While many foreign actors are flocking to American TV, Angélica Celaya did just the opposite. "I crossed over to Mexico to study acting," the 32-year-old Tucson native says with a laugh. Though she now plays the strong-willed psychic Zed on the new supernatural thriller Constantine, Celaya spent more than 10 years starring "as strong Mexican women" in Spanish-language telenovelas and sci-fi series. "I embraced my roots, but it was time to come home."
Celaya impressed the Constantine producers so much that they gave Zed (who was a Brit in the Hellblazer comic books that inspired the series) a Latina background. Like everyone on the show, Zed came to Atlanta with a secret, and it's not just her turbulent visions of the future and that she can learn the truth about people simply by touching them. "She's a survivor who's run away from a chaotic family situation, which she finds too hard to talk about," Celaya says. But she's happy to have found a new clan with the occult specialist John Constantine (Matt Ryan), his longtime pal Chas (Charles Halford), and their angelic ally Manny (Harold Perrineau). No matter that it involves fighting monsters.
This week's foe is particularly dangerous and unpleasant: a hunger demon. "It's a grotesque creature that causes those it possesses to eat themselves to death," the actress reveals, "and will affect John in a very personal way" — and he'll have to decide what, or even whom, he will sacrifice to win this battle.
It's no coincidence that another Hellblazer character, Gary Lester (Jonjo O'Neill), arrives in town at the same time. John's troubled former friend had been involved in the horrifically botched exorcism in Newcastle, England. "He knows what John is fearful of, and he's very free with that information to Zed," Celaya teases.
All she has to do is hold his hand to discover if he's being honest.
Constantine airs Fridays at 10/9c on NBC.