Inés Efron & Martín Piroyansky: interview

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Time Out spoke to the two lead actors from Lucía Puenzo's Argentinian heartbreaker, 'XXY'

What’s it like being an actor in Argentina at the moment? Are you kept busy?
Inés Efron: 'We are lucky to have work because in Argentina because a lot of people study to be an actor and it’s not easy to get work. However, there is a good side because if nobody calls you to be in a play or a movie, you can make your own project. People have a lot of different projects going on; it’s a very interesting place.'

What were your first thoughts when you read the story for 'XXY'?
IE: 'I liked the Alex character a lot and thought: I can do that. I felt a real connection. And I thought the story was really nice, but hard-edged too.'

Was there any trepidation in playing a character with gender problems like Alex’s?
IE: 'The issue arose more when I was playing her. I worried about crossing the limits and making it too forced or not realistic enough.'

Your characters in the film have these hidden depths. How did you approach that? The impression at the end is that he might be gay…
Martín Piroyansky: 'That’s interesting because the whole thing about the movie is that it’s about taking decisions, and we didn’t want to say "this is like this, or like that." Each one of us had our own impressions. We didn’t want to tell the audience, "I’m gay, or he or she will be a man or woman." I needed to have my own answer, but I tried to be very subtle about it. For me, I made a story of a boy who was discovering he was gay, but that’s just my perspective.'

Did you do much research into the characters?
IE: 'A little, but not a lot. After we screened the movie in Buenos Aires, I feel like I learned more about it than I had done when we were shooting the movie. We had a lot of press coverage, debates were sparked and the radio started talking to doctors about the issue.'

MP: 'When I act, I like to work with images of people. I also remembered kids from secondary school and tried to copy their body language. For me, it’s like playing a game, playing at being an actor. Playing at how he walks, how he sits, how he stands, how good he says something. But in spite of all that, I identified with the character because he’s an insecure person.'

You said there was a lot of press in Argentina. What was the general response to the film? Was there any outrage?
IE: 'Yes, when the movie first came out, a lot of people were like, "oooh". When we went to do TV interviews, there were a lot of serious questions, but people weren’t attacking it. One day I was listening to the radio and there was a doctor talking about the whole subject of hermaphroditism and a whole ethical debate was sparked, which I found very interesting. Articles in magazines were coming out, not necessarily connected to the film, but it seemed to open up a taboo subject that hadn’t been talked about before.'

I hear you’re working with the director Lucía Puenzo again for another movie. Are you able to talk about that?
IE: 'It’s called "The Fish Boy" and it’s based on the first novel she wrote. It’s about a family and the romance between the maid and the little girl of the house, played by me. It’s a thriller. There’s hard sex, but not with me this time.'

Author: David Jenkins



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