Ángela Cervantes: “I thought I couldn’t work as an actress because I had a body outside the regulations”
Angela Cervantes (Barcelona, 1993) has been one of the most dazzling appearances of the last season of Spanish cinema. His first movie,
‘Chavalas’, has earned her a Goya nomination in the category of best new actress. He got the news in the middle of filming ‘La maternal’, the next movie Pillar Dovecote. «Pilar told me that it was the reading of nominees but I told her that I did not want to know anything about the result until we finished the day. But she saw it and they told her about it among the members of the team. When the day was over they told me and at that moment I didn’t understand anything because I had forgotten. It was very nice and very special to find out the news like this, in front of the whole team”, Angela recalls.
Cervantes made his debut in the world of cinema last year thanks to ‘Chavalas’ and a brief appearance in
‘where two fit’, but his career goes back a long way: «I started doing theater when I was very young. I have always been doing acting classes, I had my theater group in Barcelona and we did some plays in small rooms. The truth is that it took me a while to say that I wanted to be an actress because it made me a bit shy. Then I started in a series on TV3 (‘Like yesterday’), that I’m still in it, and that gave me a lot of confidence. Being in a daily series is like a television and camera master’s degree. It made me ready to enter the world of cinema.” It was always clear to him that he wanted to dedicate himself to acting, although he admits that «he had not finished expressing it to others. In fact, I started criminology because I wanted to have a career and live that experience and it was not until I went to live in Madrid when I was 23 or 24 years old, that I began to introduce myself to people as an actress.
Cervantes has trained as a performer by consuming Spanish cinema: «When I was little, I loved ‘The language of butterflies’, ‘Carol’s Journey’ The ‘The ball’. And, as a teenager, they marked me ‘Return’, ‘Dark blue almost black’ and above all, ‘I am Juani’. I always talk a lot about
Verónica Echegui because, when I saw ‘Yo soy la Juani’, it fascinated me and it was one of those things that launched me into being an actress. It was a female character with a profile that I wanted to play. And Verónica is very versatile, I really like her energy and the projects she chooses. It is a benchmark for me.”
The Goya nomination was not in his plans: «It was very complicated. Also, what happens at the Goyas is that you have to think about whether or not to present yourself because, if you don’t get nominated, you can never present yourself as a revelation again. This is something that I discussed with my representative and with my brother Álvaro. In the end I decided that since it was my first film, the most natural thing was to introduce myself. I am very happy to be there representing such a small film. His brother,
Alvaro Cervantes, who has been nominated for a Goya twice (one of them as a newcomer), has given him some advice for the ceremony: «He told me to try to enjoy it because sometimes because of nerves it’s all very crazy at the moment and that try to relax and enjoy it because in the end it passes very quickly. It’s a bit like weddings where the bride and groom don’t enjoy the party. I don’t want that to happen to me. In general, Álvaro always gives me good advice for being the older brother and for having been in the profession for so many years. It’s kind of my guide.”
His rivals in the Goya are Almudena Love for ‘The good boss’, Mary Cherry for ‘Maixabel’ Y Nicolle Garcia for ‘Liberty’. Ángela only has good words for her colleagues: «I have seen all their work and I am freaking out being next to them. I have loved all of them, each one with its peculiarities. Almudena has started off with a bang, working hand in hand with Javier Bardem and being at his height is very ‘heavy’. As for María, I was blown away by her movie, it moved me a lot and I think it’s a very committed job. And Nicolle carries much of the weight of her film. For his first role and being so young, I think it’s amazing.
In ‘Chavalas’ she plays Soraya, one of the protagonist’s friends (Vicky Luengo). He defines her as “a very cool aunt, with her feet on the ground and at the same time, unlike Vicky’s character, she has no conflict with who she is or where she comes from. She loves the neighborhood and is proud to be from Cornellà but, at the same time, if you take her out of there, she doesn’t feel very comfortable either. She is a very free girl but, at the same time, it is like she is caged. We are very similar because I feel very comfortable in the neighborhood, with its people and with the atmosphere that is created in the bars. It helped me a lot to hold on to Soraya’s idea of friendship and we also worked a lot on creating the relationship of the four friends. Seeing what other profiles were in this group really helped me find Soraya.” His character in ‘Chavalas’ has also been special for another reason: «It has happened to me that sometimes I thought that, because I had a body outside the normative and the usual that is seen in fiction, I felt that I was not going to be able to work and that I had to lose weight or depending on what things. And here I have the opportunity to teach it naturally and without it being the main topic. It’s just the friend and that’s it. I’m very proud to represent that.”
The chemistry between Ángela and her three companions (Vicky Luengo,
Carolina Yuste Y Elisabet Casanovas) crosses the screen: «We knew each other because we are from the same generation and we have many friends in common but we had never really had a coffee together and we did not know much about our lives. The relationship was very magical because it was created very quickly. The four of us have the same ‘bichillo’ inside, we share a lot about the place that our friends occupy in our lives and a very easy common language was created. We have become colleagues. It’s very nice that a project is happening.” Not even the outbreak of the pandemic clouded the good atmosphere of the shoot: «We started recording in March 2020. We shot for two weeks and had to stop. Above all, I felt bad for the team and the director (Carol Rodriguez Colas), because it was her first film for her and for the screenwriter (her sister Marina) and they had been about five years in the making. My series also stopped and we didn’t know anything. But since you couldn’t act or decide anything, it was just a matter of waiting and trusting. You knew that sooner or later everything would be reactivated and we would go back to work and make fiction».
Her next project will be ‘La maternal’, the second film by Pilar Palomero after triumphing at the Goyas with
‘The girls’: «The project came to me before the summer and it has been quite a journey. It is a very beautiful movie but also very hard because of the subject it deals with. The protagonist is a 14-year-old girl who has to learn to be a mother because she gets pregnant. I play her mother, who also had her very young and it’s like the pattern repeats itself. We shot it in Los Monegros and Barcelona. We have worked with non-professional actors and girls who have also gone through this experience. That’s right, with less than 30 years old, Ángela faces the challenge of playing the mother of a teenage daughter: «It is very hard to play a grandmother. When I got the reprint for the casting, I couldn’t believe it. It has been a great challenge to play a mother but I have been able to do it thanks to the fact that Pilar has a way of working that helps actors and actresses a lot».
Ángela Cervantes may not have arrived at the cinema as soon as her brother, but she has done so at the exact moment. The industry has received him with a Goya nomination and his next work is one of the most anticipated titles of the year. The future is yours.