[If you want to read this article in Portuguese click here]
Comic Con Portugal 2019 began with the panel of two of the most recognized Iberian faces of the moment: Itziar Ituño and Esther Acebo, lead actresses of the worldwide successful Spanish TV show La Casa de Papel.
Panel and press conference:
The actresses went on stage with a row of applause. Led by Rita Rugeroni, portuguese radio host at Rádio Comercial, the panel began with a conversation between the three, where Ituño and Acebo talked about the expectations of their roles, the experience on set and the impact that the success of the TV show had in their personal lives.
Itziar revealed that when she found out about the opportunity to play Raquel Murillo she was busy with other projects and that she didn’t really feel like doing the casting at all. However, it was important to do it anyway, as a way of exposing herself and her work, and on that same day she got the role. Esther, on the other hand, said that she was very excited to do the casting for the role of Monica Gaztambide. The feedback she got from that first attempt was that her profile didn’t seem to fit that of the character because of her curly hair. She auditioned a second time so that the directors could figure out if it made sense to choose her or not and, finally, on a third attempt she got the role after doing a “chemistry test” with Jaime Lorente (Denver).
Both said they had a lot of fun on set and, while answering a question from the fans, they elected the hardest scene to film. For Itziar it was the moment when The Professor is tied up and she uses a polygraph to see whether or not he’s telling the truth. For Esther, it was when Monica decides to take an abortion pill and has to walk in front of Berlin (Pedro Alonso) with a cellphone hidden on her jumpsuit and the phone rings, as well as the whole scene that follows, where she has an argument with Denver.
Regarding the fact that now they’re both easily recognized on the street, they said that it was something that happened really fast and that ordinary things like going to the supermarket or having dinner at a restaurant are no longer the same, because everyone knows who they are and asks for a photo or an autograph. Even for their families it’s a bit weird and both actresses admitted that sometimes, when people are looking intently at them, they pretend they don’t realize it and walk away.
At the press conference, Itziar Ituño revealed that the biggest challenge of interpreting Raquel Murillo was giving life to a woman that had been abused by her husband and the fact that she falls in love with the enemy when she’s a police agent. For Esther Acebo it was coming face to face with a character that isn’t exactly what she looks like and transforms herself into someone else.
When asked by us if she believes that Monica actually has Stockholm Syndrome or that the love she feels for Denver is real, the actress answered that at first she really thought Monica was in love with Denver, but after a conversation with the director and watching the episodes she realized the character was suffering from the syndrome.
The actresses thanked the fact that everyone had been talking with them in Spanish and confessed they were a bit scared they were going to have to try to understand Portuguese or speak in English. They also referred that a door opened for the Spanish language with La Casa de Papel – and also for German and French – because of all the European productions that are currently being made and taking these idioms all over the world.
About the robberies, Itziar said that she thinks it’s funny that people are emulating in real life what they did on the series, in countries such as Mexico and Brazil. Esther finds it hard to root for criminals.
They both said that one of the biggest fears amongst actors is that of being stuck with one character throughout their whole career, but that it’s a risk they have to take. Other projects will eventually show up and one must live in the now. Still, one of the silver linings of the fame they have now is being able to choose their next role, instead of just taking whatever is available. Esther also confessed her desire to play other genres, such as romantic comedies, so she can take off the weight of explosions and heavy guns from her shoulders.