By Ryan McPherson
You’ll probably recognize Gabriela Lopez from Million Dollar Arm with Jon Hamm and Teen Spirit with Cassie Scerbo. Now taking on her biggest role to date, Lopez stars next to Chloë Grace Moretz, in film adaptation of The 5th Wave. The popular novel is getting the big screen treatment and is expected to be one of the biggest films of 2016. Lopez, already a rising star, is someone you’ll want to know and someone you’ll be seeing a lot of moving forward.
Lopez was kind enough to chat with us about the new film, her love of music, and her volunteer work. We think you’ll find it challenging not to root for her future success.
What can you tell us about your role in The 5th Wave?
I play Lizbeth, Cassie Sullivan’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) best friend. I would say she is a fun-loving, boy crazed teen.
Are there any similarities between you in real life and your character Lizbeth?
Yes! Lizbeth and I are similar in the way that we both like to have fun and have a good time. I would also say we have a similar sense of humor.
You’ve got a list of some pretty big credits, working on some large productions. The 5th Wave has to be your biggest to date. What was the experience like working on a huge science fiction production?
It was pretty incredible to be a part of. It was like the dream cast and crew. Everyone got along so well and it was just a blast working on a sci-fi film. Since it was a bigger production with extravagant sets, my imagination got to rest because it felt so real.
You mentioned extravagant sets, but I would imagine a lot of things we (the viewers) see, takes place in front of a green screen. What’s the transition like when working between real sets and scenes where a lot of things will be added in the editing room?
Well I did not do any green screen work, so I did not get to see what a lot of that would be like. The quarantine scene I filmed was very extravagant without any added editing, just a lot of extras and special FX makeup, with people dressed in hazmat suits. It felt real.
The film is of course based on a book of the same name. Had you read the book prior to being cast in the film?
No I had not had a chance to read the book before I was cast. Immediately after I was cast is when I found out it was based on the best-selling novel and could not put it down.
You grew up in the American South and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, but returned to the area for what might be your biggest film yet. Was it somewhat of a homecoming for you?
Definitely. The South has such its own culture. It was nice to be there for a couple months. I also got to be close to family and spend lots of time with them. It was refreshing.
With as “small” as the world has become and films being made all over (not just Los Angeles), do you think you could have stayed where you were and still made a career for yourself or was the move to L.A. necessary for your success?
The move to LA was necessary for me to be where I am now. I think I could have definitely still had a decent career elsewhere but LA is where all the bigger parts cast plus I just love it here. It feels more like where I am supposed to be
You do a lot of volunteer work. What can you tell us about the organizations you support and where your interest came from?
Volunteering with Friends of El Faro has been a blessing. Adam and Leigh Kilton-Smith run the organization to support the kids at the Casa Hogar Sion. I found out about them through mutual friends and had to become a part of what they are doing there. I am also becoming more involved with Best Friends Animal Society. I have a dog of my own and I am very passionate about animal rights.
We’re told you’re a big music lover. What are you listening to currently and who are some of your favorites?
Oh my goodness. I am obsessed with music. I am always discovering different tunes but Aquilo, who I recently became friends with, have this song “Human” that is perfect for The 5th Wave. All Wavers should check them out and this song. So perfect. Also one of my best friends, Ava Koci, she is like a young Mariah Carey. Incredible pipes on that one. I am in love with her songs- I can sing along to all of her songs. Check out her sound cloud!
What other projects do you have in the works and what can you tell us about them?
I have some exciting things happening but can not quite talk about them just yet. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @gabrielajlopez to see what is coming next!