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Alfonso Herrera: "Mexicans are sons of bitches"

2023-03-27T16:18:47.120Z


The Mexican actor talks to EL PAÍS about his participation in the film '¡Que Viva México!' and about the origins that catapulted him to fame


He is one of the most requested actors in Mexican cinema.

Born in Mexico City 39 years ago, Alfonso Herrera has built, project by project, a solid track record that has led him to gain recognition inside and outside of Mexico.

In 2021 he was the winner of the Ariel Award for Best Actor for

The Dance of the 41

and this year he was awarded the Ondas Award for best sound fiction actor for

Batman Unearthed

.

Herrera has just released the latest film by Luis Estrada,

¡Que Viva México!

, a political and social satire that will give a lot to talk about because it criticizes Mexican society as a whole.

He shares the bill with a luxury cast including Damián Alcázar, Ana de la Reguera and Joaquín Cosío, among others.

This is Estrada's second film in which the actor participates.

In 2014, he had a role in

The Perfect Dictatorship,

a film that criticized the launch of a candidate from the largest television station in the country.

That cost him to be fired from that great television station, Televisa, where he was one of the actors on the staff.

That break, as he himself admits, radically changed his life.

Then came

Sense 8

, the Wachowski sisters' series with which he made the leap to the United States, and

Ozark

, which ended up consolidating Herrera as a versatile actor who feels comfortable in both drama and comedy.

Alfonso Herrera speaks with EL PAÍS by video call from his house in Mexico City, about to board a plane that will take him to Argentina, where he awaits his next project with Camila Sosa Villada.

Unlike his character in

¡Que Viva México!,

Herrera does not deny his past or his origins in the cinema, when all of Mexico discovered him in the adolescent drama

Amarte Duele

(2002).

Later

Rebel would arrive,

one of the most successful teen series of all time, which ended up making him an idol for millions of girls and boys on and off stage.

Since then, most people know him as Poncho, the diminutive of his name, and that's fine with him.

Ask.

How would you define

¡Que Viva México!

?

Answer.

Like a soulless mirror of who we are, of our society and of Mexicanness.

Luis's cinema does not invite you, it pushes you towards reflection, but at the same time the cinema works to entertain.

I think they're going to run into a giant mirror where they're probably going to see themselves.

And if that doesn't happen, then they will probably see their relatives, because it portrays the Mexican family very well.

Q.

What is it like to work with Luis Estrada?

R.

Working with Luis is the best, because he is a walking library of Mexican cinema and world cinema.

He breathes cinema, smokes cinema, everything that has to do with his life is associated with cinema.

So I always want to be on a

Luis

set , not just for the luck of telling that story, but for the experience of being with him.

Being on this shoot is like being with family, because we all know each other.

Q.

And what is it like to make a movie with him again after almost 10 years?

R.

Very funny but loaded with rigor.

I say that in this country there should be a genre called.

“Luis Estrada Genre” because it uses satire, black comedy and humor in a unique way to make fun of us and also to learn.

Luis has taken him to a place where he is unique, other directors have tried to replicate his tone, but they don't get it.

Q.

Is it true that you left everything when this paper fell on you?

R.

If Luis talks to me, I'll be there, just like he played for me at some point.

For me, Luis changed my life and changed my career.

Q.

I imagine that Televisa was not very happy that he made

The Perfect Dictatorship...

R.

They fired me from Televisa.

They told me: "If you make that film you won't be able to be in this company", for two reasons, I had an exclusivity, a fixed monthly payment with them and, for another, they wanted me to make a novel about a sexy priest.

P.

He hung up his cassock for running away with Luis Estrada...

R.

Not even in my wildest dreams would I have thought of making a movie about him and he ended up giving me a role.

Q.

In these times when cancellation is the order of the day, aren't you afraid of launching such a politically incorrect film?

R.

I think it is necessary.

We are in very delicate times in which whatever you say you will be judged.

More now, that social networks have become an inquisition where any comment is catapulted to the maximum.

One of the characteristics that Luis has is that he speaks and says things as they are and his cinema is like that: direct, raw and hard.

Because he as a person is also exactly the same.

I would say that his cinema is necessary and if there is something that matters a lot to him, it is not self-censoring.

Q.

Could you finish this sentence?

Mexicans are...

R.

Mexicans are sons of bitches, as Octavio Paz would say.

Because being a son of a bitch implies a much greater depth, it implies miscegenation, it implies adventures, it implies irony, it also implies this festive tone that we generally have.

So, yes, we Mexicans are sons of bitches.

Q.

Do you think that this society is prepared to see a satire of the self-proclaimed Fourth Transformation?

R.

I think that Luis's cinema generates clear x-rays of what the context is and has accustomed us six-year to six-year to analyze the situation in which we find ourselves.

I think all of Mexico is waiting for Luis Estrada's opinion about this time.

From

Herod's Law

to

The Perfect Dictatorship

, all that cinema, all those problems that Luis has presented in his previous films, are still latent in some way, directly or indirectly

.

Q.

Who inspired you to prepare your character as Pancho, a guy from humble origins who aspires to improve and become upper middle class?

R.

Actually, Pancho we are all.

Pancho is a broad sector of Mexican society and masculinity represented in one character.

Pancho is my dad, Pancho is me.

Pancho is the pollero, he is the electrician.

He has many traits of people and masculinities that I have come across throughout my life.

He is a middle class man, upper middle class, who has a job and aspires to more.

I had that character ironed out very well because I had time to prepare it during the pandemic.

The simplest part of my work day was recording

Ozark

and the complicated part began later, when I had to break down the 200 pages of Luis's script.

Q.

An important part of the film talks about leaving origins and beginnings behind when one is ashamed of them.

Does that happen to you at the beginning of your career?

A.

Not at all.

Any stage is important, the beginnings for me are just as important as the moment in which I find myself now.

My past makes me the person I am at this moment and I look at the past with great affection, with great humility and with great gratitude.

Everything adds up and you have to see it from that perspective.

Q.

Why did you decide not to join the return of RBD?

R.

Because I am very happy with the projects I have at the moment and where I have the energy at the moment.

I know that this project [the new RBD concerts] will be a resounding success and I have nothing but good wishes for them.

At some point a magazine reported that I had asked for an exaggerated amount of money to return and what I'm saying is that they better pay them [their colleagues] for all the crap they got into for so many years.

It has nothing to do with money, it has to do with what is fair

.

Q.

What do you mean fair?

R.

When you talk about Televisa and what Rebelde was, this... was hard, because we signed a contract in which we gave up the rights to the character, the image of the character and everything that was exploited in terms of merchandising, we

did

not We didn't see a single peso.

I was 23 or 24 years old and I saw the faces of my classmates and my face on all the sideboards selling cookies, gum, juices, notebooks, tennis shoes, pencils and nothing.

The television station that owns this project was not fair and it is not a matter of money, I say it again, it has to do with a work issue, that we made a Los Angeles Coliseum with 63,000 people, for example, and they paid me 18,000 pesos for that.

Q.

And how is your relationship with Televisa?

R.

I was very good with Televisa, that is, there I have friends that I appreciate, that I love.

But when the project was mutating, it was going to a much broader place that was a success, the logical thing would have been that everything grew in proportion because it was fair.

Despite everything, there were a lot of people in that process that I still talk to because that's how entertainment is.

Q.

And with your colleagues?

R.

I love that they are doing well because I appreciate them, I love them and I respect them.

We share things that no one else will be able to know and that the six of us were there in hard times, in joyful moments and difficult moments like when it was in Brazil... [where three girls died at an autograph signing due to a human avalanche]

Q.

I imagine that you are never prepared to experience something like this...

R.

To this day I still have a bit of fear when I go to a place where there are a lot of people.

We were alone and we supported each other because we did not have psychological support to be able to deal with this situation.

It was very hard.

Years later we returned to Brazil, we met the relatives and I met the father of one of the girls who lost her life.

That event marked me in a very profound way and no matter how much I try to turn it around, it is still there.

Q.

What's next for Alfonso Herrera, do you plan to jump to Hollywood as other of your colleagues have done?

R.

The north does not take away my sleep.

Since I can go north, I can go south or I can go back to Mexico.

The only thing that interests me is working on things that excite me, excite me and challenge me like

¡Que Viva México!

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Source: elparis

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