Shooting Star 2009 - Spain
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
Just over two years ago, unknown Madrid-born actress Verónica Echegui rose to fame for her performance as the hot-headed protagonist of Bigas Luna’s My Name Is Juani [+see also:
film profile]. However, far from resting on her laurels after such an outstanding debut, this young 25-year-old made the most of the opportunity and hit screens in 2008 in El menor de los males (“The Lesser of Two Evils”), 8 Citas and My Prison Yard [+see also:
film profile], which earned her a nomination for the Best Actress Goya.
Cineuropa: Weren’t you afraid of being typecast in a role as strong as Juani?
Verónica Echegui: No, because my own personal and professional experience is that it posed no obstacle in terms of being invited to castings and auditions, or meeting and getting to know directors. In fact, the work I’ve done since has been very varied. What’s important to me is that the characters are always different and they always will be.
Did you notice a difference when you returned to work after My Name Is Juani as a well-known actress?
Yes, because after I’d received so much exposure, after the production company had organised such a strong promotional and marketing campaign, people knew about the film and recognised me. Perhaps this helped me land auditions for more interesting films more easily.
What was it like working on My Prison Yard?
As an ensemble film, it was excellent experience in teamwork. The other actresses and I really understood our parts and the roles played by our characters in the film. It was an intense experience: two months of working practically every day. I think we were lucky because we were quite a friendly group.
What does your selection as Shooting Star 2009 mean to you?
I consider it a privilege, firstly because the ICAA thought of me and put my name forward and, secondly, because the Shooting Star jury selected me. I consider it a gift having the opportunity to go there and meet people, including actor colleagues from other countries, to make a name for myself and promote my work, as well as my country’s film industry. My expectations include learning and seeing how the business operates in other countries.
What are your projects for 2009?
I’ll be presenting My Father’s House, which will be released in February. The film’s set in the Basque country and centres on a family who return home after spending many years in Argentina. It’s about reunions.
This year, I’ll also be releasing – although I don’t know when – a UK film entitled Bunny and the Bull. As for films I’m preparing, I have various projects underway, but they’re still a bit up in the air so I prefer not to comment on them.
I hope 2009 brings some exceptional moments. The current situation in the world is quite tense and the lack of love is evident, but I have a feeling we’re going to react and this change will affect film. I’m talking more about life, but film and life are directly related.
You’ve already worked in Europe, what is the value of that experience in terms of your future?
I’d love to work abroad. The experience in England was wonderful, so I’d like to repeat it. In my work, I enjoy anything that involves a challenge. Having to perform a role in another language gives you another element to prepare.
If you could choose your perfect film, what would it be like?
I’d love to work with Guillermo del Toro. And with Tim Burton, it goes without saying. I really like this type of fantasy film. I also like Michel Gondry’s work.
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