Interview: Rossy de Palma and Adriana Ugarte Talk Pedro Almodóvar`s “JULIETA”

Left to right: Rossy de Palma as Marian and Adriana Ugarte as Earlier Julieta @ El Deseo. Photo by Manolo Pavón, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Left to right: Rossy de Palma as Marian and Adriana Ugarte as Earlier Julieta @ El Deseo. Photo by Manolo Pavón, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

We often do not completely understand the true feeling of loss or grief until we experience it ourselves. That of course, is something none of us would like to go through. But what to do when it happens, or, how to prevent the unavoidable?

Pedro Almodóvar is a master who tells the story in not the usual manner, such as black and white, but rather in red and black, where red stands for passion, love, fire and even blood, while black has always had one meaning – loss, which is what his latest feature film is about.

However, without having a stellar and superbly talented cast lead by Emma Suárez, Adriana Ugarte and Rossy de Palma, even the maestro himself would have failed to get the desired result.

The loss of space and time, I should admit, is what you will appreciate the most – which we must thank both actresses for in their seamless portrayal of Julieta in two different stages of life. The way Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte studied the character, as well as their physical look was truly phenomenal.

During the Toronto`s International Film Festival in September, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the incredibly funny and intelligent women, Adriana Ugarte and Rossy de Palma to discuss Julieta, one of the most profound movies you will ever see.

MOVIEMOVESME: The best about JULIETA is the sense of time, which disappears. You’ve never worked with Emma Suárez before and yet the way you imitated her it seemed like you presented her on screen.

Adriana Ugarte: I have to say that is not at all our married. We worked separately and we didn’t know what happened. I started the first six weeks and after that Emma continued another six weeks. My work she didn’t. She didn’t know what Pedro had done with me. I started and Emma continued but we didn’t know Pedro was married. He worked with us separately. He has the talent to work with different people. We didn’t prepare with like just faces and make-up and the hair. But I think it’s the similar way to feel and understand the pain, how they suffer is the same way. Even Emma Suarez and me are very different physically and emotionally but Pedro makes us feel the same hell of Julietta. I think it’s the key but it’s Pedro and a separate way. I had started but Emma hadn’t, so everything was like a secret.

MOVIEMOVESME: Marian never accepted Julieta but always cared about her own. What attracted you to your character Marianne that you absolutely nailed it?

Rossy de Palma: It’s true that you hate her because she’s telling the truth and discovering the bad things. I saw Marianne like she’s always thinking bad and preparing for the worst. She knows secrets and she keeps the secrets until she says, “No. I’m now gonna tell the truth because nobody dares.” It’s true the consequences of telling the truth are sometimes very expensive. But she’s a bitter woman, sad woman and poor woman and old-fashioned like a woman who has to be at home taking care of the family. At the same time, she’s not even evil but rather ancestral.

MOVIEMOVESME: She also plays a crucial role in Julietta’s life as well as Antia. For Antia, Marian was someone who was a very closed person. But she’s the one who pretty much swings the neck for 12 years of life of Julietta.

Rossy de Palma: Marianne didn’t tell the truth at first to Julietta, I told her this is the truth. To Antia I said the truth. In real life, I don’t like Marianne but in real life even I prefer the truth despite the consequences. I don’t want to go for evolution with lies. For me it’s like no secrets, no lies, I prefer the truth.

Adriana Ugarte: It’s the same for me. I can hate her but I’m a little bit grateful for it’s the truth. You weren’t comfortable with me but she didn’t tell me anything fake.

Rossy de Palma: Marianne at the end figures out when she told this to Antia after her son goes to the lake perhaps she’s gonna feel guilty. It’s a chain of consequences. It is very complex.

Adriana Ugarte: Nothing was a reaction of jealousy.

MOVIEMOVESME: The first scene in the train ends up in suicide and you keep repeating that making suicide a part of Julietta’s life. How did you understand and interpret this?

Adriana Ugarte: It was very hard to me because it was like the first naught for the character. The first moment she was gonna feel guilty and responsible and she was never gonna forget it. I tried to be restrained to control my tears because I wanted to cry all the time. I really could identify with the guilt and Pedro Almodóvar told me all the time to not feel guilty because I was a very good girl and I really understand Julietta the character because maybe you don’t know when and why you may lose someone while not paying some attention. Julietta was more aware of her character and of her skills. Maybe she would never feel guilty because she wasn’t responsible of the man in the train but she’s very unconscious of herself. She’s gonna learn during the story that she has not the weapons to fight against the guilt and her patterns.

MOVIEMOVESME: In my opinion JULIETA is not just about jealousy, loss or grief. What would you like to add to say Julietta is about that the viewer should learn or understand?

Adriana Ugarte: That we are not responsible for the disasters in the world. We can change and we can help to change a little bit but we’re not responsible. If you feel you are responsible and you know there are evil, you cannot change, you have no energy to help.

Rossy de Palma: For me silence in the relationships kills and we have to communicate. It is not good to let the silence build up. It’s easy to say but very hard to implement.

let the silence build up. It’s easy to say but very hard to implement.

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