Tuesday, March 28

Elena Anaya: “It’s scary to get old, this industry is crueler to women”

26 years ago Elena Anaya appeared before the camera for the first time. She was 21 and had a hypnotic freshness that stole every scene from Family, the directorial debut of Fernando León de Aranoa. Since then he has worked with the best, including Woody Allen, he has had time to taste the honeys of Hollywood in wonder-woman and along the way he has won a Goya from Almodóvar in The Skin I Live In.

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now premiere Cagea thriller psychological and with touches of terror directed by Ignacio Tatay and produced by Álex de la Iglesia. A film about a couple who find a mysterious abandoned girl on the road and with whom they create a strange and tense family bond. The film, which is already in theaters, speaks through the genre of motherhood and the monsters that hide next door that, as Anaya says, are more terrifying than those that appear in the movies.

What was it that attracted you to this film?

The story itself, the script, which as always is the first crush that may or may not happen, but the first impact you get when reading a story is a feeling that will never be the same. You can read it another hundred times, but the first impact is the genuine one, the one you have to listen to, and in this case it was brutal. The first thing I wanted was to meet Ignacio, the director. I liked the desire he had, and I sensed that there was a wealth of knowledge and incredible talent behind it. We had a wonderful meeting, we started at nine in the morning, and at three in the afternoon I realized that we had spent hours talking about the characters, the story, how I wanted to shoot it, her look… I knew that there was an authentic, genuine director behind it, with personality and character, and that really appealed to me. Besides, he was a thriller psychological but dealt with current issues that affect us all.

In this film that terror is the shell, it is the way of talking about domestic terrors, of everyday life, which is even more terrifying.

As such, that also makes us alert, that connects us. Those terrors are much scarier than science fiction, than ghosts or the paranormal. The normal and the close is what can cause the most fear and the most impact on me. Sometimes, terror speaks of real fears, of real monsters, not the ones with hair and fangs, but of people close to us.

This film talks about motherhood. This week Penelope Cruz told the Venice Film Festival that being a mother affects even the roles you choose. Has it been your case?

Absolutely. Once you bring someone to life, the dimension you live in is another one unlike anything else. Everything takes a balance that is very fragile and that you want to preserve, like a network that you want to create to protect and that is based on education, affection and respect. And you think of your children and you say, me as an actress, as someone who helps by telling stories, I want to choose stories that contribute, that add up, that do not leave us indifferent, that help us think, make decisions, and this excited me about the character of Paula, who has gone through a very delicate process, of being a mother and not succeeding, and when she is about to throw in the towel a girl appears, a very punished being, very injured, very damaged and very terrified, and that role of mother above. For me it is a very bright film. It’s hard to think that terror can speak of light, of rescue, of the positive, but for me that was what prompted me to do it and give it my all.

This film was affected by the pandemic and the lockdown, how did it affect you as an actress?

It was frustrating, because this is a project that we had rehearsed a lot, for three months, putting in many hours a day, adding cast, adding efforts and talent, and when we had been filming for eight days they told me that filming was paralyzed and we did not know when it was going to be able to resume That made us stop and stay at home for a long time, and yet, despite the terrible situation, that we were with our hearts in a fist, I had to build a universe every day in this house for a child who could not go out to the street and did not understand what was happening. And in a way it was also a joy to be able to enjoy having so much time, to wake up slowly, sleep the hours I needed and enjoy that time in the world with my son, who in the end with work and school the rhythm is very different.

Once you bring someone to life, the dimension you live in is another one unlike anything else. Everything takes a balance that is very fragile and that you want to preserve

Elena Anaya

After the pandemic, cinema has not been the same again, films have a difficult time succeeding in movie theaters, how do you see the current moment in audiovisuals?

I am sometimes concerned about the way of consuming, which is more compulsive, it seems that the more and the faster, the better. And another season comes, and another… and that overwhelms me, the speed at which it is produced and consumed. That conditions me, it scares me that the projects are not taken care of.

Aitana Sánchez Gijón said when she collected the Gold Medal from the Film Academy that she went from being the object of desire to the mother of the object of desire in the cinema. Has it happened to her? Does age take a greater toll on women in this industry?

See, I have never considered myself an object of desire, but an actress who has been called for many years, with a constant career. I didn’t have that problem. I feel that my career has a continuity that has lasted almost 30 years. Yes, it is terrifying to get old and get older, to have sagging in the face, wrinkles, gray hair… that at the moment I do not have but they will all come out suddenly. There are other actresses who take more care of themselves and pretend more, they place their chin in a certain way, they know how to lower it or put their hand so that they are not seen, they look at the lights… I don’t even have the time to think about whether I was going out beautiful in this movie or not. Sometimes I see my face on the screen and I say, what a barbarity, but that’s Paula, and it was necessary to show that Paula has my tiredness, my face, my wrinkles, my desperation… that the years be recorded was essential.

But there is the damage that makes you see how critical the industry is. Business is crueler to women than to men. It seems that when they get older they are valued more, and women are sharpened and say: “Look, this one is terrible”, “it’s a skinny one”, “this one hasn’t done anything”. Or they start retouching your photos, what do you tell them, hey, don’t do it. Let’s put on a nice, nice light, but let’s not tinker so much. In the cinema I want my contours to be noticed, to show my skin as it is, because that is information, it is something that adds up.

He got a taste of what it means to shoot in Hollywood with a small role in Wonder Woman, Have you ever been tempted to make a career there?

It’s not that easy. I’ve had the best agent in the US, and she told me ‘you have to come here and stay’, and I said I couldn’t, that I lived in Madrid and that if she needed me I was 12 hours away and with several daily flights. She told me that it wasn’t the same and I told her that nothing was wrong. She was a Hollywood executive, one of the most powerful and powerful, she represented the most valued and respected actresses in Hollywood and in the whole world, but that was the price of going there at a time when I couldn’t. She brought out the most human part of her, of mother and daughter, and she told me that she understood perfectly. It is a personal decision. That I could have gone and tried? Yes, but it was not my dream or my goal, and I had a lot to attend to and do here. Also, in this industry I have felt very loved and respected and I want to be here, making films in my language is how I feel best, making Spanish films that I adore and excite me. It’s going to be almost 30 years since I started working, and I thought I was going to shoot just one film and I’ve been half my life.