Blanca Portillo to play Teresa for Paula Ortiz
- The actress will put herself in the capable hands of the director of The Bride in this adaptation of Juan Mayorga’s play La lengua en pedazos, based on the life of Saint Teresa of Avila
In the last few days, Blanca Portillo has been in Toledo to resume filming for the feature debut by Iván Ruiz Flores, Portrait of a White Woman With Grey Hair and Wrinkles, the shoot for which was interrupted by the state of emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. However, she already has another, equally interesting, project in her diary: Teresa, a film adaptation of the stage play La lengua en pedazos, written by Juan Mayorga (whose El chico de la última fila was previously brought to the big screen by French helmer François Ozon, in In the House [+see also:
film profile]), about the titular Saint Teresa of Avila, famed for her poems and mystical deeds. The woman tasked with converting words to images is Paula Ortiz, who made her directorial debut in 2011 with Chrysalis [+see also:
film profile] and garnered much praise five years later with The Bride [+see also:
interview: Paula Ortiz
film profile], a daring, loose adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding.
Ortiz has just seen her contribution to the series At Home (see the news) – in which she directed (by video call) actresses Celia Freijeiro and Julia Castro in a black-and-white comedy about two friends who have to live together during the recent period of self-isolation – released on HBO España, and for Teresa, she will be able to rely on the talents of two other fantastic actors: Greta Fernández, who will breathe life into the young version of the main character, and Asier Etxeandía, who played one of the lead roles in the director’s previous film, and who this time will step into the shoes of the inquisitor who will grill the main character over the course of one long night. “It will be an emotional, dialectic, poetic and political duel, between two different forms of belief,” according to the filmmaker. The saint’s future will depend entirely on this very conversation, as it will lead to either freedom or death.
Talking about the project to the Spanish Film Academy magazine, producer Álex Lafuente declared: “Without a doubt, Paula is one of the most surprising, brilliant and courageous female directors working in Spain today. After the critical and commercial success of The Bride, together we once again set about adapting one of the most famous works of modern-day playwriting. Teresa brings us closer to one of the most fascinating characters in our history, Saint Teresa of Avila, in order to uncover her thoughts and beliefs, but also her doubts, which, surprisingly, are completely relevant and timely. And it will do so through a beautiful, daring and delicate cinematic proposition.”
This will not be the first time that the life of Saint Teresa of Avila has been portrayed on the big screen, as she has been played by Concha Velasco, Aurora Bautista and Paz Vega, among other actresses; the latter did so in 2007’s Theresa: The Body of Christ [+see also:
film profile], author Ray Loriga’s second foray to date into movie directing.
Teresa is a production by BlueBird Films, Inicia Films and Txintxua, which boasts the involvement of ICEC and Televisión de Aragón. The shoot will take place at various locations in the Basque Country, Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre. BTeam Pictures will be in charge of distributing it in autumn 2021.
(Translated from Spanish)
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