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Sofía Vergara attends the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 10, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.© Getty Images

Sofia Vergara opens up about difficult on-set experience that left her thinking she was 'going to die'

The star is now back once again to her role as a judge on America's Got Talent season 19

Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
May 30, 2024
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Sofia Vergara is willing to go all in for a role, but revealed in a new interview that it can sometimes be difficult to get out of the character's headspace.

The actress, 51, joined Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Anna Sawai, Jodie Foster, and Brie Larson for a new edition of The Hollywood Reporter's Roundtable, with the TV stars opening up about their respective experiences in the industry.

Sofia spoke candidly about transitioning from the humor of Modern Family to the grit and character-driven transformation of the Netflix series Griselda.

The miniseries debuted in January to positive reviews, with the leading star herself receiving critical acclaim for her dramatic and edgy turn as the Colombian drug lord.

However, she explained in her interview how it was difficult to combat bringing "the rage home" from set and to keep her character's more incendiary emotions at bay, sometimes with the help of actual medication.

She credited Jennifer's own acting coach Nancy Banks for helping her prepare for the role while admitting: "I've only done Modern Family, really, so I didn't know what I was walking into." 

Sofia Vergara as Griselda in Griselda© Netflix
Sofia transformed for her turn as Griselda Blanco in the Netflix miniseries

"And when I arrived, I realized this is different, and it's hard when you have to cry and kill and choke and snort cocaine and drink alcohol. And I'd never in my life touched a cigarette. Never." 

MORE: Celebrity mothers who have said they're 'one and done': From Sofia Vergara to Katie Holmes

She continued: "I had to learn, and to learn at 50 years old to smoke and you're going to be in every single scene smoking. OK. The first three weeks, I'd go home and I didn't know what was wrong with me."

sofia vergara in pattern jumpsuit for agt red carpet © Getty Images
"I've only done Modern Family, really, so I didn't know what I was walking into."

Sofia set more of the scene for her troubles, describing being unable to properly fall asleep once home from set, finding it difficult to fully rest and recover before the next day of filming. "I couldn't fall asleep." 

MORE: Sofia Vergara reveals hopes of becoming a grandmother as she gets candid on not wanting more kids

"I decided to take Xanax because I had to wake up the next day to go again. It was either I start sleeping or I'm going to die. I was talking to Nancy, too. I was like, 'Nancy, I don't know if I'm going to survive this.' She's like, 'You're an actor now.'"

Griselda Blanco pose for a 1985 mugshot© Orange County Sheriff's Department
For her portrayal of the real life Colombian drug lord, Sofia received critical acclaim

Jennifer shared some more insight herself into Nancy's methods as an acting coach, adding: "It's so interesting because the way she works is that you're unlocking some stuff that you've very wonderfully been [pushing] down into the depths of your body."

MORE: Sofia Vergara reveals the real reason she didn't have children with ex Joe Manganiello

Sofia continued to explain how she found herself much more comfortable within the comedic sphere, like her award-winning Modern Family turn, adding: "And I come from Colombia, I've had a lot of crazy stories, it's why I knew I could do Griselda, but those were the things that my whole life, to keep my sanity, [I buried.]" 

Sofia Vergara arrives at the "America's Got Talent" Season 19 Red Carpet © Getty Images
"I was talking to Nancy, too. I was like, 'Nancy, I don't know if I'm going to survive this.' She's like, 'You're an actor now.'"

"Then here comes this woman who tells me, 'OK, bring it out,'" she added, referring then to the other women in the room who have built their careers doing hefty dramas. "I don't know how you guys do it all the time, those dramas. Comedy is so much nicer."

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