Irene Escolar and Marta Etura, emotions under suspicion

Marta Etura is petite and her face has an intense green look.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 10:32
5 Reads
Irene Escolar and Marta Etura, emotions under suspicion

Marta Etura is petite and her face has an intense green look. Irene Escolar speaks softly, with a reflective tone. They arrive at the appointment separately; Etura rushed due to the delay in her journey to Barcelona. She asks for a couple of minutes and generously responds. Both stop, yes, when the issue approaches the personal. After two long decades of career, they coincide on screen.

Irene Escolar (Madrid, 1988) is the fifth generation of the Gutiérrez Caba saga and that marks. At the age of 10 she made her debut in theater, in film she filmed with Saura, Aranda or Cuerda, she won the Goya for Autumn Without Berlin and added films such as Official Competition or The Girls Are Fine; and on television, Isabel or Tell me who I am. For Marta Etura (San Sebastián, 1978) cinema has been her most prolific medium. After her Goya for Celda 211, came While You Sleep, The Impossible and the Baztán Trilogy, as well as theater and television and the short Lucía as director.

Now they share The Long Shadows of Clara Roquet (Goya for Freedom) on Disney. A psychological thriller that explores the past wounds of a group of friends whose lives are turned upside down when the body of a classmate who disappeared on the end-of-year trip, 25 years before, appears. The fact uncovers the guilt, the suspicion. Escolar is the victim's police sister; Etura, one of the friends. Both praise the work environment of the eminently female team that signs the series.

How was this filming different?

Irene: There have never been so many teams made up of women. In this case that made a difference, but I don't know if it was because they were women or because of how power is exercised. I see young directors in that vein. I don't just reduce it to gender.

Marta: I agree, I think it is more of a generational change. Hierarchy is necessary, but before we did not work as a team.

I: There was less listening. Character also influences. Roquet is very kind and respectful, and something beautiful happened: we actresses saw that her way of working worked and we united in supporting it and shielding ourselves from external things that would question it. There were those who had misgivings.

M: It has been extraordinary, it should always be like this. The director is the captain, he sets the course, but if he listens to his crew, the result grows. Maybe women have more capacity for it, I don't know. Clara does, your proposals have a place and she is fascinating.

What is the series about?

I: How the patriarchal system has exercised power over these women in different ways; In Marta's character it is very evident, in mine too, caused by a father who has created chaos in her family.

M: Talk about how unhealthy secrets can be. All the characters have some and it generates a wound in them and in their environment; they try to survive. If the wounds are not healed, they become entrenched and cause problems. This bad habit comes from a generation where emotions were not talked about, certain problems were swept under the rug.

Because of prejudices, because of what they will say...

M: There is a lot of that in my character, wanting to be a perfect family in front of the public when behind closed doors it is very different.

I: Some are women who learn to live with their ideals without considering that perhaps they are not what makes them happy. It is a struggle to see what life you want to lead and how you live with the past.

M: Everyone will identify with something. Secrets, pretending to be what you are not. Unfulfilled dreams... who fulfills all their dreams? Nobody.

It also talks about friendship. What do they ask of you?

I: I think loyalty, being consistent with that bond.

M: Me, it's just... I don't ask anything of friendship. Friendship happens or it doesn't, and when it is generated it is unconditional love. You accept each other as you are and a very strong bond is generated, until it lasts.

What kind of teenagers were they?

M: I… a very lost teenager (laughs). I was very clear that I wanted to be an actress and that desire was my salvation, an anchor that grabbed me and did me a lot of good; If not, I probably would have gotten lost.

I: I was very responsible, it coincided with the separation of my parents and there was something about taking charge of myself, moving forward. And a lot of search for joy. I was enthusiastic and I loved interpreting, at 11 I was already going to classes. It was my healthy way to compensate for the pain of separation. I wanted to be really good at what I did so I wouldn't cause any more problems, I guess.

Have those dreams come true?

M: Yes, I am very lucky. Like Irene, my parents separated when I was a teenager and that throws you off. When I was able to go to Madrid to study, channeling emotions into something creative was very healing.

This work is therapeutic…

I: Yes it is. Self-knowledge, great excitement, putting yourself at risk and overcoming it leaves you with a feeling of growth. Although when you like something so much you are also prey to it. And if you don't have it, it's painful.

M: It has very good things. Working as a team is fabulous, you benefit from the knowledge of others. It's cathartic because you use characters to bring things out of you. And as Irene says, it challenges you and is very healthy.

At what point in your career are you?

M: If I look back, I feel very lucky and if I look forward, I am excited, not the same as when I was 20 years old, because I am 45, but I do want to continue growing in this profession that is so uncertain and crazy, so wonderful.

I: I want to think that the best is yet to come, challenges that are out there waiting. I never cease to be surprised by the things that happen to me.

Has it ever happened to you that you don't know how to approach a role?

I: There are so many possibilities! In the theater it sometimes happens that you have had many sessions and suddenly you see where the character is going. “Ah, this was like that and now I realize it!” Because you can try a lot.

M: I never put myself in the position of saying: “I'm choking on this.” I do a prior analysis of the character and the story, and then, when I arrive at the shoot or the theater, my premise is “here and now.” There are days when you fly in the show and it turns out incredible and other days you don't achieve it as much.

But you already feel safe, right?

I: Don't we doubt? Oh, yes, it is good to doubt, there is humility in it.

M: You are still afraid, if it weren't like that you would be dead. You work with your body, emotions and experiences and all of this changes.

What is this moment in your life like?

M: Oh, step by step. It is something very intimate, very personal.

I: I'm not sure, honestly, I'd have to stop and think. Also, if I answer and she doesn't, it looks bad...(laughs)

How would they be defined?

I: I think I am enthusiastic. And also afraid. I'm afraid of the dark, of the plane, although I don't stop traveling on it.

M: Hard-working, enthusiastic, very familiar and loving: I need affection in the family and at work to feel good.

Marta has a daughter, Chloe (7). Have they talked about motherhood?

I: The truth is that no. Right now it's not in my plans.

M: It is the greatest gift that life has given me. My daughter has made me heal wounds, know myself more, feel unconditional love. She is my teacher.

When choosing a job, do you think about its message?

M: It is the essence of our profession, since ancient Greece theater has been a vehicle to denounce the abuse of power and invite reflection. And it is the magic of cinema, to entertain, but also to generate debate.

I: If you can afford it, you do have to think about the message. It is then chosen from privilege. There are those who cannot consider it because they need work to eat and it is a precarious profession. We must not forget it, at least in this country.