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first team Interview - Bruno Sevilla

Interview - Bruno Sevilla
Bruno Sevilla and Assumpta Serna
Bruno Sevilla (Cardinal Bernardino Lopez de Carvajal) and Assumpta Serna (Vanozza dei Cattanei                  Borgia 3rd season

Actor-director, actor-scriptwriter relationship:

1.      I’d like you to put yourself in the shoes of a director…what do you think is the best way to work on set with an actor, from a director’s point of view? Do you think that rehearsals are necessary for all types of film and TV productions?

I would say that it is essential that the actor knows the scene he/she is going to perform in detail and not just the dialogue. Therefore, the actor has to have a meeting with the director prior to the scene, providing precise feedback (precision is what helps the actor most when working), but also the actor must have time to rehearse because it allows the actor to have a general perspective of the character’s journey and to gain confidence, both in his/her work and in the work of the director.  

2.      All actors have different desires, personalities and training, from your experience, what would be the ideal professional relationship between actor and director on set?

For me trust and respect would be the best combination. Trusting in someone that is directing you is essential because actors are usually quite alone when it comes to working and mutual respect makes things flow better, although one might not always agree.

3.      What have you seen or listened to whilst filming on the Borgia series that has made you feel proud of having acted in it?

The professionalism of the people who are involved: the cast, the production team, the scriptwriters, the directors and the makeup and hair department. It makes you realize how lucky you are, to be part of it.

4.      How has it been working on the Borgia set with 19 different nationalities, the most expensive European series to date? What impression do you have of them, having seen them on screen, acting in their characters and working with them on set?

The general feeling is that we are a big family and that we are all working with the same objective. Straight away you are made to feel at home. Everybody knows the series and the characters so well that the cast works incredibly naturally together.

5.    How has it been working with Metin Huseyin? What would you like to say publicly that you couldn’t say on set?
I feel very lucky to have had Metin as my director. I remember arriving on set on my first day and with only a look, I knew I was welcome. He manages to find the confidence in you. Despite being on an enormous set, (which one always associates with a certain level of tension) I remember him being very comfortable, with a great sense of humour, knowing exactly what he wanted and taking the time to give the actors the information that we needed, independently from the responsibility our characters had in the scene. It has been a real pleasure.

6.      How has it been working with Tom Fontana? Can you tell us what are the advantages of having the scriptwriter on set for the actors? What would you like to tell him publicly that you couldn’t on set?

The truth is that I do not know Tom personally, but the whole team speaks wonders about him.

The Profession:

1.      How did you prepare for the character you played in Borgia? How did you prepare for this casting in particular? What type of investigation did you carry out for performing the character?

For the casting, I had the advantage of living just outside of Madrid so I was able to film at home in a more relaxed environment, with as many takes as I thought necessary (and there were many!) and then I sent the video. Concerning the character’s development, there wasn’t much time to prepare because we started filming 48hours after I got the job. So instead, I made sure that I knew the entire episode script and that I had researched into the historical character (especially how he arrived at the Vatican) and I used a lot of intuition. Luckily, I was able to discuss the doubts that I had about the scene with Metin the director, and at the same time with my cast mate Mario de la Rosa, who plays the other Spanish cardinal. We managed to establish a relationship between the two cardinals and this helped me hugely.

2.       Do you think that castings are fair for actors? Even for those that have experience in their characters and have worked on various films? What would be the best way? An interview? Or even finding your own material for the casting?

The topic of castings is always complicated. A casting is like doing an exam but not knowing which is the right way to do it, and also you have to give the best you can in often-unfavorable circumstances. As actors, we hate doing castings but at the same time we spend our lives waiting for the castings. It’s very strange. I understand that there are many actors for very few roles, so ultimately castings will never stop being a necessary evil. I don’t know if there is an ideal ‘formula’, because every project and casting for each character is different, so in the end, what is left to us actors (or at least what I try to do) is to see castings as an opportunity to perform, although it is only for two minutes.

3.      In your opinion, in the current state of things, do you think that actors and actresses are allowed to completely give their own ideas and be part of the creative team on the film or TV set? Do you think their comments are useful?

For me in general, I don’t miss having more creative responsibility, without having the time available to be able to discuss with the director the direction that I have to do. Ultimately, unless there is a rehearsal period, the actor is only expected to interpret the role that has already been written, so the creative contributions of the actor are limited to making the character his/her own as much as possible or simply making his/her work easier. In my experience, the role of the director is the most overriding, because there are directors that leave things to you and trust in you, and there are others that practically tell you the intonation of every word. I believe that part of our work is to know how to adapt ourselves to whichever of the two styles.

4.      Tell us what is the most important thing that an actor has to know, that you discovered yourself and that no one told you.

For me, the most important thing is to be aware of what this profession involves, that you can’t be half hearted about it, hoping that someone will discover you. You can never stop. If they don’t call you, you call them and create your own network of contacts, make short films, go to classes, create your own work. Above all, if you have to combine working in this profession with a ‘day-job’ (like we have all had to do) make sure that you do not get distracted from the path you want to follow. 

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