Andrés Parra, from starring at Escobar and Hugo Chávez at the FIFA Gate: “If you don't like soccer, corruption will catch you”

Andrés Parra is again the "bad guy". And as with Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria it shows in all its dimension the darkest edges between crime and legality, without stripping the character of his humanity. As it happened in the successful series The patron of evil, the actor achieves that his villain conquers a feeling of certain indulgence in the viewer. That is to say, we want his sentence, but at the same time we pray for a mitigating factor.

At 42 years old, this man, born in Cali in September 1977, stood out as Hugo Chavez in the series Commander and he was also the villain of the movie The odyssey of the giles. In each of these interpretations Parra managed, with perfect ductility, to get the different accents of each language right.

Now in President, puts himself in the skin of the Chilean Sergio Jadue, who became president of the Chilean soccer association after a very unclear election. The Amazon series recreates the FIFA Gate scandal in which many names linked to Argentina appear, such as Julio Grondona. With the "Todo Pasa" present in each scene-the seal on the ring of the president of the AFA for more than three decades-Parra plays this man who was at the right time and in the right place, but who was involved in a made of corruption.

From Colombia, Parra spoke with Teleshow about this new series, his career and his relationship with Argentina.

—You have a lot of ductility to make different accents: you played Venezuelan in Commander, from Argentine in The Giles Odyssey and now Chilean in PresidentWhich one cost you the most?

—I'll be completely honest with you: the Argentine accent cost me a lot of work. In fact it is not one that dominates as I already feel that the Chilean dominated. The Argentine is very difficult. It's weird, isn't it, because it seems that the Chilean is more complex. But I feel that something is happening with the Argentine: we believe that we handle it, that we speak it, because we always have a very close reference for football, television, soap operas. But your accent is very difficult …

"Did you know Sergio Jadue's story?"

"I had no idea about it." I knew about the scandal from the news, I had even forgotten. I am not a soccer fan, I do not live soccer in a close way. They just told me about a project that was going to be a sport thriller inspired by real events, that there was corruption … So I accepted. Just by imagining myself shooting in stadiums I said to myself: "This must be the maximum." And then I found out about the problem I had gotten myself into: that he was Chilean, and everything that came after …

—Is it harder to play a real character than a fictional one?

– Curiously, as an actor I feel much more comfortable in these challenges than in fictional characters, I don't know why it happens to me. In fictional characters I feel like I am totally abandoned and I don't know how to start. Instead here I have a very precise methodology of reading, watching videos … in the morning I get up and have a very clear road map. Here I followed my method as I did with Escobar or Chávez, accompanied by a vocal coach, with whom we worked on the vocal tone of Jadue on time, and then we had a job in Chile with the Chilean accent coach. I already came from 3 months to adjust the accent, watch videos of the character, listen to many of his audios … And already in Chile, we did the makeup, costume and art equipment tests … It has been a very nice job, with the union of several departments, trying to reach a similarity worthy of the character.

"And the director Armando Bo?"

—I was always very well accompanied by Armando Bo, one of the directors of the series. It was super open to proposals. The only thing I never did or did was never talk to the real character, his family or friends. I try to keep all my research on the journalistic level and I become a psychologist and detective of these characters to see what it is like to operate on them. Then I build on the scripts and start playing.

—Why do you prefer not to make contact with the character or his close friends?

"I feel that anything you can ask can be used as a double-edged sword, from every point of view even from the legal one." For example, you may be inadvertently getting into a problem out of naivety. But the most important reason I try not to do it is because it's going to be a flawed vision. In other words, they are going to begin to deny journalists and I would end up with a mental confusion … So I prefer to work simply from the journalistic point of view. And after having read so much you realize which journalist is too passionate to criticize him and you filter the information yourself. But I think talking directly to those involved undoubtedly vitiates the investigation.

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"What other real character would you like to play?"

—The only one I can think of, that I did casting and I didn't stay, was not for me. He is another character that I really like, he is Spanish: the general Francisco Franco. I find it a spectacular character to make.

"Who got the role at that casting?"

—I didn't even want to know (laughs). They won me. But hey, what is for one …

—Did you ever dream of reaching Hollywood, would you like to have a project in English, get more involved in that market or do you feel comfortable where you are?

-I'm very happy. I've done very well. I have managed to be in series that I like a lot. I rather know what I would never do. I wouldn't go to LA to wash dishes while I wait for someone to call me. I feel like getting to a Hollywood production is something that has to come to you. The call really comes. But going to look for the opportunity I think is to miss thousands of series opportunities in Latin America. I don't know what it's like to act in English, I think it's very difficult and I would ask myself another question: How are you going to get to Hollywood? Is it a proposal to go play a drug dealer?

"You would go to Hollywood only if you were sure of the role that awaits you …"

"It implies what they are going to offer me." If I'm going to take that leap, have dignity and can eventually win that game. Get there and make a fool of yourself, so what was I for? There are many variables and it really doesn't take my sleep away. In fact I feel that I was an actor in a wonderful moment where spectacular things are being done in Latin America. Now you can share your work with the actors you always dreamed of … because I am about having Latin American idols more than outsiders.

Ricardo Darín, Javier Cámara … Being able to work with them, having a friendship is incredible. I am very happy here, and how many Latin American stories are there to tell! But I'm not closed either. If they call me from Hollywood, it's not that I'm going to hang up the phone, but I would say what do you want to offer me?

—Look if they call you to play Donald Trump…

"Hahaha, what a great person!" That could already be for retirement. I play Donald Trump and I retire!

—What are for Andrés Parra the three keys by which we have to see President?

—First because it is a universal theme, such as soccer. And if you do not like soccer, the corruption that exists in soccer will catch you, even if you are not a fan because it is very well made. It also has a wonderful cast. And in turn, because it has a detail that was a surprise for us: it became a series of dark humor, of irony, of sarcasm. It is very entertaining and I am sure that they will devour it in a few hours sitting. Once the 8 chapters are played, they will not be able to stop.

—In Argentina a Gif of yours is used a lot when you played Pablo Escobar with the black “libretica” where the character wrote down the people he had killed or their earrings.

—Look, here I have it with me (laughs)

—The Argentine public respects you a lot.

—Yes, I know it through social networks and believe me that I also have a special relationship with Argentina. In fact, I'm a bit on edge because I was planning to visit your country in September. But I am super connected with Argentina and having been part of the history of its cinema is a gigantic source of pride for me, really.


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