Diego San José: “Corruption is a drama for all of Spain except for a comedy scriptwriter” | Cinema in the SER | Present



Among the many virtues of serial fiction is the time that the characters have to establish their own relationship with the audience. The time to create links that in the case of Juan Carrasco go further. A character who portrays a country, its miseries and corruption, recognizable in the cartoon for everyone, and at the same time a quixotic man, lonely and practicing pathos capable of provoking both tenderness and blush. A character rooted in the best comic tradition in Spain who serves as a mirror to the present.

In his evolution, Juan Carrasco has gone from being Minister of Agriculture to trying to found his own party, from managing government crises to wanting to attend primaries. Now, in the third installment, titled ‘Come on Juan‘, faces its decline. In Spain, when you leave politics, the creator of the series exposes Diego San Jose, there are only two options: end up in the private sector through revolving doors or on a bench accused of corruption. The character played by Javier Cámara joins both of them. In a darker, more dramatic and even existentialist season, Juan Carrasco faces a countdown from the comic thriller to avoid going to prison. Along the way, he deals with his loneliness, with his past, with the people he has pushed aside or abandoned, and also with his endearing and innate clumsiness.

In the plot appear the roles of J. Carrasco, destroyed hard drives, bonuses, builders’ bites and even political prisoners, but all the political parody is at the service of a character who, in his farewell, indulges in a romantic madness, to a sad grotesque, thanks to the dramatic progression of the scripts and the recital of Javier Chamber in one of the best jobs of his career. Juan Carrasco is already today one of the most memorable characters in contemporary Spanish fiction.

Is it easier and easier to inhabit and write this character after all his journey? You know him more and he allows you to play more

Diego San Jose: We are in love with the character. Javi and I have found ourselves talking about Juan Carrasco as if he were a cousin of ours from Ferrol whom we love, love and we have seen ourselves defending at catering meals, stopping between scenes, scenes that were super incorrect. Be careful, Juan Carrasco must be understood.

Javier Cámara: I heard at a table that he was a son of a bitch and I said, hey, careful. We stood up and defended him. We can hit for Juan Carrasco -laughs- He is a being many times unjustifiable but we justify it. We fully empathize with him and, in fact, that is the first objective of the series, that people empathize with him, that he is reflected in someone so dark in this third season.

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What is it like to get in and out of such a character in each season? How do you create this mixture of tenderness and shame?

Javier Chamber: I did not think that we generated shame, I do it from the heart, I swear. Everything I do for Juan Carrasco is justified, I have even fought sometimes and we have had discussions of how mediocre he is. I don’t think it causes embarrassment, when I hear it I feel bad for it.

Diego San Jose: Look, we’re already defending him. How do you get involved with Juan Carrasco? We are going to have a problem with the press

Javier Chamber: It tastes bad to me but it is true that as it is unanimous, I take it for granted. It’s like when you see a movie of yours for the first time and you think, how bad I am and how good everyone else. It’s because you can’t bear to see you. Juan Carrasco is a kind of mirror of us and what I know is that a fourth season would be a great effort for us, we leave our souls in the character and I am in more than 90% of the sequences. He is the engine of the series, he is a guy who does not want to be a motorcycle at all but he is the engine of all problems. In this third season there is something much darker, we have created more than a melodrama or a farce, or a picaresque story, there were moments where tragedy was chewed. He’s a guy I never would have wanted -spoiler and laughs-. Sorry, I’m that mouthful.

In this season there is more drama, he is a character more and more alone

Diego San Jose: Apparently the three seasons is a series about politics and that has allowed us to communicate to series. Say it’s a series about politics. And once that is done and we start writing and filming, for us it is a series about people who are in politics. A father who, in this case, has to explain to his family that he is corrupt. We are more interested in these conflicts than in the ideological conflicts behind politics. In this season, the third is always decisive, it is darker because we wanted to tell the decline of the character, not to continue stretching the gum to put him in other situations as ridiculous as the previous ones. If we have seen a politician being ambitious in the first season, if we have seen a politician in his maturity confront his former colleagues, now we wonder how a politician ends up in Spain. And we had two options, either in the private sector with revolving doors or in a case of corruption. As we are as ambitious as Juan Carrasco, we wanted to do everything in one. Juan Carrasco works in a power company, which is where you have to be today, and he has also been corrupt. We find it more depressing or dark because we want to tell someone’s end.

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Javier Cámara: We also have the feeling that three seasons was perfect for this character. We don’t know what’s going to happen, if HBO Max thinks it is a wonderful success and wants to do a fourth one, well we’ll have to invent something, I don’t know, but for us this is the sumun. In the first season, Juan Carrasco wanted to be alone, he wanted to have his family far away, he wanted to enjoy his victory of being a minister and being in Madrid. In the second, he faces situations that get out of hand, he faces a lot of people for keeping that story. And in this third season he does not want to be alone, he does not want all that to be thrown at him. He is like a spoiled child, he is a guy who wants to play alone but when he has problems he cannot bear to be alone. For him that is his tragedy, he has decided all his life to be alone and now he really sees himself alone and does not know how to solve it.

There are clear references to cases of political corruption, but also a portrait of the normalization, or supposed unconsciousness, of many of these practices. Are we as a society drugged with corruption?

Diego San Jose: That is an important focus of the season. In the last years or the last decade with corruption something has happened that annoys me a lot. Corruption that occurs, the one you did not seek, is considered less corruption. That is to say, that someone who found corruption because it was offered to them and simply did not refuse seems to be less than saying yes to being corrupt. It’s that, of course, they offered it to me, I didn’t go for it. That way of cleaning wounds is the most beautiful part in quotes – as Juan Carrasco would do. As I think we all have the same opinion about what a morally corrupt person is, dedicating a year of your life to making a series that agrees with the viewer makes me very lazy. We already know what a corrupt person is and what made us horny was knowing about those people when they get home, they are alone and they do not consider themselves a bad person. When they look in the mirror, they will tell each other a theory that they are great. That is the theory that interests me of a corrupt person, what he tells his neighbors when he meets them in the elevator after a search, what he tells his wife and daughter that they love him. If my father were corrupt, how I would look at him, it would be difficult for me to condemn them. It is very easy to look at a corrupt person when he is someone else, whether you have voted for him or not, but if he is from your family or your friend, not so much. Corruption is a drama for all of Spain except for a comedy scriptwriter, which is a blessing.

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Javier Cámara: It is true that you judge the politicians you don’t vote more than the politicians you vote. We all have a double, triple or quadruple yardstick, and you often see it on Twitter. Any criticism of a party that you would not vote for in your life and you want to assassinate them, and if a politician from a party you have voted for does it, well, you say … well, let’s see. Everyone must be judged equally. The interesting thing about this series is that, how far are you willing to go to forgive this character, how far would you go. Diego puts the viewer in front of a mirror and what we cannot do is judge the character. We have to go with him so that people reach the limit of shame or the limit of ingratiating themselves with him and saying, poor man, he is a missing link in this morass of democracy that we have. We want that in this third season the viewer put it like a shit or save it.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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