Chemistry Beyond the Script: Dolores Fonzi and Maria Valverde on FEVER DREAM

Fever Dream, out now on Netflix, feels very much like its namesake. It is an emotional puzzle, a maze into motherhood, friendship, and the horrors that can come from both. Much of the film is anchored in the performances of its two lead actors, Dolores Fonzi as Carola, and Maria Valverde as Amanda. We had the opportunity to speak to both before the film’s release. 

Fonzi was a fan of the book before getting the role, “ I read the novel before the script and I was amazed by the story and everything. I read it in an afternoon and it was like whoa!” Three months later she received a call from Claudia Llosa, the director of the film, and things took off from there. “I was very lucky to be called to this movie with Maria and with Samatha Schweblin writing the script with the director.”

FEVER DREAM María Valverde as Amanda in FEVER DREAM. Cr. Diego Araya/NETFLIX ©2021

An Invisible Character

Throughout the film, there are constant voice overs that work as a character themselves. “That was the most complicated part because when you start the movie, you don’t really have to know what (this) is, (where) this voice came from.” says Maria Valverde. She explains that the viewer has to create a path in their mind, but by the end, the viewer understands everything. Llosa wanted the film to have an atmosphere of not knowing. “Sometimes my accent goes to another accent and it plays with so many details that you really pay attention to it when you are listening to it. It was the skeleton of the story.” Valverde says. While filming, the voiceover was delivered on set so that the actors could have the correct timing, tempo, and rhythm of a scene. “It was such an amazing experience, having the opportunity to have these two kinds of characters and to have this experience of having the voiceover, to create this whole world with it, and then having the characters on scene.”

FEVER DREAM (L to R) Dolores Fonzi as Carola and María Valverde as Amanda in FEVER DREAM. Cr. Diego Araya/NETFLIX ©2021

Creating Chemistry That Sizzles

Fonzi and Valverde’s chemistry is electric on screen. The two circle around one another in an almost dance, feeding off each other’s performances. Developing that chemistry was extremely necessary to Fonzi, “I feel it’s very important for me, for the creative process, to have a good relationship with my partner. In this case, it was a need.” The allure of their relationship grows deeper and deeper as the film continues, “We knew that it was a fundamental thing between us.”

FEVER DREAM (L to R) Guillermina Sorribes Liotta as Nina and María Valverde as Amanda in FEVER DREAM. Cr. Diego Araya/NETFLIX ©2021

Working With Child Actors

Besides sharing the screen with Fonzi, Valverde creates a nuanced vulnerability in her interactions with the two child actors that showcases her strengths as an actor. “It is a very important moment. Working with kids is not easy, but they were so amazing, they were so into the movie!”  With the help of Maria Laura, the children’s coach, the team was able to create an atmosphere for them that was safe, creative, and free. “Emilio (who plays David in the film) is an actor, he knows exactly what to do and how to do it and to play with emotions. I was so impressed watching him like working. I was very inspired about him.”

Find out more about Fever Dream on  Netflix

Check out our Q&A with Fever Dream writers Claudia Llosa and Samanta Schweblin!

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