If you had the opportunity to make a movie of your life, which would you choose as the first scene?
-Wow, it’s a difficult slogan. There are thousands of options! But it could be when I fell off a horse, because it would look good cinematographically. Or rather, trying to find the headquarters of the University of Buenos Aires when I just arrived from the town (N. de la R: Esteban Lamothe, lived until he was 18 years old in Florentino Ameghino, a place with less than 10 thousand inhabitants, northwest of the province of Buenos Aires). Or maybe it could be those dizzying sixty seconds before my first performance. I don’t know, a lot of things happened in my life for the beginning of a movie.
-Could it be said that you have been having a life worth projecting?
-Absolutely. The same, between us, I think we all have a movie life, beyond the anecdotal of what happens to each human being. The difference is in being able to see it and live it.
-Did you always count on that contemplative look?
-Yes. Since I was a child I was clear that all lives are beautiful, dramatic, ugly, sad, spectacular. I mean, we all go through everything, and we’re not always happy or always sad. Just as no one is only good or bad.
-And you, what are you like? How would you describe yourself?
-As a hard-working and responsible person.
–But you just said that “no one is only good or bad”… Aren’t there flaws in your introspection?
–(nods his head) One hundred billion! And there are probably people who can list even more, but I assume that some of them I must have denied, in order to survive.
–Like any good person!
–(laughs) What if. But hey, I’m like anyone: we’re all selfish and sometimes we feel envy and other ugly feelings.
a lover of life
– What makes you jealous?
-I couldn’t tell you, but it’s an ugly feeling and a horrible word that is going around, that it exists. The same many times that desire for something that another person has and you do not, can become something cool, like a desire.
-On each birthday we ask for three wishes. Is there something you really want today?
-Do not. Bah. Many things.
–And what are the first ones that cross your mind?
–Being able to spend a lot of time with my son (Luis Ernesto, 8), continue working as an actor, be healthy, continue meeting people and enjoying life and everything that being alive implies. I really like life, it’s very beautiful!
“A man with various daily pleasures?”
–A lot!: I drink maté, I enjoy coffee, I like to walk, train, watch boxing, eat with friends, savor a glass of wine and sleep…
–Shooting 1-5/18, you don’t sleep like before, right?
-TRUE. Now I touch the bed and pass out. It’s just that I’m dead, without energy. The strip wears you down as if by erosion, and when you’re recording chapter one hundred… it starts to get complicated. Add to that the fact that I am simultaneously rehearsing to join the play Desnudos, replacing my friend Luciano Castro. I haven’t done theater in a decade.
–Is there already an official date for the television finale?
–We recorded until January 15… I know what you are thinking: for two weeks the recordings will coincide with the performances. But I am clear that when I finish the novel and I am left alone with the theater (he makes a silence, savoring the moment in advance), I am going to work much less time… and that is barbaric!
–And will you miss Father Lorenzo (N. De La R.: the villero priest who plays eltrece in fiction)?
-Without a doubt. It is a job that I love very much and with which I committed myself at a special moment. I grew fond of the strip and Father Lorenzo, and there is no doubt that I will miss going to do scenes like him. I want it! But just as I am grateful for what he gave me, it is also true that I will want to do other things…
–Why do you think that these roles that have to do with marginality have been crossing your path (N. de la R.: in 2018 he had been part of the second season of El Marginal, playing Patricio Salgado)?
-The truth? I do not know. I can’t find an explanation. But yes, it is so. Still, in both stories my characters are upper class. In other words, two guys with money who end up entering this world: in El Marginal, Patricio goes to prison for defending the woman he loves, and here (he looks around at the 1,200-square-meter scenery that simulates the corridors of a neighborhood emergency) it is Lorenzo who decides to go to work in the villas. Anyway, I think there’s something there, huh! I do not deny you.
-In what sense?
–In which I must transmit something half street, or I must give a little of both (he raises his shoulders).
–Did your papers cause people to turn to approach you with their stories through social networks?
-Yes. There are many people who write to me telling me intimate things, as well as thousands who send me photos because they look similar to me. And many are! (she is tempted). There are some amazing photos. Social media can be so much fun.
-Many use some, like Facebook, to meet up with their schoolmates. What do they think of all you’ve accomplished?
-They laugh! They just can’t believe it or understand it! In other words, they don’t get into their heads or give them the accounts, because I didn’t want to be an actor. Also, in my town I was a guy who was having fun and doing macanas.
His past as a musician
–Does it make you nostalgic to talk about your village life?
-Zero! I’m not a nostalgic person. In other words, I love having grown up there because it was fundamental for me and for my formation as a person, actor, friend and boyfriend. But I really like Buenos Aires, today I’m an actor, and in a town there isn’t much to do. Nor was there in another time, when I played in a band.
–The issue of actors/musicians is very fashionable: Would you have a band again?
-No, because I play horrible. It would be bad for me and for the band. Actually, it wouldn’t be good for anyone! (She throws her head back and smiles) It’s just that I used to make do, from time to time, with festivals called Rucho Fest that mix hip hop or trap with rock music. But I haven’t done them for a long time: I got a bit tired of music. Bah, about my music, because I have many musician friends, I go to recitals.
-Would you have a singer girlfriend?
-Yes! Bah, stop, please don’t put the title that I want to have a singer girlfriend. And yes, I would have a girlfriend who is a singer, an architect, one who is a cashier at the Coto… the one I like! When you fall in love, you fall in love.
-Now in what sentimental moment would you say you are?
-I’m alone, at that stage of singleness in which one is still in a kind of limbo. And, since I have more free time, I am dedicating myself to other things and to seeing my friends, of whom there are many. I, posta, am like Roberto Carlos, I have a million friends. And in these months I haven’t seen a quarter of those I want to see.
–During an interview you once said that your first memory of novels was associated with your grandmother, because with her you watched Café con aroma de mujer (1994) and other fictions starring Verónica Castro. Your grandmother, did she come to see you on TV?
–No… my nanny Antonia didn’t see me. And she didn’t see me at Mirtha Legrand’s either, and she was a fan of hers! She would have been happy. She passed away when I was 31 years old. We were very close, because in adolescence, in fourth and fifth year, I lived with her. Bah, now that I think about it, maybe I couldn’t have understood how I ended up being an actor. It would have surprised her and amused her! much that it was, since it seemed impossible.
–Your classmates, your grandmother… I almost think that you can’t even believe it.
-Noooo, I do, because he fully trusted me. What happens is that I was not a child stimulated towards the side of the arts. There was even a theater group in my town and I didn’t even go. It was wilder. I was in another.
–And what was that moment when it occurred to you to dedicate yourself to acting?
“It didn’t occur to me, huh! I was studying Narrative and combined arts, and within the course there was a theater class in which the teacher told me that I acted well. I think it was after an exercise in which I played a dog, because we had to play an animal. And I didn’t know what it was like to be congratulated! I mean, they never congratulated me at school. So after hearing that, I took the plunge and signed up for Cristian Drut’s theater course, and he liked what I did too! I tried another teacher, and the same thing!! It was clear that it was a space in which he had approval. And I strongly embraced what life gave me.
-Many will be surprised to learn that everything was born out of praise.
-Yes. It was thanks to the fact that I listened to what they told me, and that I was flexible and available. You can see that I really wanted something to happen to me! But not only that: I was also encouraged. There are so many who ask (he puts on a dense voice): “Oh, how do you become an actor? And to get there? Do I have to talk to Suar or Tinelli? And no! You have to follow your desire and try to do the things you like. I would get together with my theater companions in the living room of a house and we would put on plays, and then we would do performances. And they were seeing me little by little… It happens that people like the spectacular. Say “he came from the field with a loincloth, hanging from a vine, and a producer saw him on the sidewalk.” There is something about success and the spectacular that you don’t have to sell it to people, because later they are disappointed.
-Would you say that it bothers you when they “sell” you as the actor who was a waiter?
-No, that’s fine, because it’s true: I worked at the La Caballeriza grill in Puerto Madero and earned money, it was a privilege. But you have to tell the boys to study, to train, to flash, to communicate, and not to wait for the big break. Because I didn’t have it either. When they saw me in The Student, I had already made about seven small independent films and about eight or nine plays within the Buenos Aires independent off circuit.
–Do you talk to your son, Luis Ernesto, about these things?
-A little. I try not to give him more information, because I like that he just learns… If he has doubts or questions, I’m here to help him understand, obviously, but there are things that I don’t even know what they are.
– Do you see him similar to you as a boy?
-Mmm no. But because I grew up in a town with many siblings – we are five – and I was from a different social class. I mean, my son is not rich or anything like that, but he is middle class. His mother (Julieta Zylberberg) has a house, his father another, his social work is good, he plays with a PlayStation… while I didn’t count on any of that.
–However, you broke with what others imagined was going to be your future. Today, at 44 years old, and with more than fifteen on screen, would you like to try your luck outside?
-Do not. I’m not interested. Is that there are many Argentine film and theater directors with whom I haven’t worked yet. If I lived to be 90 years old and it was within my capacity to act, because my body allowed it, I would no longer have enough time to share projects with everyone I love. Then it would be bloody to think about the outside.
And what happens if they call you?
-Well, it does happen because someone saw me and it flows, I wouldn’t turn my back on an opportunity. But in no way am I thinking “oh, I have to do a series in Spain on Netflix and another in Colombia”. That, zero! It’s not my carrot.
–You revealed something interesting: if your body continues to accompany you, are we going to see you acting?
–Yes! I would like to act and direct until I am 90 years old, like Clint Eastwood. In fact, right now I’m writing a script and looking for funds to film it. And I already have another writing that I want to direct.
Are you going to star in them, too?
-One, sure. The other one I don’t know yet.
–And do you know the names of those who will accompany you?
–I have some hypotheses, but I still can’t say anything at all: I should talk to my colleagues first, because if they find out from GENTE magazine, it wouldn’t be very long on my part (he closes coolly before greeting and getting up: a few meters from distance, Leticia Brédice and Agustina Cherri await him to record a new scene).
Note: Kari Araujo
Photos: Christian Beliera
Digital retouching: Gustavo Ramírez
Production and styling: Mariano Caprarola
Visual production: Sofia Esther Ortiz
Make up: Barbi Mencia, for Vero Luna
We thank Bowen London for the costumes
More information at gente.com.ar
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Esteban Lamothe: “I would like to act and direct until I am 90 years old, like Clint Eastwood”
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