August 8, 2020

'Superlopez': a long take-off that has lasted two decades | Culture


It is difficult to find a more Spanish superhero in the name (Juan López), character (ego-clueless), nature (parodic) and appearance (mustache of office worker) that Superlopez. And yet, this comic book character, created in 1973 by the cartoonist Jan and that he knew his best albums with screenwriter Efepé, has not reached the cinema until today. It's been two decades that Superlopez has gone through different creators and producers, until finally the version of Javier Ruiz Caldera, with a script Borja Cobeaga Y Diego San José. They have fulfilled the dream of thousands of Spaniards: make Superlópez fly.

In 1991, a boy who was studying BUP had an epiphany on the way to class, crossing the Castellana in Madrid. "Why not adapt a Spanish comic to the movies with real actors? And why not The longest week, of Superlopez, the first comic I had? ", he thought Nicolás Matji, who sucked the movies at home (he's the son of director and producer). But he had neither age nor money nor experience. The first two things he achieved in 1997, when he finished college. "The idea ran through me again and I jumped." In 1999, Matji took some money that had been given to him for finishing the race, he called Ediciones B and boldly asked for rights. "It was a lot of money for me, although it was not really that much either." He bought a fax to negotiate, he asked his father, Manolo Matji, script professor at the Community of Madrid Film School, if he had any student who could help him in the script (he recommended two: Gorka Magallón and Mariano Baselga) and pulled forward.

They worked for four years on it. "It was a wonderful enjoyment," recalls Magallón. "With the rights and two screenwriters, and after a year and a half in that, I went to Sogecine, then a powerful producer, and we signed a joint development contract," says the producer. "Actually, we were never close to doing it." Because, according to other sources, in Sogecine they were more interested in The great adventure of Mortadelo and Philemon (2003), of Javier Fesser. "Fesser was my first choice as a director. Others? Juanma Bajo Ulloa and Alex de la Iglesia. But Fesser told me he was with his movie. " Magallón describes the script, of which there were more than seven versions: "It started like this: López is an anodyne clerk. One day his mother arrives at his home in Parchelona to tell him that his father has died and that the kid is really an alien who came to Earth in a suit that provides him with superpowers. And it is the mother who wants the son to be a superhero. " Finally, they ended up making their own story, moving away from The longest week "We never think of an actor [Matji sí apunta a Javier Cámara], although we joked that the perfect one was Aznar ".


'Story board' of the arrival of the planet Chitón of a baby with a mustache that breaks a finger to his putative father.enlarge photo
'Story board' of the arrival of the planet Chitón of a baby with a mustache that breaks a finger to his putative father.

For Matji, the attractive thing was "that thief who stole facades, the demonstration against the superhero and that it was López who saved the world and not Superlópez". In that process, a fan of the character asked them to collaborate: Enrique Gato. "He made an impressive animation short. It's funny, I wanted to do it with actors and I ended up as an animation producer with another parodic character created by Gato: Tadeo Jones ".

In November 2003, the dream exploded: Sogecine announced that they would not continue with the project. "With the end of the war between Canal Satélite Digital and Vía Digital the funding in Sogecine is over," says Matji. The producer tries one last desperate maneuver: he asks for help to convince Ediciones B to renew the contract. She is denied and her contact at the publishing house, Blanca Rosa Roca, is dismissed the day before Matji traveled to Barcelona. "Mortadelo and Filemon gave the bell at the box office, "says Matji, and Antonio Asensio, that begins to send in the Grupo Zeta, the company that owns Editions B, short bind rights.

Asensio, president of the Grupo Zeta, recalls: "Paco Ramos, who was at Zeta Audiovisual, promoted the project from that moment. We always knew that Anacleto I would go first, because there was less pressure and we could try things, and Superlopez after. We want to manage our brands as best we can. " Asensio says that only in some cases (Captain Thunder) have ceded rights, because from the Zeta Group did not see clear a version "made with less than ten million euros." Another filmmaker capital in this second stage is Alex de la Iglesia, who wanted to be the filmmaker who made Superlópez fly, and who gathered at a dinner for Asensio and Paolo Vasile, CEO of Telecinco: this is how the chain came into this project. "But," says Asensio, "it's complicated that there are two brands in a movie, and Superlópez and Of the church They are two very powerful. " The aforementioned does not want to talk much about a "very dear project with a very painful end", in which he was for "seven years" and in which he handled the name of two actors: José Mota and Eduardo Gómez He left at the end of 2013.

The illusion of Ruiz Caldera

From Telecinco Cinema, its CEO, Ghislain Barrois, and its CEO, Álvaro Augustin, remember that the negotiation with De la Iglesia "did not come to fruition". And that quickly emerged in 2014 the name of Javier Ruiz Caldera, "who was in the preproduction of Anacleto" De la Iglesia himself says that if he has not been able, "the best option is Javi." Barrois defines him: "Javi manages comedy like nobody else, and takes oil from where there is not, it's the fracking film". Because as the producers tell us: "With what this film costs, they make in Hollywood the initial sequence of one of theirs". According to industry sources, the budget of Superlopez round seven million euros, and can be seen in 500 screens.


Design of the laboratory in Chitón for 'Superlópez'.enlarge photo
Design of the laboratory in Chitón for 'Superlópez'.

"In 2007, he left me a girlfriend, and the next day Jota Bayona saw me depressed and took me to the Malaga festival", Ruiz Caldera starts his trip to Superlópez. "I had only made short films, but there, a producer offered to make my debut with Zipi and Zape. What I wanted to do was Superlopez. He replied that this character had many girlfriends and that it was a movie face because, and sometimes we forget, the protagonist flies ". Ruiz Caldera laughs: "I rejected Zipi and Zape. I was a pimp because it was before the crisis. " In 2010, Caldera, Cobeaga and San José were a few months, in the hands of Ramos, for the project. In vain. "And when in Anacleto They opened the door, I said to myself: 'This is mine'. We got the three from a kicker. And we put up with it, because this is a project that has always staggered. " With them also enters Dani Rovira as the protagonist. "To me"; says the director, "they told me about him without finishing filming Eight Basque surnames, and it seemed very good to me. "

Will there be second part? From Telecinco you hear a "yes" that sounds resounding. Asensio even points towards a series or an animated film. With your colleagues, the Supergroup, the Avengers patriotic It is not so clear, because the creator of these heroes is the scriptwriter Efepé, not Jan. "And I have the rights!", Says Matji, who with this final pirouette returns thus to the wake of the superman more cañí.

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