The office where Santiago Segura (Madrid, 55 years old) welcomes us displays the four posters of his most popular hits, in which he is a fat man who fights noisy battles, and in more modest posters he is a skinny father tormented by future of his children in a society in which, finally, the children can do more than he. On A full train: destination Asturias, This latest premiere of his saga for children (and for adults), one of his weapons to dissuade train inspectors or gasoline salesmen is a ventolin, with which he himself relieved his asthma in times of greatest illness, when he was a teenager when that they called “the fat man of the third” in his neighborhood of Madrid.
Now he weighs 62 kilos, and with that current figure he talks about what he feels about everything that lives. [Después de la entrevista arreciaron los rumores sin confirmar sobre sus relaciones contractuales con el productor José Luis Moreno. A requerimiento de EL PAÍS, el cineasta comentó: “Bulos, rumores, habladurías… Ladran, señal de que cabalgamos”.]
Question. That windmill in the movie is the one that once saved yourself from asthma.
Answer. It is a kind of lifeline for man. “I can’t breathe,” you said, and a placebo relieved you anyway … I was asthmatic and that’s how it happened: I suggested the placebo and you got out of the way. The human body is a son of a bitch. Our mind constantly betrays us. It happens now with the pandemic, when they tell you that if your immune system is weak, it makes you stronger. We are dolls.
P. In the movie, children are more powerful than parents.
R. Freer, because they have more security, more self-esteem … My character is cowardly. Until he dares, because he sees the children in danger. When you make a movie you empathize with the characters so that people feel close to them, and the truth is that, as in this case, there is no worse nightmare for a parent than the idea of losing their children. That man that I star in is in a state that forces people to feel at his side. Instead, the children identify with the children, and in the film they win. They are excited to be older. My mother gave me a few pesetas to go for bread. And I thought: “My mother wants me for a high-level mission.”
“Who cares about my brainy opinion, I feel like I’m indoctrinating
P. The father here makes the journey to be like them. Is the child that was there?
R. Filming with children, like having children, makes you relive childhood. When I gave one of my daughters for the first time an ice cream, I saw in her face the cold and the flavors of my own face in childhood. I do not know if I lived that childhood the same as the one she lives now, but I am living mine very happy. I said to Flo [Florentino Fernández, actor en la película]. The bad thing about filming with children is when they say “cut!”: They are going to play and we keep changing the camera …
P. What is the off-camera relationship between you and the children like?
R. That of niñify you It seems unnatural to me, it makes me sick. You have to treat them normally, they appreciate it. It is pedantry when you are not able to adjust your speech to the interlocutor. Suddenly, if I speak with a university professor, it is not the same as when I speak with a pastor… Culture is not a throwing weapon, and neither is maturity. You don’t have to talk to children in a special way, but you don’t have to talk to them as if they were adults. Well, I have said many things and I have not said anything.
P. You like to comment that you do not say anything interesting in the interviews, but there are interesting metaphors in your speech.
R. It happens to me that when I give an interview what I want is to make people laugh. Who cares about a thoughtful opinion of me, I feel like I’m indoctrinating. People said they read Playboy for the interviews. But there were some in-depth interviews, with Woody Allen, for example, that I read and reread when I started studying. Then I read one, when it rolled Interiors, That bored me a bit, maybe because I had decided that getting a smile was more important.
“I love to break the balls a little for those who have things very clear
P. It may also be that you perceive that there is a cliché ahead that you do not want to break.
R. Also. That I want them to say: “This Segura is horny …”. José Luis López Vázquez once told me: “An actor, Santiaguete, does not have to be from any party, from any religion, and, if possible, from any soccer team, because the public loves you as an actor.” Sometimes that is sad, because there are times when you have to speak your mind, especially against injustices. It is important to take sides. But not always. I often say: “I am not from any team or from any party, because I am already disappointed by myself.” Humor is my flag or my religion. Now there is a lot of tension, if people were to take what happens with more humor, if we listened, if we were the devil’s advocates … I love to break the balls of those who have things very clear. Contradict them, even if you think the same. Doubt is removed, because doubt is intelligent.
P. It seems that the doubts are all resolved, perhaps.
R. I live in a permanent incognito, although for life not to be hell some maxim or guideline is needed. As a child I was looking for meaning in life, until I told myself that it did not matter, that we were going to be food for bacteria. Now I think that you don’t have to hurt, not suffer, not be exasperated, and then die peacefully and merge with nature. Life is a kind of cosmic joke that I can’t understand, but I’m going to try to have a good time and laugh.
“When I was a boy I was looking for meaning in life, until I told myself that it did not matter, that we were going to be food for bacteria
P. You were a fat boy, your classmates made fun of you. Did you suffer?
R. Who does not. Actually, apart from being wonderful, children are cruel. I was a fat kid with fancy glasses. What do you want? Taunt assured. My name is Santiago Segura Silva, how could they not yell at me Santiago Silba !? ”. Whatever your name is, they are going to bitch you. My father told me one day to hit me, and I didn’t know how to do it, until I hurt one of them and left me alone. I remember everything as something unpleasant, and perhaps that is why I have tried all my life to escape the conflict.
P. As a young man he went with a camera asking people in the neighborhood if they knew the famous Santiago Segura. Until a child told him that yes, he was the fat man from the third …
R. I told him to say it! Eddie Murphy was asked if he was surprised by fame, and he said he had never doubted that he was going to be famous. And it’s not for being a leftover, I always thought that one day it would be, that at the end of all the steps there would be something like that. But it was not a great effort, it was taking small steps. And I started out being a chubby guy with glasses, self-conscious. But as it was more things …!
“I was a fat kid with fancy glasses. What do you want? Taunt assured.
P. Was asthma part of that chubby complex fabrication?
R. Neither flat feet nor asthma. The chubby thing, yes. I never liked being overweight, but since I was a kid I was a sweet junkie. My happiness has always been related to stopping eating sweets. But I can give you a guide to all the workshops in Madrid!
P. Torrente was the fat bandit, the father of these films is the skinny one who cares about his children. It is as if, through the cinema, you explain your two personalities.
R. Faced with this question, I would ask for a couch. But I don’t feel that way, as you put it. I left the Torrente saga because I said I wanted the public to enjoy it. I preferred to go myself, after so many millions of collection, before they threw me out. And also my mother did not like Stream because there I looked fat, fat. She died at 64, of cancer. When he died I told myself that nobody was ever going to give a penny for me. A love so unconditional that I will have no more. It is an orphan, a brutal stab. After Stream I thought that family cinema should be the next step. I did the first part of this series and it was fabulous. I love the family that I have created, in which I have put my two daughters. It is like the happy family.
“When my mother died, I told myself that no one was ever going to give a penny for me. A love so unconditional that I will have no more. It’s an orphan, a brutal stab
P. On Stream those clean and beautiful hands of yours are dirty. As if erasing them …
R. My mother used to say: “With those beautiful hands … You should be a hand model!” And I said: “Yes, the penalty is the rest, who has not accompanied me.” Since you say so, at every premiere of Stream I said to myself: “What a shame in the hands. You should have hands with more hair, more morcillonas … “. Since they are fine and pianist, we put shit in our nails with a kind of judean polish. Stream It didn’t smell bad, it didn’t need to smell bad, like De Niro or the method actors, so it had to be artificially dirtied.
P. Is that Peter Pan that he was still alive in you?
R. It tells you a happy moment. I am little, I am five or six years old, and I am with my mother on Sunday watching Voyage to the stars that we both loved. That communion I have not felt again. And at that moment I felt safe, at ease, it was not school.