Javier Bardem sits on a sofa, surrounded by five of his fellow Goya candidate actors and, after making it clear that he assumes that position because the photographer has requested it, two jokes immediately escape him: “We seem Succession [la serie de HBO]”, And a glorious imitation of Julio Blanco, his character in The good boss. That in his case, more than imitation, is reincarnation, because Bardem aspires to his sixth Goya as an actor (he also has another as producer of the documentary Children of the clouds) thanks to his portrayal of the owner of White Scales, a businessman who must put order in his life and in his business in the week that aspires to a prize that he craves above all else. The satire that Fernando León has written and directed has achieved 20 nominations for the Goya Awards, a record for Spanish cinema awards, and eight of its actors —another milestone— compete in the acting categories. And that is why Bardem posed this Thursday in the old EL PAÍS newspapers surrounded by five of his fellow candidates: Sonia Almarcha (plays Adela, Blanco’s wife); Fernando Albizu (Román, the sworn vigilante); Óscar de la Fuente (Jose, the laid off man who is camping in front of the company); Manolo Solo (Miralles, worker in sentimental free fall), and Almudena Amor (Liliana, an intern with countless secrets up her sleeve). The session is missing Celso Bugallo (Fortuna, the old employee), at home with the flu, and Tarik Rmili (Khaled, the rising manager), in Morocco with his next project.
Fernando León wore with The good boss a few years in the head and with some sketches on paper. “I read the first script in the summer of 2020, at the same time that Penélope Cruz was reading the Parallel mothers. I asked myself, ‘Is it me or is this great?’ And she thought the same of her project, so we exchanged scripts to discuss our impressions. And we agree on how lucky we were and what marvels of characters. Returning to my reading, I got up nervous while doing it because my body reacted to the narration. I imagined the characters, the images presented by Fernando in the writing … and he repeated to myself: ‘I want to do that, I want to do that.’ I had a physiological need to recite those words ”.
On the 20 candidatures for Goya, which could be awarded to The good boss up to 17 statuettes (he has three finalists for supporting actor and another two for revelation actor), Bardem explains: “These 20 nominations are a fact… overwhelming. You can only say thank you. I do not enter to assess whether they are deserved, I leave that to others … But of course the announcement hit us. ” The only record out of reach of The good boss in the ceremony on February 11 in Valencia is to win in all interpretation categories (as he did Out to sea, another of Bardem’s Goya), because they do not compete as a leading actress.
A script “that neither lacked nor had anything to spare”
All the culture that goes with you awaits you here.
Yes it is in secondary actress Sonia Almarcha, who already worked with Fernando León in Amador (2010), and who now plays the “lady of”. “When I read the script I thought it was wonderful. I did a test with Fernando, albeit with cheating, because the character was for me “, recalls the protagonist of Loneliness (2007). Like many of his co-stars, he chooses dinner as his favorite movie sequence: “When we shot it, I felt like we were doing something great.” As Bardem points out: “It sums up the spirit of the film, and it’s one of those sequences that as a performer you read and you know what you want to do.” Almarcha enjoyed his “mistress of”. “I know many like her. Let’s hope that Spanish society changes … Rather, it is very western culture, right? ”, He reflects.
Almudena Amor has entered the category of revelation actress, who at the last San Sebastián festival also presented The grandmother. “I try to live this moment very naturally,” he explains. The first time he read the script, he thought there was “a movie there.” And that he knew the feelings on which to base his Liliana. “I imagined the moment of the opera and I felt the adrenaline rising”, before doubting if he prefers the sequence of dinner or that of the pastry shop as his favorite. “In the end, I think that, because of my character’s game with Javier, I’ll take the second one.” And, like Bardem, it was during the presentation in San Sebastián that he discovered the repercussions of this satire. “You never know if it’s going to like it.”
From Morocco, where he is preparing a new project, Tarik Rmili explains: “I started reading the script, and after the third sequence I discovered that there was a game there that I wanted to enter. So my favorite sequence is my character in the cafeteria with Bardem. In truth, it is the best moment of my career [risas]”. In his Khaled he has found a role “beyond the stereotypes that surround immigrants”, and that is why he has built it “by gathering from various people”. Rmili competes in the category of breakthrough actor: “I have not yet assimilated the candidacy, ugh!”.
Óscar de la Fuente has also entered this category. He arrives by AVE from Barcelona, where he represents the musical Billy Elliot. “I did three tests until they took me for Jose [el extrabajador que acampa a la puerta de la fábrica]”. De la Fuente explains that he likes to play, and that is why he enjoyed the way he worked with Fernando. “I can repeat each sequence 50 times with different possibilities and I am happy.” And about his role, he confesses: “I am also quite vindictive, especially in the face of labor injustices that surround my profession. Every day more”. With so many years of theater, how does it take to be a revelation in the cinema? “This is my fourth film, so I am delighted.”
Manolo Solo already has the Goya for Late for anger and years of reading scripts. “With this one in hand, I felt that everything fit together, that I, who propose a lot, could add little. Nothing was missing or left over. It is the type of comedy that I like to see and, therefore, to do, ”he recalls. Of course, they offered him a character and he countered to embody Miralles. “It entered my eye; I have not cut myself for a while and if I see a character that I like, I say so. So far it has been going well for me ”. Of the filming, he confesses that Fernando León repeats and repeats: “It made me take pleasure in my work, especially with Javier, with whom I was already in Biutiful. I have chipped stone many years in short and complicated roles [risas]”.
The same happens to Fernando Albizu, another with a huge resume and a previous candidacy for Goya thanks to Fat (2009). “The filming? Fucking. Really. I was still shooting with a certain warmth and I had a great time ”, he explains. Of their work, the sequence of the banner stands out, when they look for the rhyme. Define my character. I don’t choose the characters, they usually come to me, and I try to carry them out with my ideas and at the director’s orders. In this profession, if you don’t have fun, you are lost ”. The third Goya candidate for supporting actor for The good boss is Celso Bugallo, who has already won the statuette for Out to sea, and that he has worked for the third time with León de Aranoa. From his home, because of the flu, he explains: “I read the script and it hit me … It impressed me a lot.” He was one of the last to see the film, he did so in San Sebastián, and there he felt “that the subject would have a long journey.” And from the director, with whom he met for the first time in Mondays in the sun notes: “The humorous aspect of the script lessens an underground analysis that is there. Fernando in the human has not changed. Their ideas are the same. As a filmmaker, he sees reality in an increasingly creative way ”.
At the end of the photo session, on the way to more promotions and the party for the Goya candidates, which the Film Academy held this Thursday afternoon, Bardem contributes one last reflection: “The film is a satire, but it reflects the disappearance of a group conscience, of the camaraderie that showed Mondays in the sun. The fear of retaliation has ended the union fights today. You have to stop making the revolution on Twitter and put your face on it and hit the streets again ”.