The Catalan, Goya to the Actor Revelation 2020, premieres ‘The Invisible Line’ (April 8, Movistar +, open). A series that tells why ETA started killing. Essential.
He is the man of the moment, the actor of whom everyone talks, one of those findings that happens very occasionally in Spanish cinema and that leaves you speechless. But this 31-year-old actor has succeeded. If you have not yet enjoyed it in the Leticia Dolera series, ‘Perfect Life’ or in ‘Who Kills Iron’, the movie by Paco Plaza, you are missing one of the greats of his generation.
Are you a versatile actor who’s on the go? Because the last two roles are risky and complex …
Well, I don’t give up comfort either, huh? (laughs) You have to calibrate a bit between comfort and risk, but there is an artistic drive to risk it, yes. Yesterday they asked me if the prizes and everything that has happened to me paralyzes me and I said that it is inevitable … but everything that keeps me from taking risks is bad. In the end, expectations are set by others and I hope you will forgive me if I ever do a bad job. Picasso also painted bad pictures. And I don’t want to compare myself with him, but at the end of the day I’d rather have balls and shit at risk, than not staying easy. Because at risk is the search and the fun of art. And I like.
How would you define yourself as an actor and as a person?
I am a sensitive actor, who always tries to humanize the characters. Also generous and who likes to jump. As a person? I’m sure I’m very different … a little Peter Pan. I’m 31 years old and, when I’m relaxed, I’m like a boy of ten. I make jokes, I am exhibitionist, horny … I find it hard to be serious. I also know how to wear, but I’m not an intensito.
Joaquin Oristrell, La Fura, Lluís Pasqual, Paco Plaza and now Mariano Barroso … it seems that whoever discovers you stays with you …
Well, my beginnings were quite late. My mother insisted that I enroll in a school called El Timbal, in Barcelona, because it was a school failure; the pattern of the dyslexic actor, TDA, hyperactive … Then I went to the casting of ‘Mediterranean diet’ and Joaquín Oristrell chose me for a small role in the cinema. With a day and a half of filming, I already knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to this. I did with La Fura dels Baus ‘Titus Andronicus’ and little things with the company La Perla 29, by Oriol Broggi. It was then that my little sister and two of my cousins came to study at ESCAC and I started making shorts with their gang. We learned together the tools of cinema. At the same time, in addition to the tv-movie ‘Ebre, from bressol to battle’, I entered the professional theater and Lluís Pasqual signed me for the play ‘In memoriam’. At the María Guerrero I met casting director Arantza Vélez, who proposed the role of ‘Who kills iron’.
Half of an actor’s success is in the director-script combo?
Totally. From my experience, I tell you that one hundred percent. To me this year nobody has touched me with a magic wand, but I have had good projects, good scripts and some brutal teams, from the rest of the cast to the entire technical and artistic team. I have lived through everything, from being well accompanied to not being well and it is an absolute turning point to be able to do a good job … how they guide you, how they accompany you and how they know how to read and give wings so that your creativity adds up and grows . 50% is a good script, 30% is a good accompaniment for the director and the team and the other 20% is what you can add to it.
The Catalan actor, one of the protagonists of ‘The invisible line’. | Movistar +
Now ‘The Invisible Line’ is released… what pushed you to accept this role, apart from the fact that your great friend Àlex Monner was there?
Well, being an actor, because I did three castings to qualify for this series and at that time nobody knew me, I had not released anything yet, neither series nor film … It was an absolute unknown in the audiovisual world, it did not endorse me no career, but I wanted more. In the end, three people were left to make this character … and since Àlex and I are like brothers in real life, he told the director that with whom he could best work and create a real relationship would be with me. And that gave me little points (laughs).
Was it about time we started talking about ETA from all perspectives?
I think so. Now, because ETA gave up arms, because it is a “past” problem and because the Basque Country is being very responsible with its history and is doing a work of social healing and commitment to resolve its internal differences. Thanks to the fact that within the Basque Country they are working very thoroughly on this – much more than in the rest of the State – that they are all very aware and that there is no political electoralism with suffering, the ban has been opened to be able to speak of it. Thanks to the responsibility of the Basque people.
Have you read “Patria”, the book by Fernando Aramburu? They were going to release the series …
I started it and left it … I haven’t finished it. But I think “The Invisible Line” and “Homeland” are two very different series. We are not counting an already organized ETA, that of the 80s and 90s. Our ETA is a young organization, in a pre-constitutional context, of some idealistic kids who fight with politics against a very clear repression, a Franco dictatorship, inspired by struggles like that of Algeria or Cuba, which are epic revolutions. Killing for ideology is outrageous, it is pure and simple fascism, especially when democracy exists. But you have to put yourself in the post-war context (one Civilian and two World Cups) and that armed struggle, in that context, was the most logical option because politically you could not advance with the dictatorship, there was no democracy.
When can we see such a series about Catalonia? Or do you first have to distance yourself, resolve conflicts …?
Phew! I think there is a lot left … In Catalonia there is a lot of suffering even on both sides, who are very confused. I think that while there are prisoners in jail it will be impossible at all. And not only prisoners, but also people who are suffering fines … there is much to heal. It is a problem that is absolutely alive.
What do you think about the initiative to give the first two chapters of the series open, taking advantage of the fact that we are all at home?
Great. The more people watch the series, the better for history, for society, for young people … It is a gift.
Actors have it more difficult to do something together on the networks, as is happening with musicians …
The artistic disciplines are very different … I have always been very envious of painters, sculptors, photographers or musicians, who can create on their own. An actor has it more complicated. Yes, you could learn a monologue from Calderón de la Barca or Shakespeare, record it and share it but…
Well, for that you would also have to have social networks, which is not the case …
Exact! With all this, I don’t know much about what’s happening either (laughs). I’m sure I miss things, like the video of “I will survive”, but I don’t need them at the moment … I live very calm, really. I have a garden, I play with my daughter, I talk to my parents because I am at home … we have met again. And that is more important than the RRSS.
Has there been a before and after the roles you have played?
Yes, I think of all of them, but from the first to the last, which is already more evident because it has led me to gain acceptance of my work and has placed me in a place where I am super grateful. I’m super happy.
Has this break come in handy or has it truncated any plans?
We have stopped shooting “Sky Rojo” (created by Álex Pina and Esther Martínez, writers of ‘La Casa de Papel’, for Netflix), a series that had me riding on the AVE all day, between Madrid and Barcelona. And it was great for me, because I was on a roller coaster, doing thousands of things … It has been a very overwhelming month with all this of the awards (a Goya for Best New Actor, two Fierce and two Gaudí) and thousands of interviews. And this moment of stopping, of thinking about myself, of connecting has come to me as a luxury.
You are part of a generation of Catalan artists who have been stomping and with a lot of personality, do you feel part of a group?
Totally. We are all friends and we feed each other a lot, it is a somewhat inbred world. They are my inspiration, my poetic band, as Stefan Zweig explains in “The World of Yesterday”, with his friends discovering Rilke in a first manuscript in a bookstore when they were 16 years old, this is romantic style… this is how my friends are in Barcelona. We create, we share our works, we teach ourselves and we rely on our artistic and poetic instincts, I find it super beautiful and I feel so accompanied … I think we are a beautiful generation of beautiful people with a lot of desire and many things to explain.
You have played all the styles: theater, cinema, TV, also drama and comedy … what’s left, a musical?
Noooo, I sing fatally (laughs). I have so much to investigate, to make new characters with directors I want to work with and different stories and impossible and risky challenges … I really want to do millions of things. For example, writing and directing. And English! That I have it fatal, I am an inveterate dyslexic, that’s why my mother pointed me to the theater …
And how do you get people to recognize you on the street?
Well, not having RRSS, things are going in waves. Sometimes they recognize me enough, but suddenly I don’t… I went on en The Resistance ’and I had a crazy week in Madrid, but it happened… Everything is going so fast. And you realize that everything is so ephemeral and so false, that in the end I don’t give it much importance and I live very calmly. The people who stop me on the street are super nice, nice … and since I don’t have RRSS I don’t have ‘haters’, there are no people who are stuffed from their house saying outrageous about me… well, better.
Enric Auquer, winner of the Goya for Revelation Actor. | Movistar +