Nacho G. Velilla: «Drama distorts reality more than comedy»

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“Half a million men travel to Istanbul every year to get their hair done.” When Nacho G. Velilla read that headline in a newspaper, he knew immediately that within that sentence there was a movie. «The ideas for my films come from observation, from looking at what is happening around me. In this case, it caught my attention that something that used to belong to footballers or famous presenters has suddenly spread to the point where everyone has a cousin or a neighbor who has gone to Turkey to get their hair done.», says Nacho. ‘By the hair’his seventh film as a director, tells the story of three men with alopecia (two policemen and a reggaeton singer) who decide to head to Turkey to solve their hair problems.

To prepare the film, Velilla interviewed several people who had gone through that experience “to understand the feelings, the motives and the emotions that led them to do it. Then I traveled to Istanbul and was in several clinics. During the film, I made about seven trips and on the plane I always found groups of bald men with little red dots on their heads.” Alopecia is only the starting point for a film that reflects on issues such as family, relationships or, of course, self-esteem The director maintains that comedy is always the best way to deal with the most serious matters: «I have always said that drama distorts reality more than comedy and that dramatic stories tend to tell extraordinary things. The best comedies (those of Mario Monicellithose of Luis Garcia Berlangathose of billy wilder…) are reflections of their time and deal with problems that are universal and very close, but they do not have less depth than a drama for that reason ».

Although ‘remakes’ of films from other countries are becoming more and more frequent in Spanish cinema, Velilla continues to bet on original scripts that he always writes together with Oriol Capel, David S. Olivas Y Anthony Sanchezregular contributors since the series ‘7 lives’. «I have been offered many ‘remakes’ both here and abroad, but in Spain I prefer to make my original stories because I like to start from a story that I completely understand and emotionally fabricate. The writing and directing process is very complex, especially in comedy. In order not to lose that balance between humor and truth, I must understand and manage the story 100%, “admits Velilla. The director does not understand why, to this day, comedy is still such a reviled genre in a country where “our best films are comedies. I am thinking of the works of Berlanga or Fernando Fernan Gomez… I am surprised by this story that it is not valued enough. It is very difficult to do comedy. Every year in Spain dozens of comedies are released but there are only three or four that really reach the public».

The protagonists

Although it is common for Nacho G. Velilla’s films to star great stars of Spanish cinema such as Javier Camara either carmen machi, in ‘Por los pelos’ has decided to bet on three actors that we usually see in leading roles. «When I write I usually have an actor in my head but, in this case, it was not like that. Here I wanted to make everything very believable and for the actors to treat the comedy honestly and tell the story with their guts. I did a completely open casting process and thanks to that I have found actors I had never worked with and I have been very happy shooting with them. Nacho made the decision to choose three actors who are far from having any hair problems because he considered that “people who think about having surgery are people who are not in a process of total baldness and I thought it was easier to make someone worse than to improve them” . However, he soon realized that he had made a mistake. «Antonio is probably the Spanish actor with the most hair. Trying to make him, Carlos and Tomy bald took us 3 or 4 hours every day“, remember.

The three protagonists are Antonio Pagado (‘The one that is coming’), Charles Librado (‘Operation Shrimp’) and Tommy Aguilera (‘Welcome to Eden’). Pagudo, which this summer has also premiered
“Neighborhood Heroes”
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‘Mom not in Networks’
, claims to be living a sweet time: «Having three characters that are on the billboard right now and that are three completely different types is a dream for any actor who likes to transform. It will be very difficult to maintain this pace of work but it has emerged like this and it is time to enjoy it».Antonio, who had to gain weight before filming because “it was fundamental to his character”, assures that ‘Por los pelos’ will serve to demolish many myths about those mysterious trips to Turkey: “We were lucky enough to see everything with our own eyes, being in the clinic, seeing how it is done and, above all, the results. When you see how happy people are after they’ve gone under the knife, you realize they’re solving something that’s important to them. I think it is something that is very taboo and that is not discussed among men. You can talk about other problems but not that one».

Although Carlos Librado (also known as ‘Nene’) made a name for himself as a monologuist rather than as an actor, his first notable roles as a performer were in ‘thrillers’ and dramas such as the

Baztan Trilogy or the series ‘giants’. “Actually, I really like movies, in quotes, serious. I was very lucky because, Coming from the world of ‘stand-up comedy’, it is normal that your first role in fiction is a comedy and that can become a handicap if you are pigeonholed there. If given the choice, I’d go with drama but I’m happy to do comedy. I had a great time, “acknowledges Carlos. Unlike his character, Librado claims not to have any self-esteem problems: «I love seeing myself on screen. I have seen and reviewed my works many times. As a cinephile that I have been since I was a kid, it seemed like an impossible dream to see myself on a big screen or on a movie poster… It seemed so unattainable that, once I have achieved it, how is it going to give me thing to see me if it’s something I’ve wanted all my life?

Playing reggaeton singer Rayco, Tomy Aguilera has been able to unite his two great passions: acting and music. «The songs of my character have nothing to do with what I produce, although there are reggaeton songs that I like. But I’ve always thought that the more sticks you can play, the better you’ll be at your thing. In that sense, ‘Por los pelos’ has been a gift », he admits. To prepare the film, the young actor assures that he spent a lot of time listening to reggaeton and that he tried to create a character that was “a mixture of things that I liked about the personalities of various singers. With the tone of the film and an aesthetic so far removed from mine, it was very easy to fall into parody. So I decided to treat it like it was my own music, I helped make one of the lyrics to make it sound like a real song.”

‘Por los pelos’ hits theaters on August 12.

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Nacho G. Velilla: «Drama distorts reality more than comedy»