“The Big Wedding” has more than a collection of prominent actors -- it has Latino flavor.
Colombian-American actress Patricia Rae, who starred in “Maria Full of Grace," an Oscar-nominated HBO film, plays the conservative birth mother of a groom whose adoptive parents (played by Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton) are divorced but pretend to be blissfully married for the sake of Rae's character.
“It was such an amazing pleasure and opportunity for me to be able to work on a project with so many icons," Rae said to Fox News Latino."Everyone was so gracious and really lovely."
Representing Latinos makes Rae incredibly proud, but playing a Colombian particularly pleases her.
Rae's character, Madonna Soto, in the movie, which opens April 4, was initially going to be Ecuadorian. But when director Justin Zackham realized that both Rae and Ana Ayora, the actress playing her daughter, have Colombian ancestry, he decided to ditch his original plan and have their characters be Colombian.
“Colombia is very modern, and very metropolitan. It allowed my character to be a little bit fresher.”
Playing a Latina who doesn’t speak English in an American movie can be challenging, but Rae nailed it.
“I am American, but my character, Maddona, doesn’t even understand a word in English, so I provided all the comic misunderstandings that go along with the language barrier part of the movie," she said. "It was very hard but also a lot of fun."
Rae has been working in the industry for over 20 years.
After starring in many movies, commercials, and series like “The Mentalist," “Miami Vice," and “Touch," her role in “The Big Wedding” adds to a growing list of accomplishments that illustrate how Hispanic actresses have gained greater respect in Hollywood and are now playing many different roles.
“I can’t tell you how many times I have played a prostitute," she said. "But now Latinos play characters that are doctors, second-generation voices, professors, as well as detectives and complex criminals. The industry is giving us many more opportunities."
Sharing the screen with De Niro and Keaton shows how far Rae has made it.
"They are humble and amazing people," Rae said of the movie legends. "Keaton kept telling me how funny I was and how she really thought I was going to be great in the movie, and that just made me feel comfortable and proud."
"And De Niro was just so generous all the time," she said. "He is much more private and quiet than anyone else, but he gave everybody gifts and offered many dinners for the cast."
Rae's talents and interests are not limited to movie-making.
She has just finished working on her first book.
Titled “How to Make in the Middle," it is a memoir that tells the story of her struggles to become an actress and to be able to support herself.
“I really want to tell Latinos that if you work hard and are persistent you can accomplish whatever you want," Rae said. "You have to go out there and fight for it, but everything is possible."