Sunday, October 2

Jordi Sánchez: «I have not learned much from being in a coma»



Jordi Sanchez is an actor and playwright well known in Spain, especially for his work as an interpreter in the series ‘The one that looms’. However, no role gave him as many headlines as his time at the hospital, without a single line of dialogue. Last February, he was admitted to the ICU for pneumonia, caused by the coronavirus, and was in a coma for 24 days. He no longer has consequences from the time he was ‘disconnected’ from reality, in which he suffered hallucinations and he lived in a kind of ‘parallel world’, where he came to think that one of his sons had died.

The interpreter heads the cast of ‘Lord, give me patience’, series that Atresplayer Premium premieres this Sunday, January 2.

The comedy is a continuation of the homonymous film directed by Alvaro Diaz Lorenzo. After its broadcast on the Atresmedia payment platform, it is planned to also offer it open, on Antena 3.

The rest of the cast has little to do with that of the 2017 film, which grossed nearly 7 million euros. Norma Ruiz, Felix gomez, Carol Rovira, Adam Jezierski, Carlos Librado ‘Nene’, Santi Cuquejo, Jorque Suquet, Darío Paso Y Sílvia Abril accompany Sánchez in this series by Buendía Estudios and DLO Producciones. The protagonist, Gregorio, is a widowed, reactionary and prejudiced man, whose life is difficult.

Isn’t the most conservative public offended by the cartoon?

I think not. No one is offended. Sometimes it surprises me, for example, that my character in ‘La que se avecina’, who gets so involved with gays, Latinos and the whole world, people understand that it is a parody, although it is drawing realities. In Gregorio’s case, it’s the same. What happens is that it is an individual who learns something, asks for forgiveness, apologizes, because he has tortured his children and has not let them breathe. He has marked them a lot and that has distanced him from them. I think he understands that this is not the right way.

It is striking how little he resembles his characters.

That is good, no? Interpreting means stepping into the shoes of others. You can still make a murderer or a saint. It is wonderful and it is the game that we actors dedicate ourselves to.

Are those roles chosen or are they the ones that play?

You can always say no to a character, but I wouldn’t say no to such pretty characters. You are drawing realities that are in society and in that sense I have no problem. It would be different to defend what they say or do. They are fictional characters that help to understand many things and that are based on real people who you find dining, eating or going down the elevator.

He came out of the coma and returned to a role he had already played in the movies. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day in ‘Trapped in Time’.

It is true that this character I did before, but although he is still a man stupefied by society, now he loses his home and his job and suddenly he finds himself living in a reality that he thought hardly existed. The children have to distribute it to them because they cannot bear it and then they experience that constant stupefaction. It is also true that I come back from a coma and I start promoting the series that I did before, but now I have other projects and other things.

Jordi Sánchez, with Silvia Abril, his wife in fiction, who continues to appear after her death
Jordi Sánchez, with Silvia Abril, his wife in fiction, who continues to appear after her death – Pipo Fernández

The cast is very different from the movie. Will the audience see something very different?

In the movie, the uncle is kept in his comfort zone. He apologizes for being the way he was, but continues to live like a king. Here, I think what makes the series more fun and funny is that this man loses his house and is left without a job, with one hand in front and the other behind. He has no other option than to go live with his children, one month with each one because they cannot bear it, and he discovers that there are other realities that are not his and in which he is deeply uncomfortable. This is the engine of the series and what makes it funny.

You will be sick of talking about this, but has coming back from your illness changed you in any way?

No, I didn’t have to get sick to know that I was comfortable with what I had. I didn’t need life lessons, nor did I need a brick to fall on my head. Dead has touched me, what are you going to do? I quite liked what he had. That of not missing what you have until you lose it is a bummer. I do not need it at all, but since it was my turn and they left me there sleeping 24 days, well I assume it. Nor have I learned much from being in a coma. I’ve learned that you can die overnight, basically, but it was something I think I already knew.

He has a short story book called ‘Nobody is normal’. You either?

No, people become obsessed with that, especially at an age, with trying to show that you are like the neighbor, so that they do not reject you, so that everyone thinks that you are on the right path. And if you don’t get married, have children and work at some things, you’re a Martian. When I said I wanted to be an actor in my neighborhood they call me a clown. He was a Martian, a madman. That is what the book stands for. He talks about a lot of things, but that’s one.

They called him a clown and his father didn’t like having an actor son either.

My father, as a father, I am too, he used to say to me: “You’re going to starve to death.” He also said: “I was not happy working, your grandfather was not happy and you are not going to be, because you have to work to earn a living. You will already be happy on weekends and in summer. Nobody likes work and you can’t be an actor because we don’t know any actor. This is a bullshit”. The poor man was afraid. That is why he put a candle to the Virgin so that they suspended me, which I always tell. But I understand that he was afraid, when he was a post-war boy who had been working since he was 14 years old and that pays his son a degree in Nursing and the son leaves him when he is already working and is going to be a clown around there. For him it was a trauma. Then when it worked for me, I was happier than anyone. He didn’t understand the trade much either. He understood it as long as I got paid at the end of the month. I was very happy that I was an actor and that it turned out well for me.

Although playing the clown is great, don’t you miss healing people a bit?

It was not bad, what happens is that I did that because of those fears, somehow. It seems to me a wonderful and super worthy profession. It would only be missing, but my vocation was different. Well, now that I have been in contact a lot, unfortunately, I do think I liked it, when you had to sew a finger or a lip, because I was in trauma. But no, I don’t miss it very much.

And as a parent, do you try to pass on a vocation or are you afraid that they will dedicate themselves to something in particular?

It’s a great topic, but be happy. I don’t care what they study. My children do not have any vocation for my profession nor do they want to be actors. We are not going to form any saga. Mine started with me and ends with me. And I am delighted.

Are you just as delighted that you are especially remembered for ‘The One Who Comes’?

It is normal. If you do a series for 15 years, imagine. I understand that you are not known as an author but as an actor, because you are on TV and two million people have seen you. As a theater actor, for example, to do that you need 10 years, and in one day you get it on TV. It is normal. I am very happy writing, I find it deeply liberating and whether people know it or not, it is not something that I became very obsessed with. I always say that I am an actor who writes, but my first profession is acting and it is the one I chose, the one that I like a lot.

Do you have an actor who is a role model?

Many. I’m a big fan of Mastroianni, Fernando Fernán Gómez, López Vázquez, Vittorio Gassman …

What kinds of roles do you see yourself playing when you grow up?

Those who made these four that I have said would love me. That is why I do not have surgery.

Do you think you will get them?

That no longer depends on me. I will do my best to get them and to be given such beautiful roles. I don’t define myself as a comedian. I am an actor. I like to do comic, dramatic roles …. I would like wrinkles to give me that kind of character.

And if they don’t give them to you, you can always write them down.

Yes, now I am going to direct a movie that I have written, which will be called ‘Vermin’. But of course, it is not the same to write theater, where you have the ability to produce. I can do it, but to produce a movie I have to pawn my house and not to do a play. We’ll see, I’m not saying no.

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