The First Omen Star Maria Caballero on Bringing Her Complex Character to Life

The star of the prequel recalls her passion for her character, favorite day on set, and more.

Having starred in a number of smaller-scale productions throughout her career, actor Maria Caballero made her debut in a major international release by starring in The First Omen as Luz. Not only was the project backed by 20th Century Studios, but it's also a prequel in The Omen franchise, an iconic string of horror films that set the standard for what can be accomplished in religious-themed terror. Despite its place in cinematic history, Caballero didn't let those pressures get to her, as she knew The First Omen was an entirely singular beast. The First Omen hits Digital on May 28th, Hulu on May 30th, and Blu-ray and DVD on July 30th.

The First Omen is described, "In this psychological horror prequel to the classic Omen films, a young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church. Soon, she encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith, and that reveals a terrifying conspiracy to bring about the birth of evil incarnate. The First Omen stars Nell Tiger Free (Servant), Tawfeek Barhom (Mary Magdalene), Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ralph Ineson (The Northman), and Bill Nighy (Living). The film is directed by Arkasha Stevenson based on characters created by David Seltzer (The Omen), with a story by Ben Jacoby (Bleed) and a screenplay by Tim Smith & Arkasha Stevenson, and Keith Thomas (Firestarter)."

Certified-Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, The First Omen comes with never-before-seen bonus extras on the May 28th Digital release and also on the Blu-ray/DVD release arriving July 30th. Limited-edition Blu-ray and DVD packages include collectible artwork and special edition packaging designed to celebrate the legacy of The Omen franchise. 

ComicBook caught up with Caballero to talk joining the franchise, the complexities of her character, and more.


Maria Cabellero in The First Omen.

- 20th Century Studios)

ComicBook: When you got this role of Luz, was that inspiration to go back and revisit the whole Omen franchise to inform your performance? Or did you just stick with the script and ignore anything else that might've happened in the series?

Maria Caballero: I revisited the original a few times, but not the other ones. Not the ones that go after because I didn't want to be influenced in that way. I just wanted to know the atmosphere, the world I was stepping into, but not more. It's just like knowing where to stop in that sense. 

Luz is an interesting character, we learn some interesting things about her the further into the story that we get. What do you feel you brought to Luz that maybe wasn't initially there in the script that came about through collaborating with the director? And the other end of that, once the film wrapped, what do you feel you took away from playing Luz?

I think, for Luz, I gave a complexity with the masks that she has. And I think I tried to give her a background of a really, really dark background, which, for me, was really important for her to be the survivor and the warrior she is. She's trying to belong somewhere. She's trying to be protected and to be seen and to be loved in such a powerful way that, for me, that comes from trauma. That comes from a really difficult background, as I said. And I try to bring that into Luz and I think it's there. 

And Luz gave me lots of things, but one of, I guess the main thing for me, is the security she has in herself and the way she protects herself and her goals. Nothing stands in her way. And that, in the good side of that concept, for me, it's really useful. 

When you got this project, it's a huge international production in this iconic franchise. It's from 20th Century Studios, this major production house. Other than the language barrier of the international cast, did this project feel much different from some of the other projects you've been part of? Or, at the end of the day, is it still just a cast and a crew all trying to tell a story?

It felt really different. It felt like I was stepping into a whole different, I don't want to say level, because it's not about level, but it's like a whole different universe because there's much more pressure, I guess, in a way. It shouldn't be like that, because I also feel I work the same, I try to work at the same level, even if I'm doing a French movie. 

But it is true that you feel the pressure and the weight. So yeah, you have to really work on your confidence and your self-value and your self-worth to be able to be free and really, really experience what life brought you, which was a gift. It felt like I was stepping into a whole different ground, but I always felt ready for it. That's also true. 

Looking back at the experience, do you have a particular favorite day on set? Whether it be going out and doing the nightclub scenes, which is clearly a lot more fun, as opposed to the more intense ceremonial scenes, did you have a favorite day on set?

I have many different days, I would say. All of the days were amazing for me, but the day I married Jesus, for me, it was the most special day ever. Just being in this amazing dress, being married by Bill [Nighy], having that change from white to black, what it means to her being in this beautiful church. I also don't know if I'm ever going to be married. So, for me, as Maria, was like, "This is my actual wedding forever." No, but it was very beautiful ... And also, that was the last day of shooting.

WARNING: Mild spoilers below for The First Omen

Regardless of official sequel plans, what do you think happened to Luz after this movie? Do you think her karma caught up with her? Do you think she was punished for some of the things she did or do you think she's just slowly climbing the ranks of things going on at the church?

I think she's climbing the ladder of power. I think she has every ingredient to be at the top and she will get there eventually. What goes into her mind in terms of regret and guilt and all these things, we all go through that. She has that, of course. She's not a monster. But as I said, I think she's been so traumatized in the past that she doesn't feel it anymore. So she's going to be at the top. 

The First Omen hits Digital on May 28th, Hulu on May 30th, and Blu-ray and DVD on July 30th.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.