Until recently, directing films seemed off-limits to women in Spain, but a new generation of filmmakers —Carla Simón, Pilar Palomero, or Paula Ortiz, among others— have broken through that glass ceiling.
The Big Leap
After working in theatre and series such as ‘La otra mirada’ or ‘High Seas’, Begoña Vargas makes the leap to the big screen and plays the leading role in the horror film ‘Malasaña 32’, directed by Albert Pintó. We’ll be on her tail...
She’s not afraid of anything or anyone. Since she was little, she knew she wanted to be an actor and couldn’t imagine doing anything else in life. And now, at just 20 years of age and after many castings, Begoña Vargas (Madrid, 1999) plays her first leading role in Malasaña 32, based on a true story.
In this horror film, directed by Albert Pintó, she plays Amparo, a girl who wants to be an air hostess at Iberia and also look after her family. When she moves to the city, strange things start to happen at her house. “When they gave me the role, I couldn’t believe it at the beginning. It was my first big role in film! I set out to work immediately because I knew the responsibility that this character entailed”, explains the actor. And, on top of that, in a horror film, one of the actor’s favourite genres. Begoña confesses that she even got a coach to prepare for the part. “Horror has an unnatural quality that you haven’t experienced in real life, like scenes from Greek tragedies. I worked on different levels of fear with him. My role has required body training similar to classical theatre, because paranormal and supernatural elements come into play”.
“My role has required body training similar to classical theatre, because paranormal and supernatural elements come into play”
Theatre is not an unknown discipline for Begoña Vargas, who made her first appearances in the world of acting in shows like Les Misérables or The Count of Monte Cristo, among others. “No matter how many times you get onstage and play the same role, each show is different, because the affection you feel from the audience is different every day, as well as experiencing the character’s journey completely differently. It’s much more real. Whereas, in film and TV, it feels different. It’s harder to maintain emotional continuity and, since we work in sequences, you must be aware of where your character is at all times”, she explains.
This actor made her first appearance as Roberta in the successful series La otra mirada, where she played a student at an academy for young ladies in the city of Seville in the 20s, followed by other series such as Alta mar, by Netflix, with Ivana Baquero and Jon Kortajarena. As well as her omnipresent appearance on Paquita Salas.
Whichever the format, Begoña Vargas’ method to get into her role is always the same. “When I start a project, if there are books on the character, the period she lived in or any kind of useful information, I try to soak it up. I also take guidance from the director, my coach’s advice or whoever knows things about the character”. Nevertheless, she doesn’t take her role home. “On stage or on set I give my all, I concentrate and I’m there 100%, but at the end of the day, I only take Begoña home”.
Regarding her role models, she admits that she’s not sure. “I like to learn things from different work colleagues”, she assures us, although she recognises that Javier Bardem and Luis Tosar are two of her favourite actors. She’s a fan of films like Life Is Beautiful, by Roberto Benigni (“No film has made me feel like that”) and Grease: “I love musicals and I must have seen this film hundreds of times, seriously”. Dancing is another of her passions; she took dance lessons as a child. She reveals her dancing skills on social media, where she has almost 350,000 followers and where we recently caught her dancing with her boyfriend, actor Óscar Casas, in a video that didn’t take long to become viral.
This more than reasonable number of followers and a promising career have made cosmetics, perfume and jewellery brands fight over her image. “For these jobs, you have to give them your personal branding. Mind you, I only work with brands that are my style”, she assures us. But beyond her facet as influencer, she knows that the stage is her home, as well as perhaps telling stories in the future. “I’d like to write a script about something that affects me personally. I don’t think I could be a director, but I could write and represent what I’ve written. Although I think it’s still early days for that”. But it’s not too soon to take the leap internationally. “I have several projects in mind, but I can’t reveal anything yet”, she concludes.