‘La Novia Gitana’ was the first published novel by Carmen Mola, a pseudonym behind which Jorge Diaz, Agustín Martínez and Antonio Mercero hid, starting a police literary saga that will publish its fourth installment in 2022. This year, specifically On September 25, the adaptation of the first of the books will premiere on Atresplayer Premium, with Paco Cabezas behind the scenes and Nerea Barros playing the complicated inspector Elena Blanco. Within the framework of the San Sebastian Festival, in its 70th edition, the platform presented the series with the premiere of the first episode and a press conference with its entire team. There we were able to interview the director and the actress before seeing the chapter:
Being such a well-known novel, those who have read the book may think that they already know everything that is going to happen in ‘The Gypsy Bride’, but Cabezas promises us some surprises: “It’s true to what it needs to be true to, which is to say, it follows a plot to hook people, but we’ve allowed ourselves to play around and get creative a little bit.” At the press conference he spoke of the adaptation as “a seed that we have planted and from which many branches have grown”; while in the interview I use a ladder of metaphor to encourage the audience to see it in its entirety: “The series is like a ladder that goes up. Each episode, in my personal opinion, it’s better than the last one and there’s a big surprise ending. I invite everyone to watch episode 1 until they reach 8, because I can assure you that they will be surprised and hooked.”
Playing Blanco is Barros, who, like Kate Winslet in ‘Mare of Easttown’, plays a policewoman who wears no makeup and whose family drama is a shadow that chases her. The actress describes her time on the series as “the biggest challenge of my career” since the inspector and herself have little in common: “Elena is all head and I’m all emotion, she becomes emotional when everything goes to shit.”
Although we can think of cinema and television as two very different formats, Cabezas assures that at the moment of truth there are not many differences (“it’s like shooting eight movies”) and describes the feeling of being on set “like writing a poem in a fire or painting a picture on a roller coaster”. Something very important for him, he tells us, has been to take care of visual aesthetics, because we have already seen too many American FBI series where they appear “The same clichés, the same cars… Getting to take that here and make it real was the challenge.” To give it a unique personality, the director used colors as another language: “Everything in the series is in blue colors, brown colors, ocher colors, and yet there are no flashy colors. There are only two that catch the eye, the white of the wedding dress and the red of blood. It is a work done so that as a spectator you enter an apparently realistic world, but in which every detail is taken care of”.
Of course, although knowing the plot and the aesthetics, everything also resonates with ‘Top of the Lake’, ‘Marcella’, ‘La Caza’ or the Baztán Trilogy’, Barros emphasizes that “Elena Blanco is Elena Blanco and there is something very authentic that the whole series has: it is very much from here, with some twists in the script and wonderful fiction.”
The gypsy representation
“‘The Gypsy Bride’ is a meat sister of what ‘Goodbye’ is“, Cabezas tells us, referring to his latest feature film, “because it is a story told with real characters where flamenco is very important, where gypsy characters are played by gypsy actors, where everything is true”. Later, at the press conference, the director wanted to emphasize how proud he was to have had gypsy actors and actresses both for leading roles and for extras, because it is something that, according to him, “it’s never been done before.” He then invited Moreno Borja to the stage, who in the series plays Moisés, the father of the two murdered young women. The actor shared the director’s enthusiasm and told a shooting anecdote to exemplify how he had earned the trust of the team: “What amazed me in the cemetery scene is that there was a loudspeaker and Paco told me «I’m going to play Camarón». I tell him “Paco no, they’ll kill us, it’s not going to work” and he “I’m going to put it on” and actually made everyone go in full. I have seen other films where the gypsy community appears and it is very difficult to achieve what Paco has achieved. He has treated us with care and affection to make it real.”
Cabezas had already told us about this scene, which is one of his favorites of the season: “They told us that in a gypsy funeral sometimes they lift the coffin with their hands. There are some beautiful shots of a wave of people carrying it up to the niche that I think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever shot. And I’ve shot Eva Green.” Waiting for international distribution to succeed as ‘Veneno’ or ‘Cardo’ have already done, Atresplayer Premium will premiere one chapter a week starting on September 25, with a first season made up of 8 episodes in total. For Jose Antonio Anton, content director of the platform, seeing it like this, just a little bit, without marathons, “makes the experience better” and he will have us two months following the investigation of Inspector Blanco and her team. During the presentation it was confirmed that they will produce a second season that adapts the second novel, ‘The purple network’, but it has not been announced when it will be ready or if it will repeat with the whole team.