Pérez-Reverte: "I have no doubt about Alatriste being from León"
By Miguel Ángel Nepomuceno
Viggo Mortensen, Yanes and the leading actors, ready for the León premiere this Friday.
The Villamagna Hotel in Madrid was especially crowded yesterday for the launching and press conference of one of the most waited films this year which is already augured to be a box-office success.
Some minutes after 1p.m., the leading actors of the film: Viggo Mortensen, Ariadna Gil, Elena Anaya, Javier Cámara, Eduardo Noriega, Unax Ugalde, Antonio Dechent, together with the director Agustín Díaz Yanes, the author of the novel Arturo Pérez-Reverte and the producer Antonio Cardenal, appeared at the hotel entrance in the city centre for the official photo session.
After some brief words, the producer, Antonio Cardenal, gave the microphone to the journalists in order to start the round of questions. Arturo Pérez-Reverte began to answer and was direct and clear when someone asked him about his fear he had mentioned more than once; that they would make a "poofy thing" out of the film. "Alatriste,' he said, 'is a politically incorrect hero, a murderer, a mercenary, and I was afraid that, in the film, he would lose his harshness and would be more tolerable, but fortunately both Agustín and Viggo crossed that boundary and kept a dark and ambiguous hero, giving him that dark and terribly tragic look. Viggo has made the character human, and even more Spanish". It was then that someone added "and also Leonese!" After the general laughter Reverte added "But of course he's Leonese!, Viggo wanted it that way and I haven't doubted it."
For his part, Yanes insisted on saying that his script just tells thirty years in the life of the hero, although he was aware that a lot of things were left out of it but, he concluded "in the film we show the central part of all of them". He admitted that the fundamental reason why there are not more films tackling this time of history is that in Spain people never come to an agreement. "Everyone wants to tell it in his own way and that's enormously detrimental to all of us at the moment of creating a real, solid and credible context," he said.
The Leonese accent
Reverte revealed that his latest novel will come out in December and pointed out that, in the novel, he took note of many aspects of the characters that appear in the film, among them "of course I don't have the slightest doubt about Alatriste being from León, because Viggo wanted it that way".
Viggo applauded and joked when he said that they had made some voice tests to Constantino Romero (tr. note: one of the most famous dubbing actors) and that the grunts had been taken from Javier Bardem. After the unanimous bursts of laughter, someone asked again about the Leonese accent, insisting on where had he learned it. With the same ironic tone, the actor answered that all that about him having been in the mountains was the idea of some journalists. "What really happened was that Constantino Romero had done the tests, but the XVII century period didn't fit him. Then it was offered to Carmelo Gómez and Imanol Arias (tr. note: famous actors), but they didn't come to an agreement, so I had no option but to do it myself," he explained. "Actually,' Mortensen continued, 'now that the shooting is over, I'm going to reveal the secret: I did nothing about the character, everything has been dubbed and taken from another twenty actors". General laughter.