Jamie Lee Curtis assumed Ana de Armas 'had just arrived' from Cuba. Big mistake.

·4 min read
Two women, one younger and one older, hold microphones and laugh onstage
Ana de Armas, left, and Jamie Lee Curtis, seen at CinemaCon 2019 in Las Vegas, got to know each other better while filming "Knives Out." (Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

Note to Jamie Lee Curtis: Never publicly admit something boneheaded you once thought, before you learned otherwise. Because people on social media won't hesitate to call you out.

The actor, who co-starred in "Knives Out" with "The Gray Man" star Ana de Armas, just shared with Elle that she thought De Armas was newly arrived in Hollywood when the two started working together on the hit 2019 whodunit.

“I assumed — and I say this with real embarrassment — because she had come from Cuba, that she had just arrived," Curtis told the magazine. "I made an assumption that she was an inexperienced, unsophisticated young woman."

Curtis said that the first day they worked together, "I was like, ‘Oh, what are your dreams?’” The 63-year-old said she asked that because she was impressed with De Armas and wanted to introduce her to Hollywood friends, including Steven Spielberg and godchildren Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal.

But the Cuban actor had already done "War Dogs," "Blade Runner 2049" and more before landing her breakout role in "Knives Out." She already knew Jake Gyllenhaal, Curtis' godson. Keanu Reeves as well, apparently. No word on whether there's a Spielberg connection. She'd been working in Spain for years after growing up in Cuba.

It wasn't until after "Knives Out" came out, however, that De Armas got involved with her "Deep Water" co-star Ben Affleck and got to experience what it feels like to be stalked by paparazzi in a city — Los Angeles — that kept her "anxious." (We would be anxious too if one day we found ourselves in Batman's trash bin.)

“Going through [the paparazzi routine] confirmed my thoughts about, ‘This is not the place for me to be,’” she told Elle. “It became a little bit too much. There’s no escape. There’s no way out.” She reportedly pulled the rip cord on that relationship early in 2021 and traded her seven years in L.A. for a new home in New York, as well as a new boyfriend.

So much for being a Hollywood neophyte.

Some people on social media jumped on Curtis' comments with reactions that were all over the map. Some cried racism while others pegged the actor as an example of Hollywood hypocrisy.

"Even if she had just come from Cuba- I assume Jamie Lee Curtis is the one without the sophistication to know how deeply rich & sophisticated Cuban culture is," Twitter user @StorytellAre said.

"Jamie Lee Curtis assumed Ana de Armas was 'unsophisticated' because she’s a young latina immigrant," @alix_iconic tweeted. "It’s this type of attitude/thinking that leads to Hispanic women being the most underpaid demographic in the US."

"JamieLee is not exactly the brightest bulb in the pack..never has been. Typical Hollyweird elite..looking down on others. #Hypocrite #Bigot," @PamT817716 tweeted.

"No one is calling JLC a monster," @Lucianowrites explained. "We're rightfully complaining about the racism that many of us have personally experienced, which she embodied when she assumed that Ana De Armas was an unsophisticated newcomer despite the fact that ADA is a consummate talented professional."

Meanwhile, actor and the Outlaw Nation pundit John Rocha shared his thoughts: "#JamieLeeCurtis is the sweetest, warmest person I've ever interviewed. BUT Hollywood LIBERALS, sadly, are not immune to AMERICAN beliefs that Latin immigrants are uncultured. To her credit, Jamie owns it and #AnaDeArmas handles it with class, but it's still a gut punch."

Now the two women are friends, according to Elle, and Curtis has a very different opinion of De Armas, who in addition to acting has a contract to do ads for Estée Lauder cosmetics. De Armas is "not as fancy" as the advertisements suggest, Curtis said.

“[T]alking to her is kind of give-and-take," Curtis said. "She’s curious and asks a lot of questions."

De Armas can be seen now in Netflix's "The Gray Man," starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, in which The Times' film critic Justin Chang says that she is "basically extending her 'No Time to Die' cameo."

To see De Armas in a starring role, fans will have to wait until the currently NC-17-rated "Blonde," in which she plays Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe, comes out later this year.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.