A David Trueba He doesn’t like movies that try to recreate a character’s life from his first sobs in the crib to his death. True to that taste, he chose what was probably the brightest episode of Eugenio’s life, his years as a singer with his wife, Conchita Alcaide, with whom he formed the duo ‘Els dos’, and the beginning of his career as a comedian. ‘They know that’ is the title of the film that opens in theaters today and in which David Trueba avoids portraying the most tormented part of this character.
For the cast, Trueba chose David Verdaguerwhich mixes comedian, and Carolina Justewho played his first wife, the wife of a sad man.
Why did you limit yourself to talking only about the first section of Eugenio’s career, the one that refers to the beginning of his career?
Because I don’t like ‘biopic’ as a genre. When they approached me with the assignment, I initially rejected it; I just know how to make fiction films, which take an important fragment of a life and recreate it. I’m not really interested in Eugenio’s decay and self-destruction. The character was destroyed before his success. I saw Eugenio as a man floating in the pool. While Conchita, his first wife, was holding him, he did not drown, but the moment she disappeared he sank.
made an elipsis on the most morbid aspects of the comedian’s career, those referring to the night, sex and alcohol.
Moving and working at night is incompatible with family life, even if there is a very patient woman at home. Many people’s lives on the show are doomed for that reason. Eugenio was immersed in tobacco and alcohol. If you lose that connection to home, you will be disarmed.
What do you think is the key to Eugenio’s success?
Knows how to invent a character whose characteristics are very close to his personality, even if he overdoes it. Eugenio on stage emphasizes his shyness, his frugality, aggravates the serious expression and the Catalan accent; He turned down the gesture and the laughter and wore glasses. What happened? People even love to hear jokes they already know again.
He knows very well how to measure the hours and silence.
David Verdaguer and I were very surprised that if you change a word in the order of a joke, or simply remove it because it seems repetitive, the joke doesn’t work anymore. David likes to say that this film happened quietly. And that silence summed up Eugenio’s whole life.
Eugenio is a good comedian, but a bad singer.
An old friend from Barcelona who saw them perform at the Sausalito pub in Barcelona told me that when they finished a song, he would speak and people would immediately quiet down to listen to him. It can be pretty devastating for the duo, as the comedian clearly ate it all up.
And how does the joke teller movie appeal to those who hate them?
If we’re having dinner and someone starts telling jokes, it makes my night miserable. Rafael Azcona often said that the most beautiful humor is the one that comes from everyday situations. And that’s what I’ve been practicing all my life, in my books and movies. On the other hand, telling a joke is like shooting an arrow. If it hits the target, great; Otherwise, it’s a disaster. And that created a lot of grief for the artist who dedicated himself to that. But I love to hear a good joke.
Have you always thought of David Verdaguer and Carolina Yuste leading the cast?
I thought about them when I finished the script. To play Eugenio I looked for Catalan actors of a certain age and the name of David Verdaguer quickly appeared. I have seen him do things as a comedian, I know he has a tempo and a deep voice that suits the character very well. He gives his work a comic neurosis. For Conchita, I was looking for a southern female singer and there was Carolina, with a typical 70’s look. She is not a contemporary beauty, but she has something different. I put the two together and they are really different, like Eugenio and Conchita.
It’s amazing that Eugenio, who has many tables, is not sure before going on stage.
It happens a lot. Some are vomiting and nervous; some took tranquilizer pills, even though they were full and excited in the auditorium.
Why did you film ‘They Know That’ in Catalan?
Because Eugenio’s surroundings are very Catalan. His parents speak Catalan with him and Eugenio speaks Catalan with his children. Even Conchita, when she arrived in Barcelona from Aracena (Huelva) at the age of 17, sang in that language, without any accent.