Rosie Perez Talks Apple TV+’s ‘Now & Then’ & Playing an Unapologetic Woman

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Rosie Perez is an unapologetic woman who has been a mainstay in our communities ever since White Men Can’t Jump. And even though she’s been acting nonstop for years, it’s lately that she’s really been getting into her stride as an actor. Basically, all eyes are on Perez and it’s exactly what she deserves after years of tireless work; with her most recent roles being in The Flight Attendant on HBO Max and her newest series Now & Then.

This bilingual series, available on Apple TV+, tells the twisted story of a group of teens who get caught up in a situation that changes their lives forever. And the bond they share is the only thing that saved them, even when Detective Flora Neruda came around asking questions. Twenty years later and someone with intimate knowledge of the night in question pulls them back into this nightmare. And investigating it all is Neruda, played by Rosie Perez.

When Remezcla spoke to Perez she was quick to say how unapologetic this woman is and how a life full of pain and hurt has led her on a hunt for the truth. “I think what makes her the character, the woman that she is, is a lot of pain and hurt and determination. She doesn’t have any family left.”

That led Neruda to join the Police Department because she was “hell-bent on making sure justice is implicated and served because of that pain. And even years later, she never really dealt with it. She’s more mature, she’s wiser, she’s much more confident, but it’s still underneath it all. And that’s a real drive.”

Another really interesting part of Now & Then is that even twenty years ago and now, Neruda is played by Perez. There’s no younger version of her played by another actor. There’s just her, time, and a woman who is “not well.” And when it came down to it, Perez was the one who asked to not wear makeup for the second half of Now & Then.

“I said, I’m playing a character, and I want it to be as authentic as possible. And this woman is not well physically,” Perez explained, “She’s so driven [and makeup] it’s not important to her. And the makeup department [for Now & Then] was fantastic about it, and they actually gave me even more dark circles, more shadows. And so I’m not afraid of it at all.”

In a Hollywood where ageism is ripe, this is the kind of support that we want to see. Support that uplifts actors and makes them feel welcome no matter what set they’re on. And that’s what Perez has on Now & Then. That’s not to say she doesn’t have her vanity though according to her. “I mean, I do have my vanity. I am a Latina. But when it comes to my work, the characters that I play are the characters that I play, and I want to bring as much realism to it as possible. I’m not ashamed of my age. I feel great about my age.”

That does mean that we’re seeing a shift in Hollywood that empowers women like Rosie Perez to be who they want to be and play the characters they’ve always wanted to. And that’s something we can get behind.

Now & Then episodes 1-3 are available on Apple TV+.