Diego Velázquez: “Independent cinema is very bastardized”

Diego Velazquez travels through the different facets of acting activity with tools worthy of an experienced archaeologist willing to unravel ancient mysteries and discover hidden treasures.

In theater he knew how to dazzle in the unforgettable staging of “The stubbornness”in a remembered version of “Cock” beside Leonardo Sbaraglia and Eleonora Wexler and also in “Failed Writer”, “State of Rage” and “The Lambs”.

In the cinema he showed his versatility in proposals as diverse as “The long night of Francisco Sanctis”, “The queen of fear”, “The teacher”, “Las Rojas”, “Wild tales” and “Kryptonite”.

Now, this man from Mar del Plata with the name of a painter has become a figure required by streaming platforms. After the policeman who played in the ultraviolent “Among men”, he was summoned for the second season of “The kingdom” and stars “Saint Avoid”ambitious adaptation of the novel by Tomás Eloy Martínez that can be seen on Star Plus.
In a Buenos Aires hotel that celebrates the four seasons, Diego Velázquez receives NOTICIAS ready to talk.

News: Although at the end of the day it’s just about acting, how did you prepare to play a journalist in “Santa Evita”?

Diego Velazquez: Since this particular journalist is an alter ego of Tomás Eloy Martínez, I went directly to read what he had written and also many notes that were made to him regarding the work he had done in Santa Evita. But later, when reading the scripts, since this story is a thriller, it was almost inevitable for me to think of the American cinema of the 70s. In movies like “All the President’s Men” and playing at being a journalist in danger due to his investigation, with a moral not so clear. I decided to launch into my own fantasy of all that cinema that I have seen and I love it.

News: His performance in “The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis” is still remembered today, it seems that cinema and streaming are giving him the opportunity to go through different aspects of our history. Are you particularly interested in that exploration?

Velazquez: Yes, rather than doing a period exercise, I am interested in focusing on what happened. The facts and circumstances that are particularly at stake in these fictions are very interesting. The same thing when I had to do “Among men”, there was something from a closer era, such as the ’90s, but which cuts across current reality in a resounding way. And in productions like these, where you have all the support behind you to be able to create the setting that the story needs, that is appreciated.

News: Although you did a lot of film and television, is the future of actors today in streaming?

Velazquez: The present at least yes, because I would tell you that we hardly have any other way to get a job. Independent cinema is extremely bastardized, there is very little commercial cinema, theater too, there is practically no fiction on TV, so the existence of productions that come here to hire a lot of people, to provide continuity of work for many professionals in countless items. On the other hand, it would be important to see what are the needs of other sectors that do not seek a commercial purpose and carry out more peripheral work such as independent cinema.

News: Do you think that Argentine independent cinema is in trouble?

Velazquez: The truth is, all independent production in general. We should see if in that sense another type of series could be made, something that was tried at the time, it was a move that was good for me, it had fifteen hundred errors, but also a number of successes. The positive could have been taken to move forward, but it was abandoned and it is a shame, because content was produced throughout the country that the platforms are not interested in. There have to be other models, but there it is the State that must regulate this situation. The speed with which independent cinema is falling is alarming.

News: There is also the issue of this new hybrid format by which the films are seen very little in the cinema and quickly end up on the platforms. I think of “Las Rojas”, where he also acted with Natalia Oreiro, for example. which can be seen on Star Plus.

Velazquez: When we started with the project, Star Plus was not yet there, but it is part of these new logics that are taking place. It was a Patagonik movie, then the pandemic came and there were no theaters to release. There, many films managed to associate themselves with platforms in order to recover some of what they had invested. Now I know that there is this thing that the platform buys a film already made and in other cases perhaps the issue of streaming is already present from the beginning.

News: Going back to “Santa Evita”, for you the theme of literature is a constant, it was linked to Rodolfo Walsh, also to Roberto Arlt. Do you like that connection with the literary?

Velazquez: It has happened and it is something I am grateful for. Having the possibility at the time to make that material with “The crazy seven” was very good, something like that amuses me more than interpreting the writer as in “Walsh”. Cinema and TV go to literary material in search of stories to capture. I like to find its translation on screen to that language of the book, it is an exciting and difficult job. Making a speech by Arlt heard on television may seem impossible beforehand. Embarking on things like this amuses me, then you never know what the results will be, but the challenge is worth it.

News: One of the last movies we saw him in was “El maestro”. Who were his teachers in the profession?

Velazquez: I would tell you that Ciro Zorzoli, a director with whom I work a lot. And then, all the movies I saw. He was very sick of watching movies and studying actors, he made me files with everyone and also with the movies. Then, with the real professions, comes the work of demystifying the teachers and all that you thought was a certain way. A teacher is sometimes a self-defeating figure and one understands that perhaps one learns more from one’s castmates than from an idealized figure. Seeing others work, it seems to me that the real school is there.

News: Can it be said that you learned more from Paola Barrientos than from Marlon Brando?

Velazquez: Without a doubt, we have already done seven works with it. The other thing is the first contacts with acting, that something stuns you and wanting to do that. Then you realize that you’re not going to get to Brando (laughs).

News: If we talk about idealized characters, one is Eva Perón. Did you change her image of her with this project? Will the series serve to modify or reaffirm some ideas?

Velazquez: My bond with the figure of Eva did not change, but it became more present to me because I saw and read a lot of things about her again. What caught my attention the most was Tomás Eloy’s work with fiction, it is important to understand that this is a fable based on some real events, but not everything that happens in the series happened, what he did Tomás to turn something into reality that did not exist is very strong but it causes some people to consider certain questions. The series shows the passions that it arouses, all the love and hate towards it, it seems to me that today it is more present than ever. It would be nice if seeing her all those who hate her with a darker passion could calm her down and empathize a little with that body that she was in a path without peace for so long.

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