Their faces symbolize the current success of the Spanish TV shows. But also something more. This little get-together shows the harmony between generations. Seizing the fifth anniversary of Bambú Productions, XLSemanal has brought together ten of our most popular performers to share experiences, on set anecdotes, pieces of advice and the occasional laughs.
“Silence, please! Let's roll, come on!” The deep and emphatic voice of José Sacristán resonates in the room and everyone goes quiet so that he and Yon González can start their interview.
A second later, a burst of laughter extends between the actors and actresses gathered by XLSemanal and Bambú Productions in a photo studio in Madrid. Sacristán, at nearly 76, is the oldest of all, an actor whose harsh and sarcastic sense of humor is indelibly part of the collective imagination of all his colleagues (and the rest of the Spanish people, of course). So when Sacristán asks for silence, nobody takes seriously his severity and harshness. Probably they evoke one of the hundreds of characters that the actor, born in Chinchon (Madrid), has played over the last 51 years.
It is as if they were family. “It is in this profession,” underlines his colleague Jesus Olmedo, 35 years younger, “where very strong links are created. We share strong emotions. You finish shooting or finish a tour, you go home and you notice that something is missing”. Work is something none of them lacks, something that, in this time of crisis and fiscal pressure on culture, they thank the TV industry for. “TV is getting rid of hunger in a lot of families. Most hiring opportunities are now here,” says Sacristán. He embarked on Galerías Velvet, the new commitment of Antena3 for the fall, which marks the return to the cathode area of Madrid. “This is my neighborhood 16 years ago.” Gone are the days when the small screen seemed to demean those who dared to appear in it. “TV actors were considered second-class people. This is no longer the case,” notes Lluís Homar. “Today, moreover, it is an enriching meeting point between generations.” As shown in these next few pages.
JOSÉ SACRISTÁN & YON GONZÁLEZ “Never lose sight of the kid you were. That's just a game.”
There are things they did not know about each other before this interview. Namely, despite one being half a century older than the other one, they both share a visceral hatred for football, the two could have devoted their lives to mechanics, the Civil War marked their families, and this fall they will work together in a movie. In Sacristán's return to television with Galerías Velvet, the media that has given everything to Gonzalez, we attended an intense encounter between generations.
XL: Did you know each other?
Yon: Well, we said hello in a presentation not so long ago.
José: Basically, we have just met. It’s today we’ve gotten more intimate.
XL: You will be together in Nacho Velilla’s next movie, Perdiendo el Norte…
Yon: Really, you too? (to Sacristán) Hey, this is very good news! Do you have more questions like this one? (laughs)
José: Yeah, I’m doing it. It's like a newer version of Vente a Alemania, Pepe, and my role is similar to that one, where I played the person who came from Germany and told Alfredo Landa to go there. Now [my character] welcomes those who leave because of the crisis. It sounds good and very actual.
XL: Speaking of crisis, is the world outside the television hard?
José: Look, I have a lot of experience in this world, but it strikes me, pleasantly, to see productions like Galerías Velvet with a very high rating. I keep making films, beautiful things, but very modest, as El Muerto y Ser Feliz, or Madrid, 1987, my last two films, whose productions were heroic.
Yon: There's something important that has changed. Before, the people who worked on TV were despised by the profession and the critics. Now, producers seek people to sell their films, and that opens the door to the cinema industry for those of us who have grown up on television.
José: Yes, that stupid prejudice against TV doesn’t exist anymore. It's fucking great to share this with young people with a big pair of balls.
XL: Has this profession taught you anything about yourselves?
Yon: I have discovered incredible things about me through my characters. AtEl InternadoI played a very intense character for four years. In the end, after all that time, there were times when I was a little hurt by that bastard. Has that ever happened to you?
José: No. But four years in a row is a lot. What I do is to not lose sight of the kid I was. This is a game, nothing more and nothing less; the game of making people believe that you are who you're not and make something happen. I go out and say, “Fuck you , now you will mourn ,” And: “Fuck you , now you will laugh.” Time to play!
XL: Do you feel you’re on a schoolyard when you’re on a stage?
José: Yes, yes. I learned it from young Fernando Fernan Gomez . Every time I step on the stage, I reach for the kid that I used to be.
XL: And before the camera?
José: Even more. It is more sensitive, intelligent, and more of everything than the most sensitive and intelligent viewer. You should give accurate information to a camera, not more and no less. It’s relentless, it's like you are naked.
Yon: What I love about this job is that, even though you show that you are suffering on the outside, you are enjoying it like a bitch on the inside.
José: But in this business there is always a difference, a bad one, between your intentions and the outcome. You have your models: Marlon Brando, Bogart ... and you say, “I can do that, it’s so easy”. And it’s not.
Yon: You do that, you do.
José: Not always, I mean…[ both laugh ]
XL: Have you overcome any fear to pursue this? José: Insecurity, nerves; because in this job you are always starting. And poor person who thinks he knows everything! If you settle down in some form of security, you screw up. The encounter with the character is a loving discovery, a leap; it’s like rolling down a mountain. If it's worth it, careful, because sometimes, as you have to pay the bills, you may pick and get to be in charge of some asshole.
XL: And do you have to play many asshole characters to make a living?
José: The less the better. But you can’t always choose. I have played many interesting characters; others less interesting; and others, not at all interesting.
XL: One of your characteristics that you don’t like?
Yon: I'm a little stubborn.
José: I have a soul I do not deserve. I am sentimental who despises sentimentalism. I suffer emotional lability.
Yon: How come?
José: There are some emotional situations that cause me dermatological and ophthalmologic disorders, it’s a nerve issue. Something silly that other people ignore can get to me and bring me down.
XL: What is your most valuable possession?
Yon: My Harley Davidson. I will take care of it until the day I die.
José: My sticker albums from when I was a kid. I keep them as if they are gold.
XL: Soccer players?
José: No, no, actors. Soccer can go fuck itself, man.
Yon: Yes, what a disgusting business!
José: Also I have a notebook from when my father was in prison. The prisoners gathered and my father copied poems with very small print. He coincided with Miguel Hernandez and Buero Vallejo. In Ocanya.
Yon: Because he was a communist?
José: Yes, of course.
Yon: So was my grandfather, because of politics. They almost shot him.
XL: Is it necessary to lie?
José: A lot! A man must combine a certain dose of cynicism and compassion. If not, you will not survive.