The story of ‘Johnny Boy’ was born one night in New York. “I was bored, it sucks to be bored in that city, and I remembered a website with Australian texts that a colleague had recommended to me,” he tells us. Victor Palmero. “I found go by night, by Stephen House, and I was won over from scene 1.” After a successful season at the Teatro Lara in Madrid, where he went from the small theater to the big one, and a tour that has taken him through cities such as Zaragoza, Barcelona or Valencia, the performer is back in the capital, this time at tables of the Infanta Elizabethwith this heartbreaking monologue directed by Eduard Costa, which can be seen until next Sunday July 3 and in which, embodying up to ten characters, tells the story of a boy who does not fit into reality or into the body in which he lives, but who tries to survive with a single goal: to be loved. We talked to him about the function (essential appointment), his next film premiere, ‘Everybody does it’; and ‘Abisal’, a project that he is preparing for Netflix. In addition, he continues to tour as master of ceremonies for ‘The Hole X’.
Incredible the journey that you take in each performance of ‘Johnny Chico’…
My legs are full of bruises and I end up with a heavy emotional and physical hangover, but I am very grateful.
The text came when you were playing Alba in ‘La que se avecina’. Did you drink from the same references?
I was struck by the parallels with that character and being able to live a story from another perspective. What is interesting about Johnny is not so much that he raised transsexuality as that question with himself. Now there are more ways to define sexual diversity and Johnny could be non-binary. Today we live in a very cool moment on a cultural level to have constant references: from reality even characters from cinema or literature.
You get to play up to ten characters on stage…
I wanted to work from something natural and different from what had been seen of me on television in recent years and then branch out to the mother, the trucker, the psychologist, Perla, for whom there was some inspiration in ‘La mala education’ of Almodóvar…
Have you received many messages of thanks?
A lots of. I remember an especially moving one from a girl in Zaragoza who told me that she had gone to the theater alone, her mother was in the hospital and she wrote to me from there. She told me that she had felt very identified with that moment of going to Madrid and noticing that she died and was reborn. That’s why I say that, even though the show leaves me exhausted, she gives me back all the energy that she takes away from me with things like this.
What have you learned from Johnny?
At first there were things about him that were hard for me to understand, because it seems that he has a misogynistic and frivolous point. But, in reality, we all have those moments and we joke about things that would not be well seen publicly. I know every corner of Johnny perfectly and I understand that with a life like his it is difficult to empathize with other things. He is imperfect, like everyone else, and that makes us human. I take all that with me, how nice it has been to see so many people feel identified and the affection of my colleagues, who nominated me for the Actors Union Awards.
You are one of the actors who has done the most for the LGTBIQ+ community. Do you feel responsibility?
I don’t want to hang any medal on myself, but Alba, from ‘La que se avecina’, was born at a time when there was no type of trans visibility on television and the boom that generated the character. The welcome and affection that people showed me on the street was incredible. There has been a brutal evolution in this aspect thanks to series like ‘Veneno’, ‘Paquita Salas’, ‘Pose’…
And in Spain, specifically, thanks to creators like Abril Zamora.
Yes, she is also a friend of mine. I’ve been fascinated by her work on ‘Everything Else’ and I love that someone trans can be the protagonist of a series in which the main theme is not the fact that she is trans.
On September 9 you premiere in theaters ‘Everybody does it’. What can you tell us about the film?
It’s a hilarious choral comedy directed by Martín Cuervo and that has meant my reunion with Toni Acosta, whom I adore since we coincided in ‘Con el culo al aire’. I play his son, a forest ranger, who arrives at a hotel where a crime has occurred. It would be like a mixture of the mystery of Agatha Christie with Berlanga’s cinema. In addition, it has a great cast: Julián López, Macarena Gómez, Andrea Duro…
Also, you have another project: ‘Abisal’. What can you advance us?
I always wanted to do something with David Matarín, my best friend. When I arrived in Madrid twelve years ago I met Josep Lobató on the radio and he gave me the opportunity to do my first interviews. We became very good friends but each one made his own way. In 2015 I saw something strange on his networks, I wrote to him and his sister answered me telling me that he had been diagnosed with a demyelinating disease that affected his speech and writing. He communicated by emoticons. I wanted to help him by telling his story, but not from the drama. And there ‘Abisal’ was born. The contest From another prism appeared, on functional and sexual diversity, organized by Netflix and Notodofilmfest. We entered the contest and out of 250 projects they selected three, including ours. So we will shoot the short film first and then try to turn it into a fictionalized documentary series.