Born in Argentina, Victoria Alonso moved to the United States at the age of nineteen to try her luck as an actress, but she also earned a degree in psychology and discovered her passion for audiovisual production. We had the chance to interview Victoria, who is President of Production at Marvel Studios and one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Despite her lofty position, she remains humble and continues to live by her motto: “Without teamwork success would be impossible.” She spoke of her work at Marvel, her ideals, and her family life.
How did you first get involved with Marvel?
I’d spent eight years producing foreign films and traveling to places like Australia, Canada, and various parts of Europe. I didn’t want to travel anymore and I decided to accept any project being filmed in Los Angeles. I worked at Sony for a while and, during production on a movie, I met Louis D’Esposito (Co-President of Marvel Studios). When we finished the job, he hired me for a project that was going to be shot in Los Angeles. I accepted on the spot, without even asking what it was about. When I got to his office, he asked if I wanted to meet the director. I walked into a conference room and there was Jon Favreau. The movie was “Iron Man.” And that was my first involvement with Marvel.
Was there an instant connection between you?
Louis, Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios), and I quickly realized that we worked together very well. At times it seems we know what the others are thinking. When we finished filming “Iron Man,” Kevin asked me to join the studio team. I thanked him and accepted, as long as he let me produce the films that interested me the most. We share the whole process: Kevin dreams the films up and Louis and I make them happen.
A while back you said that “diversity and inclusion are not just a political game for us.” Could you expand on that idea?
I was waving the flag for diversity and inclusion long before everyone was talking about these ideas. The good news is that people listen now; there’s dialogue and communication and this is fantastic.
Equality and inclusion are not just a political game for us; we don’t do it because it’s “fashionable.” Our kind of global success is impossible if our films don’t appeal to everyone in the world. It’s a real responsibility to speak to and for those who watch our films, to allow them to dream and see themselves represented. Gender equality is essential for us in all arenas, because it changes and expands our stories and our points of view. The important thing is progress, not perfection, and to make sure everyone feels represented. For example, we introduced the boy from Pakistan, the person with impaired hearing and speech, and Salma Hayek’s Latina character in “Eternals.” We also introduced the boy with two dads, who sees one of them as a superhero. Today, it is our responsibility to make sure everyone is represented.
Our interview is interrupted by a cell phone ringing, and Victoria, known for her warmth and grace, apologizes and explains that her daughter’s phone is connected to hers. Victoria is married to actress Imelda Corcoran, with whom she shares an eleven-year-old daughter, Olivia.
How do you balance motherhood and your demanding career?
For me, the great gift of the pandemic was the fact that I can be, for example, downstairs working and hear Olivia upstairs playing with her friends, and I know she’s having fun. The fact that I can share moments —like being there when she comes home from school, playing table tennis for fifteen minutes, jumping in the pool together, or walking the dogs with her— I’m very grateful for it. When the pandemic first started and we were working on “Black Widow,” which was the first film we finished from home, Olivia was at all the meetings. She’d finish her online schooling and then sit down with me, and I’d teach her about my job.
She gave me her opinions and made suggestions. If I were asked to find a positive side of the pandemic, it was certainly being able to share all of this with my daughter. But, like all parents, there are good mornings and others that are more hectic. I always try to be as present as possible. And technology helps. For example, it allows me to keep an eye on my daughter as she plays in the pool, a few feet away. When I was spending long hours at the office before the pandemic, I’d miss everything happening at home.
What was it like to film during the pandemic?
By the end of that year, we’d given the entertainment world nine productions, a record for the studio. And we did this despite all the obstacles the pandemic created. We film all over the world and every country and city has its own protocols; there were even times when we had to completely stop production. So completing nine projects was a great achievement, and we did it with most of our staff working from home.
Making movies, like life itself, is about teamwork…
We face each day with enthusiasm and energy. Our people are dedicated to the art of filmmaking…an art made possible through teamwork, which is the most beautiful thing. We are aware that people in Latin America see us, read us, and listen to us, and it’s very important to communicate the fact that we’re a team. It’s like Salma Hayek said when she was given her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: “This star isn’t mine alone; I bring with me all the Latinos in this world.” That’s fundamental to my way of thinking.
Which was your favorite film to produce?
I don’t have a favorite series or film; I get involved with all of them, each has its own angels, its own lessons, and its own wonderful story. For example, while we were filming “Eternals” in Rome, they let us go inside the sacred part of the Colosseum, where very few people have ever been.
That was beyond belief. Every “show” has its own magic. For this reason, I am completely in love with my job. And although the first film I made with Marvel, “Iron Man,” marked a very important moment in the deconstruction of the superhero, each film leaves me with something special. It’s like being the mother of several children; you can never choose one over another. They are different forms of love.
Can you give us a hint of what’s coming next from Marvel?
There’s so much! This year we finished two productions. One of them, the “Hawkeye” series, is a lot of fun. It takes place in New York at Christmastime and deals with important issues like family and feelings of belonging. And there are little surprises; you have to pay close attention to episodes five and six. The performances by Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld are unequaled; they have a very special chemistry. There’s also an important dog representing the canine species. The other production is “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” in which the superhero explores his sense of responsibility and his identity.