In Verónica Echegui, curiosity boils, and it overflows through a gaze that seems capable not only of identifying each emotion but also of apprehending it in order to embody it one day. Euphoria dwells in her, a gift as rare as it is contagious, and she spreads it in the photo session, in the Palacio del Infante Don Luis de Boadilla del Monte, a neoclassical jewel of the 18th century.
It seems that a great fireplace burns even though its spacious rooms are empty. And the colors explode despite the rain. Echegui goes up and down stairs, dances, jumps, and poses in front of Andrés García Luján’s camera, who, lying on the floor, crawls to get the best face of him. She is related to the Nobel Prize winner José Echegaray, she has lived in the countryside with her partner – actor Alex García – for twelve years.
The day after the photos he travels to Galicia, where he is preparing the shooting of contrived justice. He attends trials, learns how a trial court works, speaks with judges and lawyers. Her stylist, Florence Reveillaud, informs me of the actress’s ability to tell the stories she is going to shoot. “In contrived justice I play a young and brave judge who finds herself in the dilemma of collaborating with a new artificial intelligence system, or denying it to prevent the human factor from being replaced”.
And what would you do if you were faced with this dilemma?
It seems to me a very rich topic. But what needs to be done is to improve the judicial system, reform it, reverse the lack of personnel and means…. that is the most serious problem of justice: that not enough is invested in it. And I don’t think the solution lies in AI, a machine cannot issue a verdict without taking into account the human factor…
How did the role of Ane prepare for Privacythe Netflix series about the violation of private life?
Although it is not exactly about the case of the Iveco victim, I read about the real case. He blew me away. I tried to understand her character, to understand what leads her to suicide… My character doesn’t want to tell her past, she thinks: “If they know me as I am, they won’t love me.” She is afraid of losing everything.
And he can’t stand the humiliation.
They consider her a whore, harass her, objectify her, make her feel powerless, she is left alone, is teased and harassed… And she does not ask for help at home. Something is wrong, she believes that she is erratic, that they don’t love her, that she doesn’t deserve anything. There are women who can feel reflected in a spectrum of conflicts that are very universal today: depression, harassment… But there are also many women who do not dare to ask for help; they feel a generalized paralysis and are afraid to face what hurts…
Verónica Echegui feels that her job consists of listening and observing others, and then interpreting them. “Everyone has the same conflicts and problems and needs. And we all bring a package of darkness, of existential malaise and it is part of our process to manage it, understand it, have the tools to solve it”. The actress insists on the importance of asking for help, also of an emotional education that “should be the pillar of education, because we fill our brains with data, but what about our relationships? What do you take, when you die, Money no. Knowledge, neither, material goods, none. You only take love with you,” she states.
What did it mean to get into the skin of a suicide?
I have given much thought to the subject, and there are several courses of action against it. On the one hand, visibility, saying: “You are not alone, we live in community and the ills of one are the ills of all”. And then there is assistance. Today there is no free access to psychological support, and many cannot afford to pay for it. If it is an endemic evil, let us treat it as such.
There was a time when he wanted to be a character 24 hours a day until he said: “the asylum or the interpretation”.
I lived my profession in a more obsessive way, but I wanted to understand it that way, as a search path, to find different methods. I was the character 24/7, I didn’t let go, until I said to myself: “I can’t work like this, I have to have a personal life”… I started from insecurity. I am a hard worker, and throughout my career I have learned to let things flow without trying to grab hold of them.
You don’t mind accepting supporting roles?
There is no small paper. For me the important thing is that they are interesting, that they make me fall in love. I like to get into the universe of others.
This year she won her first Goya –after 6 nominations as a performer– as director of the short Wolf Totem. What did it mean for you to go to the other side of the camera?
It has given me more freedom. I have opened a door, and I can express myself more openly, although, on the other hand, I feel in diapers… During the process of doing it I was happy, I was full, I had never lived the experience of materializing an imaginary and making it flesh. Go from my imagination to reality and see how the scenes worked.
Wolf Totem It is inspired by an event that she experienced in her youth, when at a local festival a gang of boys dressed as wolves chased them. Where did it happen?
In place of the spot. Yes, very quixotic… whose name I don’t want to remember. It was a trauma, but over time it helped me reflect. I had a very vivid memory of that moment: the worse you go through it, the more it marks you. A fun night that turned into a nightmare for me, but not for other girls… In the film I try to explore tradition, gender roles, adolescence, the theme of the individual versus the mass… I would like to convey to adolescent girls, when they feel lost because they want to be part of the group but they don’t share its values, that the solution is always to do what one feels: turn around and walk away.
Bigas Luna offered her the role of Juani, and since then her career has been unstoppable. Did she leave a mark on you?
It revolutionized my life on all levels. The most obvious was the professional, and what he likes to do is act. It was the first time that I left home, that I began to emancipate myself, and he was a father to me. And he also taught me about cinema; he transmitted to me the joy of filming, the ability to improvise… he was a calm, thoughtful, very sensitive man, and the first authentic person that I came across in my life. And on top of that, what an artist he was! He taught me by his example, without lecturing me. I realized it later, and when he passed away, everything came at once. Over time my gratitude has grown.
Creative direction: Joana BonetPhotographer: Andres Garcia LujanStylist: Florence Reveillaud Makeup and hairdressing: Pedro Cedeño Acknowledgments: Palace of the Infante Don Luís (Boadilla del Monte)Makeup: total look Dior