Javier Pereira | Inspirational | LaLiga THE COUNTRY

What does Pereira see when he looks at himself?


How the boy who saw what no child should see becomes an actor

A smile is the most perfect of masks. Who knows what is hidden behind. Even if the one who smiles is a child. Especially if it is one that, in his words, “saw and faced what no child should see and face at that age.” He lost his parents. Pereira says that many of those childish smiles concealed a suffering that he has been treating ever since in therapy and that, to a certain extent, has shaped him: mature since he was a child, grateful and always capable of finding the golden nugget that glitters in the mud. “My grandmother taught me the fight: you go once, and another, and another, you go a thousand times without giving up and, at a thousand and one, perhaps, that door you were knocking on will open,” he remarks. He grew up with her, a woman who came from La Vera (Cáceres) with nine children on her back and raised them in a bakery in Carabanchel; the wing under which to seek shelter in adversity, where to always find the tenderness necessary to resist.

He grew up with her and with his uncle, who was the one who led Pereira to end up bumping into acting: “It’s great that you play soccer so much, but you have to sign up for something artistic.” That boy must have found a vehicle of expression for whatever was going on in his head, the uncle must have thought. And his nephew was terrible at music, so he tried out at a neighborhood theater school in Puerta de Toledo. That would change their lives for both of them: “We were students of all ages. One afternoon when my uncle came to pick me up at the exit, I noticed how he was looking at a partner who would be around 30. A few days later, she also asked me about him. So I made an appointment. The three of us went to the theater of La Latina. And it worked: they have been together for almost thirty years.

Thank you speech by Javier Pereira at the Goya 2014 ceremony.

A course as lasting as that of the love story that has linked Pereira to the screen ever since: barely two courses after those first steps at school, a short; then dozens of series and movies; and prizes, too. Like the Goya for Best New Actor that he deserved in 2014 for his portrayal of a devious and captivating seducer, charming and violent, in Stockholm. Finally, a happy story for that child. Do you know what Pereira says has been the greatest honor in that successful career? His grandmother, dressed to the nines, accompanying him at the premieres on the Gran Vía. Seeing her swollen with pride. “I know what it meant to her: a gift, a demonstration that everything she had fought for, the sufferings we both had suffered, had been worth it.” She died before seeing him win the Goya. But he, of course, did not forget to raise his hand to heaven that night to dedicate the award to those who were no longer there to see him. To her.

Chapter 2. BEHIND LUCK

Life is a lottery that costs a lot of effort

Javier Pereira maintains a peculiar relationship with luck…

He studied at the Colegio de San Ildefonso, an institution that emerged six centuries ago to welcome orphans or abandoned that still has a residence that houses some 70 minors in the Madrid neighborhood of La Latina. The famous school of singing boys.

Pereira was, on three occasions, one of those children in suits and with a bow tie who bring the psalmody of the Christmas Lottery to homes throughout Spain on television every December 22. And, in two of them, in 1993 and 1994, he sang El Gordo… An unusual accuracy.

Let’s run the clock three years later: 1997. An acting teacher —until today, the coach who helps Pereira with his roles—, Raquel Pérez, sends him to an audition. Among the crowd of adolescent actors who show up, Pereira is chosen to star in Antonio Conesa’s short film about a sick father and a son who is a fan of Atlético de Madrid, champions; a film designated in the pages of the newspaper EL PAÍS by a jury of more than 50 experts as the best of the nineties. And, since that first time, the Real Madrid player who was baptized in front of the camera with red and white skin, has not stopped acting: at 16, The supermarket, daily series of Telecinco; At 17, he went to A Coruña for a year to shoot Nothing is foreverwhich he then linked with the other great series of adolescents from the end of the century, Afterclass. In 26 years, his curriculum contains dozens of titles on the small screen and also more than 15 films, with recognitions such as the aforementioned Goya in 2014 or the new nomination that she received in 2017 for God forgive us in 2017.

Antonio de la Torre (left) and Javier Pereira during the filming of ‘Que Dios nos perdone’.

Luck? The truth is that Pereira speaks of that passion that he was able to turn into a profession as a design of fate. He says: “Life put it in front of me and I got on the train.” A karmic compensation for his childhood. Something like that.

Although not for this reason does he forget for a single day the privilege of not having had to dedicate himself to anything other than acting. It was not by chance, however. She always tried hard. While filming in Galicia, she returned to Madrid every week so as not to miss classes at Cristina Rota’s school —she was trained there, between the ages of 14 and 20—; If she wanted to take a break and travel, she took the opportunity to take acting courses in Los Angeles or London. He is the kind of actor who, if he has to embody a heroin addict, collaborates as a volunteer in Proyecto Hombre until he soaks up that reality; that, to play the villain in Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s film Que Dios nos perdone, he took his body to the extreme of losing 17 kilos in just two months. Pereira’s commitment is unwavering.

Chance exists, but fortune is also pursued. Because, explains Pereira, those who know the difficulty value more each opportunity that is offered to them. He doesn’t miss them. He looks at each achievement with different eyes. “Standing in the complaint is useless. One can afford a few hours of sadness, but only a few hours. Then you have to continue.” Whoever has cheated the fate that was presupposed to that orphan boy, does not spare a drop of sweat.

Cinema icon and creative midfielder

Cover of the Tentaciones supplement of July 7, 2006, the summer in which Pereira released three films


The chosen family leaves the court

Sitting in the cafeteria of the Film Academy, in front of a sugar-free soft drink, Pereira’s cell phone begins to vibrate on the table. “Whenever a game is organized, they call me,” he murmurs, smiling, covering the microphone with his hand.

They have invited him to the 30th edition of the meeting for the benefit of the Down Madrid Foundation that pits artists and celebrities against each other for a good cause. “Is Dani Guzmán also coming?” He asks his interlocutor on the phone, as if trying to make sure that there are others who know what they do with the ball at their feet…

That December 17 marked Pereira’s first visit to the Cívitas Metropolitano. And not exactly to the stands… “I don’t know how I do it, but, being a merengue, I always end up among the colchoneros!”. A pitch on which he really shone: he was the metronome for his team from midfield and scored the goal that closed the final tie: 4-4.

“Few things have the power that football has to make you abstract from your reality and relax”

“A soccer team is a refuge. Each player feels welcomed and you all fight together for common goals. What feeling is more beautiful than the communion of that gang?

“Football is a school of values ​​that we should learn to apply in life: loyalty, sacrifice for our teammate, sportsmanship, the playful component…”

Soccer, Pereira confesses, has probably been the thing that has made him happiest as a child, when he spent five and even eight hours a day playing in the yard, on the street, in the park… Since he was 14 years old he has had a team with friends from school to those he calls “my chosen family”. Today, at 41, with some members married and with children, they still play together at least once a week. Although to do so they have to meet at 11 pm on a freezing winter Monday.

An unassailable friendship. “We have accompanied each other in all the important moments of life”, recalls Pereira, as if, while he pronounced it, the images of those shared moments passed through his head. Birthday party with the cast of this or that series? There were his friends from school and from the neighborhood too: there are no divergent worlds that are worth it, for him. If you have to celebrate, better together. Weddings, births, vacation trips… And if what is needed is a shoulder in a hard moment, together in the trance as well. Like when the father of one of them succumbed to the disease, just the friend who used to take him to see Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu. Who better than him would know how to put himself in his place? Soccer has been a solid seam with yours. Soccer is not just soccer.


The time has come to count

Javier Pereira and his team during the filming of ‘Suelta’.

It always comes: no one is immune. A bump. A period in which it seems that fortune turns its back on you. After “giving up his life” in the character that earned him the second Goya nomination, the twisted and scrawny Andrés from Que Dios nos perdone (2017), came a fallow. What does something like this imply for a combative spirit like Pereira’s? “It’s part of the game,” he says, and shrugs without looking away. He was, to a certain extent, an incentive: at the age of 30 he had tried to write and direct a short. So he gave up. But now he felt that it was time: “I did not want to carry the regret of not having tried.” He, too, could not allow himself to do something that detracted from his achievements as an actor: he had to be indisputably fine. Pressure? “Thank you: I have found another passion”.

He thought a lot: what do I want to talk about? And, in that awareness-raising exercise, he realized that the tools he had acquired by overcoming misfortunes from such a young age had given him a deep and methodical look, a perspective from which he could look at issues of general interest making them fully their own. He jotted down various ideas in a notebook—notes with addendums in red ink and green ink, lists and lists of pros and cons—and weighed them all. This is how Suelta was born, the short that he outlined with the help of screenwriter José Manuel Carrasco and that he directed and shot in just four days. And that it is exhibited in Movistar Plus+ and has meant, once again, a happy first time. The doors have been opened, more films will come with Javier Pereira in front of and behind the camera.

Javier Pereira giving instructions to the actors.

Trailer of the short film ‘Let go’.

And in the notebook, what ideas remain pending, well underlined in red and green?

One stands out strongly. SoccerSure, what else? “We deserve a GREAT series with our football as the protagonist.”

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