution, and it’s just a matter of finding that inspiration for the things that trigger you to become a new person.
I had wanted to ask about how you’re from Venezuela, and how that’s sort of a paradise lost. Have you witnessed any of the injustice there?
Yeah, for sure, and a lot of it has happened over time, maybe ten years ago, and it’s growing and growing and growing. I studied at a public university (architecture), and we would see a lot of injustice happening while people were protesting. I even saw that one of the students at my university get killed in a protest. I think we all, especially in Latin America, we all live surrounded by violent environments. Even if you don’t live in a dangerous place, still, that violence can come to you. And now is such a really sad time, the violence has also turned to a social and economic crisis. People cannot find many things and food, so more than violence, the crisis is taking over the country.
How much collaboration do you have with the writers, including Kurt Sutter and Elgin James, for your character’s ongoing development?
They’re always there. We have a writer all the time on set, paying attention, and if we have questions, he can help us through that. And especially for Adelita, Elgin helped me a lot with her because it’s like he kind of created her, so he’s involved with the whole process. And Kurt too, they both gave me what they thought about Adelita and what her soul and vision should be. So anytime I had a doubt or a question, I would ask them, and they would give me the biggest and richest answer ever, so I will be super prepared for the next episode.