Click here for the interview in Spanish.
March 14, 2011
"I had a great time in my first comedy role"
- Yon González, actor in Torrente 4
By: Alberto Mendo
Translation By: Gema Sola
Yon González is part of the new and promising generation of Spanish actors emerging from television series. His first steps were in "SMS", on La Sexta channel, although the role that catapulted him to fame was that of Iván, one of the most complex and intense characters in "El Internado".
From there, he made the leap to the film industry with "Mentiras y Gordas" and since then he has become a familiar presence in the small and big screen. His fresh and photogenic image has undoubtedly contributed to his success, and as such, he has become a target for teens and magazines. Soon he will take part in another series, "Gran Reserva", where he will coincide with his brother Aitor Luna, and his next film project will take him into the world of mafias.
What keeps him busy now is the promotion of "Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis", where he completely changes register to become the protector, a bit dodgy, of the protagonist in the sequences in which the police ends up in jail. Yon González admits that this role, the first comedic character of his career, "has been a challenge", and where his teacher was Santiago Segura. For the director, Yon has nothing but praise and also tells us that in his nine-day shoot he was most of the time "on the floor laughing." He also describes the experience of filming with a genius like Tony LeBlanc: "I thought of how privileged I was," he says. As for how tacky and uncool Torrente is, it is clear we all have some of his qualities because "truth is stranger than fiction, always".
What a change of register! When you got the script, were you surprised by the role Santiago Segura had in mind for you?
Very surprised. It has been a challenge for me, especially because I had never done comedy. The first day I arrived with my character pretty much formed in my head and I said to Santiago: "This is what I have. I hope you like it because if you change something now...”. He offered me the role six days before we started shooting the film.
How was the adaptation process to comedy?
Santiago taught me the timing of comedy and the pace required the first day I filmed a scene with him. In fact, we had to repeat a scene several times. That scene took me a while, until the director made me understand how comedy works. After that, the only thing that I focused on was the enjoyment, and I did enjoy it. I had a great time.
Your character has a very particular way of walking and talking. How did you build the role of Peralta?
For years I spent my summers in Cullera (Valencia) and it always struck me, when I left a party, the peculiar gait of the bad Valencian guys, with tank tops and poses as if saying "look how strong and hot I am". With all due respect to that land, which I love, I copied their body expressions for Peralta. As for the voice, it was my coach’s idea because we did not want to do the typical pimp’s voice. I wanted to escape the cliché but I could not find a proper register I wanted to stick to. So I went to my coach and she advised me to do the nasal voice. I tried it, I saw it was the key and I did it.
One of the most striking scenes of the film is the fight you have with other prisoners in jail. How did you get ready for that?
The idea was to show my character, energetic, often uncontrolled yet controlled sometimes. A sort of Bruce Lee but with a twist... subnormal (laughs). Still, I never had to prepare a lot. Yes, I had to rehearse the choreography, because the fight scenes like this are like a succession of steps and movements, but those that had to do with martial arts I already knew. I went to karate school since I was very young and I'm black belt in karate.
What was it like, filming with Santiago Segura?
I had a great time with him. Whenever he finished shooting a scene, he began to improvise and you could see the entire team, like 250 people, rolling on the floor laughing. That's not in the movie, but it shows that the guy really enjoys his job. My nine days of filming went well, with moments where the actors, extras and coaching staff were on the floor laughing. I am sure that the good mood and energy is transmitted to the viewer when watching the movie. So I encourage everyone to go watch it.
You did some of your scenes with Tony LeBlanc. How does it feel to be taken care of by a master of interpretation?
I discovered that, even at his age, he is a person who enjoys what he does, which shows how much he loves his profession. Filming with him was great. In the scene I'm with him on one side and Santiago on the other I thought of how privileged I was. Also, they soothed me and calmed me down. It is good to work with such talented professionals: they look into your eyes and if you think you're going to be shy when filming with them, those doubts disappear and you actually enjoy yourself.
Is Torrente a unique project for film or is it based on real life? Do you think you can find people like that on the street?
All Spanish people have a little bit of Torrente in them! Everybody... It’s a very typical Spanish humor, very pure and based on features, pints and attitudes that can be seen when you go for a walk, at some level. I run into Torrentes every day walking down the street. What I know for sure is that truth is stranger than fiction, always.
Where will we see Yon González in the upcoming months?
Very soon, you’ll see me in the new season of "Gran Reserva" a Spanish series. In addition, in August I'll be making a gangster film based on a true story and it looks very good.
Tell us a little more about this new film project.
It’s about mobsters ... (laughs). The truth is I can’t say much. I can tell you that it has many good ingredients. The aim of the story is to tell how mafias work, how they get along with each other and what happens inside. It also has a small love story, although it will be very subtle and even without sex scenes; it is the complement to the rest of the script. It will be another challenge for which I have to prepare from now on because I have to put on 8 kilos of weight; in fact, I've started going to the gym. Still, it's cool because now I have five months to focus on this project and devote myself exclusively to this.