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Emilio Gutiérrez Caba: “Current leaders are not very knowledgeable and have a really perverse intelligence”

Last December, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba visited the Faculty of Geography and History of the UB within the 11th Spanish Film Tribuene, organized by the Film-History Research Centre.

Last December, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba visited the Faculty of Geography and History of the UB within the 11th Spanish Film Tribuene, organized by the Film-History Research Centre.

He comes from a family of actors and actresses, so his childhood and adolescence passed in an artistic environment.

He comes from a family of actors and actresses, so his childhood and adolescence passed in an artistic environment.

26/02/2013

Emilio Gutiérrez Caba (Valladolid, 1942) comes from a family of actors and actresses, so his childhood and adolescence passed in an artistic environment. He studied theatre in San Isidro high school in Madrid and was part of its theater group. In the summer of 1962 he joined the theatre company of Lilí Murati and he made his first tour of Spain.

In 1968 he created his own company, together with María José Goyanes, and in 1970 he premiered a work written by Ana Diosdado, entitled Olvida los tambores, with the company of his sister Julia. Since 1979 he has premiered works by classic authors such as Gil Vicente, Calderón, Shakespeare, Joyce or Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, and he has continuously taken part in pieces of contemporary authors like Álvaro del Amo, Jorge Díaz, Fermín Cabal or Juan García Larrondo. In 1996 he played the character of don Diego in El sí de las niñas, by Moratín, and in 1998 he premiered a work that travelled all over Spain during nearly four seasons: La mujer de negro. In 2003 he premiered El príncipe y la corista, together with María Adánez, and in 2008 the work La muerte y la doncella, together with Luisa Martín.

In 1963 he made his debut on the big screen and since then he has participated in more than eighty films. His first important role was in Nueve cartas a Berta (1966), by Basilio Martín Patino, and he has had a remarkable role in other films such as La caza (1965), by Carlos Saura. In 2001 he received the Goya Award for the best supporting actor for La comunidad, by Álex de la Iglesia (the same night his sister Julia received the Goya Award for the best supporting actress), and got the same award in 2002 for El cielo abierto, by Miguel Albaladejo. In 2007 he was nominated for La torre de Suso, by Tom Fernández. Currently, he stars the TV series Gran Reserva.

Last December he visited the Faculty of Geography and History of the UB within the 11th Spanish Film Tribuene, organized by the Film-History Research Centre.

 

As son and grandson of actors, you have theatre in your blood. Do you think that you might have devoted yourself to any other job? Did you consider it at any time?

My first intention was to devote myself to other thing. In fact, I was not sure until I was 18 or 19. Before devoting myself to performance, I was working in a film laboratory and, then, in 1962 —50 years ago— I first stepped on a stage. But, at the beginning, neither my sister Clara nor I were sure of devoting ourselves to theatre.


Does coming from a family completely related to performance mean a great responsibility?

In fact, at that moment we did not consider that aspect. In the sixties I thought that it was a traditional job and I had to earn a living from it; I did not think about what I could achieve, simply if I was able to devote myself to it and live on.

My family, my father and my mother, were very good actors. My mother was a really character actress. They did not win a lot of money, but they lived comfortably because they worked all days (to stop one month meant an important problem). We grew up knowing that this job was a very hard one. When I began to work I was said several times that my sisters had set high standards. I used to say that they were women who had a career like actresses, and that I was another thing, I was an actor, from another generation and that I could do whatever I wanted.

My sisters and I were lucky to work also in television and cinema. I wish my parents could be able to do it! When I have any economic problem, any difficulty, I always think that if my mother came, she would slap me (he laughs).

 

Nearly all actors have a weakness for theater, but it is precisely on the stage where an actor can feel more defenseless (he cannot repeat if he makes a mistake, the audience is in front…). Does audience satisfaction make it so attractive?

I think that theatre’s peculiarity, at least for me, is that each day performance is the same, but so different at the same time. So, each day performance cannot be repeated. Some days you think that performance was excellence, but you may do it better… It is a daily challenge, a search and a continuous play with the public, who attends a unique, ephemeral and unrepeatable process. In cinema and television this is not possible because you are part of a very big team and you do not have so much control. Theatre is much smaller.

 

Does theatre keeps its original magic?

If any actor from the first century AD was placed in front of a stage and asked about what he is seeing, his answer would be “theatre”. In other words, he would recognize the theatre even 2,000 years later.

Being an actor can be really exciting, but it is also quite unstable and insecure (you never know if you will be working next month, timetables are complex, trips, etc.) How is life without having the possibility to make long term plans?

It is necessary to set yourself some routines. In fact, I have them. It is fundamental to know that work is the central point. You have a performance at 9 p.m. and that is your departure point to plan meals and rest. The performance world is unstable, but nowadays all is absolutely unstable, we do not know what will happen tomorrow. This prevents you from planning trips and other projects at certain moments, but it not so bad, it is important to remember that travelling was not so common before. Now we are like disorientated. Now, the people from Costa Brava that I know are continuously travelling. I always cite as an example Immanuelle Kant, who throughout his life he did not travel out of his native village, Königsberg. A thinker who left a really important philosophical knowledge, but who never left his village.


You have received two Goya Awards for La comunidad and El cielo abierto. Are prizes and awards important for you?

They are a recognition made by the others. They are really nice, depending on the person who gives them. They can also be not nice at all… For example, this year I would not like to receive any prize related to PP because I do not agree its politics; it would be unpleasant to refuse an award, but I will do it. It is a question of solidarity. A lot of people are having a really bad time and it would not be correct to accept a prize conferred by those people who are destroying our job in a very suspicious way.

 

Do you consider that performance in particular and culture in general are being maltreated?

Yes, absolutely, and in a really arrogant way. They think that actors and actresses are responsible for two things that, as citizens, we had the right to do them. First, we were against Iraq war (every day we showed a poster). Second, the loss of 2004 elections after the attack which took place in Madrid, and the only culprit was Aznar’s government. A government must not allow these things to have an influence. It is really suspicious that in twenty years I had never been done me any tax inspection, but in March 2012 I got one.

I think that culture has been vetoed. It is a completely defencelessness. Current government likes to dirty its hands. They are not open to dialogue, they are not receptive. Although there are sensible people in our country, even in the ranks of PP, our current leaders are not very knowledgeable and have a really perverse intelligence. There is a lot of sectarianism.
 

The work Poder absoluto, that you performed in Villarroel theatre in Barcelona together with Eduard Farel·lo, is precisely a political thriller by Roger Peña that immerses us in the world of the corruption and unmasks the reality of public political life...

The work is based in a real case: the one of an Austrian politician, Kurt Waldheim, who after having been general secretary of the United Nations and president of Austria, is discovered that he was officer of the SS. When the scandal was uncovered, his political career ended. The work carries us to Austria in the nineties and shows us the life of an individual, who is quite alike Waldheim, and his confrontation with a younger politician.
 

Which are your most immediate projects?

We will perform this work in Valencia and Madrid. Then, we will record three chapters of the TV series Gran Reserva. If the third season works well, then ten more chapters to complete the fourth season will be recorded.


As a lover of the sea and with a career which lasts more than 50 years, do you think about retiring to a coastal village or are you an actor who will never get off the stage?

In fact, I have already retired some periods to Coast Brava. When I was thirty-three until I was forty-four I was in Coast Brava, it was a really happy time. I think that it is good to retire from time to time and then go back. You must retire definitively only if decadence is worrying.

 

 

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