For years one of the recurring jokes at the Goya ceremonies was that all Spanish films they had Antonio de la Torre in their cast. The actor lived a plethoric moment and chained premiere after premiere. But he also knew how to stop. Take some distance and air and spend some time thinking about what the next step would be. You can afford it one of the best and more versatile actors that Spanish cinema has.
Now, after two years away, also caused by the pandemic, he returns to the cinema with Between Life and Death, a thriller by Giordano Gederlini that opens this Thursday. A film shot in Belgium that has made him learn French and some rough and dry action choreographies. A project that brings him closer to the thriller again, although with new challenges for his career. He also has La contadora depeliculas in his portfolio, the new Lone Scherfig with a script by Walter Salles, and he will be in the next project by David Martín de los Santos after falling in love with La vida era eso. The actor has returned as always, like a whirlwind of energy and desire that is contagious.
How do you get to a film shot in French and in Belgium?
They basically send me the script and tell me it's in French. I saw that it was a thriller and there was a part of me that said, dammit, another thriller… I had my doubts, there were things that didn't convince me, do another thriller again… I was in San Sebastián shooting The Invisible Line and they came to see me the producer and director, Giordano Gederlini, who speaks Spanish, because he is of Chilean origin, and he sat down with me and I saw that he could turn the tables. I thought, how cool to do a movie in French without knowing how to speak French.
You didn't know any French?
No way! Bonjour, bonsoir…
and here goes
I think that ça va did not even know how to say it. But I saw an enthusiasm, a lot of desire and they took great care of me in all aspects. So I cheered up. I was in a phase… she was going to say in a period of reflection, but I look like Yolanda Díaz (laughs), but I was in a phase of stopping the car, thinking about what you are doing. But I said, look, you go to Brussels and do it in French. We were going to shoot in March and April 2020, which I don't know if it sounds like there was a pandemic, and then it resumed, but there, like all humanity, I thought that the same thing would end the cinema.
How was learning French?
Well, I had a coach and I went there and did total immersion. I was going to run listening to the RFI, I got swollen from watching French cinema... which is curious, but I watch movies when I work, at home I only watch children's movies. But I have been very happy.
Does the thriller actor label weigh?
All labels end up weighing. There is a part that says, this is what I don't want, but in this case the new elements weighed more.
We have gone from seeing him in four films a year to being two years without any film being released, has there been a voluntary strike, has it been the pandemic?
Both. I think that after The Kingdom I had a kind of epiphany, which sounds like big words, but it was a moment of the end of the cycle.
Was it saturated?
A mixture of everything, I told myself that this could not be it. It's that you enter a film conference, nominations... and this was either stopped by someone or I stopped it, I don't know how to explain it to you.
What was the requirement to roll again?
Let's see, the headline is not that I decided to retire, because I have never retired, that seems imprudent to me. When I see artists saying they're retiring I think, who the hell cares? We are not so important, neither when we are nor when we retire.
Are you afraid to stop?
It's scary when you look at the bank account. Luckily, I have a flat in Seville, my children go to a public school, I don't have a car... let's see, I'm not Pepe Mujica either, I like the chevrolet just like you do, but I'm at an age that doesn't I'm so scared... when I was starting I did think about what my life would be like, but I'm not so young or old anymore, and I think that unless the world changes I'm going to keep getting jobs.
This year there has been a fear that independent cinema, in which you usually act, will disappear due to the new Audiovisual Law. How have you experienced all this discussion?
This is like everything, all debates are polyhedral. Platforms are fine as long as no exploits occur. More than one coach has told me 'I can't wait for the series bubble to burst'. I've heard that in the heat of a shoot. But on the other hand a lot of people are working and the work is welcome. The dark side is whether this is going to be the market now. I would tell you that, for me, in an ideal world, that there be an explosion of audiovisuals and that we maintain auteur cinema with State policies, as France does, and that we do not change that 'a' for that 'said' (in reference to the controversial change in the Audiovisual Law). Let's bet on the Alcarràs, on the Manuel Martín Cuenca, on films in Basque, in Galician...
The other day she appeared in a video at the presentation of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz's platform, she has never been afraid to position herself politically.
It's always scary, I'm not going to beat myself in the chest now. It's just that there are so many battles to be waged, so many things to say, that it would seem immodest for him to hit me in the chest. There are always things on which you do not position yourself. I appreciate that you tell me that I position myself, but I always think that I could do more, but it is true that I think that right now I am not too afraid.
You mentioned The Realm before, and just about everyone these days is talking about the movie's resemblance to real life. When he did it, was she aware that everything they were telling was so real?
There is a paradox that Ferreras and Ana Pastor helped us with The Kingdom, so it is a sensitive issue for me to speak out, it would be easier to do so on the Cospedal audios. On the one hand I have affection and recognition for them, but it is true that I believe that journalism should reflect. The subscription media are getting, more or less, a certain independence. But in general, all media have a bondage. The audiovisual media, perhaps because of television or radio, have entered into a dynamic of the show. And that is where my criticism of that dynamic would enter. Eduardo Inda did not verify the information and is a garbage machine. Juan Torres, who is a friend of mine, the economist, left a set because Inda was provoking and couldn't take it anymore. I'm not saying that you have to leave, that's another debate, but what I want to say, and I've been thinking about this for years, because I'm a journalist although I dedicate myself to being an actor, and I dare to give an opinion, is that information enters a lot into gossip . Today's journalism is aware of conspiracies, of power struggles, of whether Podemos swallows the United Left, and sometimes they do not even find out about a law that has been approved for months. It is a Shakespearean journalism instead of talking about things that matter to people, about laws that matter.
The journalistic vein comes out.
Yes. In fact, they show me the movies inspired by real events
Haven't you considered writing or directing?
It's just that it's a move to put on a movie. It is easier to be an actor, with the work that he also has, which is not just shooting, it is all the preparation, which I prepare for months. Now with young children it is unthinkable to me, perhaps later... it is ugly to say it, but I think I would be good at directing actors. Perhaps to place the camera I could associate myself with someone, but it would take time that I don't have right now.