Madrid. Lavapies neighborhood. Ona, an aspiring actress in her thirties, has just moved to the city with her boyfriend and a good backpack of dreams to fulfill. But she doesn’t even have a casting call scheduled, and when she lands a role, she has to work with a man who makes her wonder if she’s with the right person. Fate thing, right? He thinks something like that too Lourdes Hernandez (Madrid, 1985), known as Russian Red, about her leading role in this film, that ‘Ramona’ as the title.
The singer of songs as well-known as ‘Cigarettes’ has briefly taken a break from her musical facet to explore the world of acting. Also, not with any film, because it is in black and white, recorded in 35mm, with Andrea Bagney at the helm and Tortilla Films in production. We talked to her about her film debut, what the love story told by ‘Ramona’ has meant to her, and what she will do once she puts herself back in the shoes of Russian Red, the artist.
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What has the experience of making your acting debut through the front door been like: a movie?
It has been amazing, I am very happy. Not only because I have worked on a film, but because it is written and directed by Andrea Bagney, a woman who inspires me deeply, with whom I have connected so much and with whom I will continue to work. For me, artistic collaboration and the ability to channel emotions in a different way other than through music has been a discovery. I already knew what I wanted to start doing, but it is something that I have confirmed that I want to continue doing. I feel like it connects me with other people.
What led you to make this decision? Maybe a break from the music or more of an extension of the art of it?
I feel that the decisions are not made by me, they are made a little by themselves. When the film arrived, I saw that the project was good and that the people behind it were also good. It was my heart that accepted it, not my head. Decisions are logical things, and when the opportunity to make this movie came to me, I felt that it was not a logical thing, that it went further. Ramona something that belonged to me. In addition, I had been wanting to explore the interpretation of emotions through characters that were not so much me for a while.
Would you star in a feature film again then?
Of course yes. I really like acting, getting into the skin of other characters… I’ve taken a liking to it a lot. In fact, I’m currently working on a series directed by Chloe Wallace for Netflix.
This is none other than ‘A perfect story’, the adaptation for the platform of the eponymous novel by Elísabet Benavent, starring Anna Castillo and Álvaro Mel.
What have you learned about acting that has surprised you the most?
Which is a kind of journey of self-discovery. I always find points of connection with the characters and by finding them, I feel like I know myself a little better.
How did you prepare for the role of Ona?
It was a very organic and very artisanal process. We had a lot of time to prepare it, because we had the pandemic going on, and there were a lot of conversations about the story and about Ramona. This gave me time to start a series of connection processes with the character, such as darkening my hair, leaving my eyebrows thicker… I gradually got into the skin of what I thought Ramona was.
Who are your favorites in the film world?
I really like Paul Thomas Andersson, Greta Gerwig, Loui Garrel… They are people I would love to work with.
Let’s talk about the film, what message would you like the audience to be left with after seeing ‘Ramona’?
I don’t think there is a concrete message. Movies without a specific message put you in a mirage space with yourself. I feel like Ramona is the anti-hero. She starts and ends the movie more or less in the same place. I think that’s more realistic.
Broadly speaking, it talks about a love story. What is your most beautiful love story?
My most beautiful love story, and I am also in this process a lot right now, is with myself. I feel that I am in a process of falling in love with myself and loving myself very much. I feel like it’s the first time I’ve been in that place. Only from this state of intoxication can you live the best love stories with the rest.
It is also about the opportunities we miss. Do you feel that you have taken advantage of all the opportunities that have been presented to you?
The truth is that if. I feel that I have taken them, but another thing is whether I was prepared for them or not. Not with all the things that have come to me I have gone with the yes ahead. Things come to you when you are supposed to be ready. But sometimes they come to you and you weren’t as bad as you thought.
And do you believe in second chances?
Of course yes. In fact, I think that, somewhat in line with what I was telling you before, second chances come when you are definitely ready for them to come to you.
The film is set in Madrid, where you are also from. What would a perfect day be like In this city?
I feel that right now I am so in love with Madrid… In fact, I think that this process of falling in love with myself has a lot to do with being back in my city and feeling a symbiosis with it. I am connecting again with the Madrid scene. I feel that a perfect day has a lot to do with spending time with my friends, going to eat at Café Gijón, going to an expo, escaping to a night event and dancing, talking on the phone with my mother, taking Chula for a walk in the park …
Regarding your music, what is the reason for the slowdown in releases?
Actually, I’m composing a lot and I have a project with new songs that I’m selling. The ‘break’ is due to nothing more than to continue researching myself and exploring new artistic disciplines. My life does not begin and end with music.
Do you plan to release something new soon?
I’m trying to figure out how I get them out, but yeah, I’ve got new stuff.
What’s your next move as Lourdes?
I keep shooting and seeing how to contextualize those new songs so that they see the light.