You might see a familiar face in this year’s summer blockbusters. Dallas resident Giovannie Cruz landed supporting roles in two back-to-back Warner Brothers films this summer, The suicide squad and Reminiscence. And while these may be flashing parts, the Cruz star is on the rise, a 32-year trip in the works.
Cruz was born on a military base in Germany to Puerto Rican parents, but moved to Killeen when she was very young. She grew up in Fort Hood and Cruz remembers Killeen as a “diverse city in the middle of nowhere”. Although Cruz grew up surrounded by a variety of people from various parts of the world, there wasn’t much to do on the weekends other than going to high school football games and the movies. Cruz usually opted for the latter, and if not in the theater, renting movies from Blockbuster was one of his favorite pastimes.
âI just watched a lot of movies growing up as a form of escape and travel,â says Cruz. And because we were so poor, we never left the state of Texas, not even to visit family, until I was 14 or 15. ”
As a child, Cruz was a “cranky emo kid,” who idolized characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Wednesday Addams. While most teenage girls fantasized about their weddings, Cruz often imagined his funeral.
“I remember being in the aisle just lying down with my hands crossed over my heart”, Cruz remembers, “My mother and my brother, they came out and said to themselves’ What are you doing? ‘ And I was like, ‘I’m playing dead.’ “
“I was joking that my singing was paying for my acting habits.” – Giovannie Cruz
For music, Cruz turned to artists like Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliott and Alanis Morissette, the Little jagged pill one of the first albums that Cruz remembers having owned.
“I was this little fifth grader who sang at the top of his lungs on ‘You Oughta Know'”, Cruz remembers. âI had no idea what the song was really about. I just knew she was pissed off and I loved her for it.
Her love of music continued into her adult years, when she attended the University of North Texas and studied opera and early music. She acclimated well to Denton’s music scene and befriended local jazz musicians.
She joined a cover band immediately after college. During the week, she would travel to New Orleans, Austin, San Antonio or wherever she needed to be for live auditions.
“I was joking when I said that my singing was paying for my acting habits,” said Cruz.
Eventually, she switched to auditioning only via auto-cassettes, as she was tired of driving hours to different cities for auditions. For The suicide squad and Reminiscence, she locked both films without ever setting foot in a physical audition room.
In Reminiscence, Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) uses a machine to observe people’s memories in an attempt to track down Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), a woman he falls in love with after a chance encounter. Cruz shot several scenes with Ferguson before they were finally shortened.
âMy character was originally a close friend of Rebecca Ferguson,â says Cruz. “And so that when she disappears and Hugh Jackman starts looking for her, I’m the one who goes to Hugh Jackman and says, ‘You know, I don’t think that’s the person you think she is. âAnd that basically puts him on the path to trying to figure out who Mae is and why she did what she did.
In the future, Cruz hopes for a more Latin and Hispanic representation in cinema and television. While she praises big streamers for presenting diverse stories, she wants more representation on prime-time networks.
Next year, she plans to represent Dallas and Texas in general in the next Iver Jallah film. Blood orange moon, shot and produced primarily in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“I was [Jallahâs] prominent lady Blood orange moon, said Cruz. âI’m really looking forward to this one because it’s homegrown. He just has that Coen Brothers-esque feel, where he doesn’t take himself seriously at all. It’s just an awesome, funny, silly horror movie. I can’t wait to see what comes out. ”