America Ferrera hits the big screen | EW.com

Movies

America Ferrera hits the big screen

The ''Ugly Betty'' star talks a bout ''Our Family Wedding'' and leaving the braces behind her

For the record, America Ferrera saw it coming. In January, after jostling Ugly Betty in and out of various time slots this season, ABC announced that the series would end its four-year run on April 14. ”It was hard for people to find us and to know where we were,” says Ferrera, 25. ”I don’t think [the cancellation] was the most surprising thing. It’s of course sad to say goodbye to something that’s been so big in my life, and there will always be such wonderful memories. Hopefully there are many, many other memories to come too.”

Maybe as soon as this month, which finds the Emmy-winning actress starring in two new movies. She voices a teenage Viking in the 3-D animated film How to Train Your Dragon (in theaters March 26), and in the March 12 comedy Our Family Wedding, she plays a young law student-turned-teacher named Lucia who struggles with the culture clash between her dad (Carlos Mencia) and her African-American fiancé’s father (Forest Whitaker). Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Guess Who. ”I was really attracted to the character of Lucia — she seemed like a woman of my generation,” Ferrera says. ”Lucia is actually the least concerned with [the wedding], and more concerned with getting on with her life.”

Ditto for Ferrera, who, like the unabashed optimist she’s played on the small screen for the past four years, is not fretting about her future. ”I have no crystal ball,” notes the actress, who says she’d be happy on TV or in movies. ”If I learned anything from Betty coming into my life, it’s to just be open to all the things that come along.”

And while she understands that most people know her as the tinsel-toothed aspiring magazine writer with a penchant for mismatched patterns, she’s not worried about being pigeonholed. ”I already got to branch out,” says Ferrera, who first broke out in the acclaimed 2002 indie Real Women Have Curves. ”The roles I play in these two films coming out this month are completely different from Betty.”

And Ferrera’s been expanding her role behind the scenes as well. She’s produced a handful of projects, like 2008’s Towards Darkness and this year’s Sundance Iraq-war film The Dry Land, both of which she also starred in. And no matter how hard it will be to bid the Betty experience farewell, there’s at least one thing she’s only too happy to put behind her: ”I’m not going to miss wearing the braces very much.”