“Being able to return to the cinema with Casa en Flames is a great gift.”

“Being able to return to the cinema with Casa en Flames is a great gift.”


The actress from Sant Cugat returns to the big screen at the hands of director Dani de la Orden.

03.07.2024 04.30 H

We interview the actress Emma Villarasao On the occasion of the screening of the film “Casa en Flames” by Dani de la Urden in cinemas. A veteran theatre woman, known for her television roles in the TV3 series “Nissaga de poder” (1996) or “Ventdelplà” (2005), she now collaborates with the Barcelona filmmaker in the duo formed by Barcelona, ​​Summer Night (2013) I Barcelona, ​​winter night (2015). Emma Villarasao, who has few cinematic adventures, excels in this. house on fire She takes on the role of Montse, a mother who has placed all her hopes on gathering her family to spend a summer weekend at the house they have in Cadaqués and who doesn’t want anyone to disrupt her plans.

How is this mother who wants to reunite her family at any cost?

This mother desperately needs to have people around her again—her children, her family—and to feel a little needed by someone again. Try to make this meeting go well, no matter what. Danny said to me when he offered me the role, “This woman is depressed, but I don’t want it to show, it’s underneath everything she does.” So she can’t give up this weekend, it’s taken a lot of work to put it together, and there’s no way she can give up. Something happens that would make him give up this weekend, but he can’t, he’s superior to her, and he needs to get them back. And then she has to be useful, she has to be taken into account, she has to be appreciated a little bit for what she’s done. And since that doesn’t happen, everything goes downhill. Everyone has their problems, God forbid, and everything is kicking at every corner. It’s a sinking ship and there’s no way to keep it up properly.

How did you prepare for this challenging role full of nuances and records?

With so many layers, so many faces… Well, then going from sequence to sequence and having a very clear internal thread of what everything meant to her. And we rehearsed, and we improvised as well, and Danny can improvise a lot. That also helped us to have a very good team, everybody, it’s a great team, everybody is so good, and it’s so easy, so nice to work with. And also the film is long sequences, choral sequences, and that’s not normal. It’s a different film format, because usually sequences are two sequences. Me, who usually doesn’t like it, is that when you go to see something that I’ve done, you’re always afraid of what it might be, because when I saw it, I thought, “Well, look, it’s not bad.”

“I turned 65 this year and I have a 40-year career as a professional, and I have a lot of work behind me. And I think, I think that everything that comes to me from now on is a gift that is given to me.”

And apart from the image of this unique mother, do we also see that it is a family image with theatrical components as well?

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Yes, because it’s a family in a house. There are some external scenes, but basically everything happens inside. And this is a family of the Catalan bourgeoisie who don’t know how to say things, who don’t say things, who everyone thinks about, who are unable to put themselves in each other’s shoes. And they’re all a bit toxic. What happens is that you end up loving them because they’re also very lovable. Because they’re not bad people, they just don’t know anything better. Life gets the better of them all.

This blame-filled family film is reminiscent of a play like August By Tracy Letts who also performed on stage?

It’s just that all families are the same. The problems in families end up being very similar, parents with children, siblings, grandchildren. In fact, family-themed plays, like The Family Dinner , are a safe target, because yes, because all families have a lot of juice. And if they are well written and well done, even better. And they also connect with people because we all have parents, siblings too, and we have all had painful family experiences. Well, there is something that connects us. But I think that although families are similar, I don’t know if that would be expressed in a bourgeoisie from somewhere else, a bourgeoisie from Madrid for example, in the same way as in this film, which is a Catalan bourgeoisie. Because they all have their own characteristics, they are different.

“I think it has that tone that’s hard to find and so beautiful when you find it. It’s a comedy drama.”

house on fire It’s a comedy, but it feels like a drama too, doesn’t it?

It’s a mix. I think it has that tone that is hard to find and it’s very beautiful when you find it. It’s a comedy-drama. Because when you get a little bit of emotion, they immediately break it with another comedy situation. But neither the comedy is vulgar nor the drama is heavy. The two things coexist very well. And it has a tone that is hard to find in Spanish cinema, maybe a difficult tone, maybe closer to French cinema. It’s really beautiful, it stays on that line and manages to maintain an important balance. It never falls to one side or the other. Well, it’s not easy to achieve and I think Dani has achieved it. And it’s very good.

Given his wonderful role in house on fireThis is due to his lack of presence in the cinema. How did that happen?

I don’t know. It just happened. It’s not that I had thousands of offers that I turned down, of course, but maybe, at some point in my life, I should have made a decision and gone to Madrid and I didn’t, because I had little money. The children and because I didn’t feel like it. Maybe, I don’t know. It just happened. I can’t really tell you why.

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There is some similarity in his paper with house on fire With the suffering mother in your film The Unknowns (1999, Jaume Balagueró) In a completely different cinematic record?

I don’t think they had anything to do with it. It was a horror film and the situation of that mother was terrifying. It belonged to another genre and was more intense. There are many comedic points in this film and the drama is never heavy. And this role was very deep. They had nothing to do with it. Then I also did another film, which I was very happy to do, which was the last for Fernando Fernán Gómez, So you don’t forget me (2005, Patricia Ferreira), where there was another mother who lost her son, and there was also a mother and her daughter, and it was also a “drama.” I think it was house on fire It’s like my first comedy. It was a lot of fun.

“It would be great if someone could write it down and have a benchmark for what you’re feeling or experiencing at that age. I think it will change over time.”

What was it like working with a director like Danny de la Orden?

Danny was so nice to work with. I got stuck in rehearsals because it required so much improvisation. I was like, “Oh my God, do we have to follow the script or what?” It was a bit chaotic, but on set you could see him so focused, with his notebook, always suggesting something he had thought of during the night, something new to do. I don’t know if there’s anyone like him who’s 35 years old, who’s made 11 films like him. Cinema runs through his veins. And as a person, he’s love. Even though it’s chaotic.

What was it like filming a movie with such an amazing cast that included actors like Enrique Oquer, Clara Segura or Maria Rodriguez Soto?

Several were made. We trained for two weeks before the shoot. The first week we shot outdoors and things like that were more scattered. The second week we really locked ourselves in the house and what happens when you work with good actors, who are always there, no matter who takes over, the others are always there. It’s not about saying “I’ve already done my job and I’m leaving” but that everyone always gives 100 percent, and that listening was very good. We started to integrate. And even though we are very different actors, we all started to take things from each other. In the end, we were a family, for sure. Then, of course, having Clara Segura, Alberto San Juan, Enrique Oquer, María Rodríguez Soto… and Macarena García, who is a wonderful character and full of light. We all had difficult situations, shooting at night, in very cold weather, in summer clothes, but there was never a difficult situation, everything was always handled with humor. I mean it was a really beautiful shoot.

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As a woman of theatre, above all, how do you deal with this accidental engagement with cinema?

Really good. This movie is a gift, it’s a gift. Because I’m 65 this year, and I’ve had a 40-year career as a professional, and I have a lot of work behind me. And I think, I think, everything that comes to me from now on, it’s a gift to me. And to be able to go back to the cinema, to go back with this movie, to go back with this character, is a tremendous gift. And that’s how I lived it, and how I live it, because all the scenes in the movie are so beautiful. Well, a gift, a gift to me.

I wanted to ask him specifically about this issue, and about the difficulties in finding roles for mature actresses.

Yes. It’s very complicated, since this age you don’t write papers anymore. It’s something that I think is starting to change. And it would be nice if it changed. Because not only people at this age have important things to say and live, but sooner or later you all come to this age. Maybe it would be nice to have some references. We have a lot of references in our twenties, thirties, forties, and at this age, no. What do women say at this age? And men? What happens to them, what happens when you face, at a fairly mature age, that you say to yourself “I have fifteen years ahead of me”, what happens to you, right? Everybody will get there. It would be nice if someone could write it down and have a reference to what they feel or live at this age. I think that will change over time. It is changing, but it will be slow.

Congratulations on this wonderful role in a film destined to be one of the most important films in Catalan cinema this year.

Let’s see if that’s true. We hope. And that people go and see it in the original version, first of all. And it should also be said why it was dubbed in Spanish and it would be nice to see it in the original version. Because it’s bilingual, because it’s important in the film, because it’s another plot where the characters speak Catalan and Spanish. And to cancel that, to dub everything in Spanish, which is what the platforms asked for, I think it’s a mistake. Please let people see it in the original version.

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