A queue of people who turn the corner of the Victoria Eugenia theater in San Sebastian marks the exact point. The casting for the Patria series, HBO's first production in Spain, is held in a building building and, based on the homonymous novel by Fernando Aramburu, will bring to the global streaming platform the theme of ETA's violence in Euskadi and its terrible consequences. Eight chapters of an hour will tell the story of two families marked by a murder of the terrorist group, an argument that goes beyond crime and radiography a territory of silences, prejudices and incurable social gaps.
If the success of the literary work hit the Basque Country, its audiovisual sequel is on the way to equaling it. Only the casting, held the last two weeks in Elgoibar, Soraluze and San Sebastian, has already gathered more than 1,500 people who want to be part of the television adaptation of the best seller published by Tusquets in 2016 -29 editions and almost one million sold copies-, whose realization will be in front of Donostiarra Aitor Gabilondo and his production company Alea Media. The team in charge of the selection of extras has looked for all kinds of profiles, although it has insisted on the need for men, a lack that is always repeated in these appeals. "Many are needed, there are many scenes of demonstrations, crowded streets and popular fairs," explain those responsible for the election.
Filming is expected to end in summer and its premiere on HBO will take place at the beginning of 2020
Among the participants that these two weeks have filled the calls has been everything. From experienced people who have participated in 'Handia' or 'Game of Thrones', which rolled in nearby venues such as San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Bizkaia), to novels that have not yet debuted as extras. Yael Moreno, the director of the national team, has insisted on the same thing: "It is a serious job that demands a lot of commitment".
Another fundamental point has been the physical appearance, being important the long hair and an aesthetic adaptable to the one of the eighty, when a good part of the plot takes place. Although the number of extras that will be needed for Patria is not known, it is assumed that this number will exceed 1,000 people. The chosen ones, who will charge 50 euros for each of the eight-hour shooting days, will not know that they will participate in the series until the end of February, when they will be called for the costume tests. It is one of the few tracks to calibrate the times of a production that was announced in 2017.
From HBO they remain faithful to the secrecy surrounding all their work and give three weeks to advance more data, although everything indicates that the shooting will start between March and April in the towns of Gipuzkoa where the castings have been held. San Sebastián is a fixed scenario since the city has a key role in the novel; in it lives Bittori, the widow of the Txato, a truck entrepreneur suffocated by the harassment of ETA and his revolutionary tax that is killed next to his house.
The other vital locality in the novel has no name and could be many municipalities of the Basque Country and Navarre, although Aramburu himself confessed that Hernani is the one that most resembles him. Elgoibar and Soraluze will nevertheless recreate the streets to which, decades later, Bittori returns from his forced exile to meet again with the neighbors who pointed to the Txato, turned their backs on them and leaked the information that would end his murder. Also with Miren, the intimate friend who decided to cut the relationship when her son Joxe Mari joined ETA.
The two leading roles, Bittori and Miren, are the only characters that already have a face for the series, in which they will be incarnated by the actresses Elena Irureta and Ane Gabarain, respectively. With screenplay by Aitor Gabilondo, at the head of the management, Félix Viscarret has been left alone after Pablo Trapero was fired recently due to differences when it came to focusing the project. "Patria," Gabilondo explained, "is more than a story, it is a personal pain, what is told, I have lived it." Filming is expected to end in summer and its premiere on HBO will take place at the beginning of 2020.
The Donostiarra Aitor Gabilondo and his producer Alea Media are in charge of the series