Selena Gomez Says Spanish-Language Musical ‘Emilia Perez’ Is ‘One of the Most Challenging Things’ She’s Done

The actress and musician teases her costarring role with Zoe Saldaña, saying making the movie “felt really cathartic”

Selena Gomez (Getty Images)
Getty Images

Selena Gomez has remained pretty mum about her upcoming Spanish-language movie musical, “Emilia Perez,” but interviewing on the “Smartless” podcast Monday, the “Only Murders in the Building” Emmy nominee shared that she had her work cut out for her.

Costarring with Zoe Saldaña in the feature from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard, Gomez said her role was one of the toughest she’s had in her acting career.

“I just finished this movie, this Jacques Audiard film, and it’s all in Spanish, and it’s a musical. It was one of the most challenging things that I’d done,” Gomez said on the podcast, speaking with hosts Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes.

She added that the comedic project, which follows a Mexican cartel boss who undergoes a sex reassignment surgery to flee from the law and live authentically as a trans woman, is meant to “come out next year.” Argentinian actress Karla Sofia Gascón and Edgar Ramírez also star.

To hear Gomez tell it, she found herself pulling on emotions and experiences from her own life to film the project in ways that excited her and felt “cathartic.” Without offering spoilers of the plot, Gomez reflected on one particular scene that had her revisiting the first time she voluntarily checked herself into rehab in 2014 — a stint that, per a 2021 Vogue profile of the star, came about when she was “burned out and depressed” in the aftermath of being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus.

“I’m excited for that because, for example, there’s this scene where I’m being left — I’m not giving anything away. And I remember I channeled the moment when I had to go to rehab for the first time, and leaving,” Gomez said. “I remember I told my costar that’s what I was feeling in the moment, and I just felt like it was getting that out when I remembered that first moment and being terrified. So it felt really cathartic.”

She continued: “I feel like I have these moments in my life that have happened and I’m able to use that and it actually feels great. It feels like after a good cry or something. It’s a good feeling.”

Previously posting about the project, which required Gomez to live in Paris for the two months of production, she wrote that it “changed my life.”

Considering the movie, which wrapped filming last year, also presumably has Gomez utilizing her musical chops, Hayes then asked if she ever considered performing in a Broadway musical.

“I haven’t. I think I would like to, I’m not sure I’m there yet because I think I’d still be a little nervous,” Gomez replied.

She explained that such a task would be “different” than performing for fans at a concert. “I love when I’m doing my concert because it’s like, ‘Oh, these are my peeps,’ and then you feel comfortable,” she concluded.

Listen to the full “Smartless” podcast episode here.

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