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Lights, camera and… books

Actors and actresses who write

“Perhaps the true success of life is reduced to that: to discover at some point in that long pilgrimage that the only way to unravel the great mystery of our existence lies in accumulating failures, one after another; lost battles; in hitting rock bottom; in not reaching any of the goals that one day we postulated based on our own demands or the designs of others; in continuing to walk without a compass or shoes”.

The greatness of things without a name

(La Esfera de los Libros, 2018), Enrique Arce.

Although Enrique Arce defined his novel as “a journey of inner transformation; an initiatory journey…, perhaps my own through an invented character and circumstances”, it is hard to believe that the writer of these lines is one of the most popular actors of the moment. Does he know failure? His Arturo Román is one of the most hated characters in the world-famous La casa de papel. During his more than two decades as an actor, he has participated in other important series such as Periodistas, Compañeros, Física o química, Amar en tiempos revueltos or El tiempo entre costuras, and in films such as Terminator: Destino oscuro or Dioses y Perros.

Arce is one of a small but select group of actors and actresses who feel just as comfortable in front of the camera as they do in front of a computer screen. Noir novels, romance, psychological thrillers, essays… No formula can resist them. These are some of our actor-writers.

Ana Diosdado

Margarita Xirgu’s goddaughter, she made her stage debut at the age of five in the play Mariana Pineda, by Federico García Lorca. At 27 she was a finalist for the Planeta Prize with the novel En cualquier lugar, no importa cuándo. From then on she began a literary career that made her one of the most important playwrights and scriptwriters on the Spanish stage. In 1970 she premiered her first play, Olvida los tambores, which won her the Mayte de Teatro and Foro Teatral prizes.

Another of her great successes was the novel Los ochenta son nuestros, which she published in 1986 and which she premiered in its theatrical version in 1988. Ana Diosdado is also the author of Cristal de bohemia, Decíamos ayer and El chico del violín, among other dramatic texts. She received the Max Award of Honour in 2013 for a lifetime in theatre, and her latest play, El cielo que me tienes prometido, was premiered in 2015.

Fernando Fernán-Gómez

Novelist, playwright, actor, scriptwriter, academic and filmmaker. He is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding figures in our culture. His first novel, El vendedor de naranjas, appeared in 1961. In the 1980s he intensified his literary career and, in addition to short stories, he published poetry, theatre, essays and even children’s literature (Los ladrones and Retal). From those years are works such as El viaje a ninguna parte (The Journey to Nowhere), El mar y el tiempo (The Sea and Time), Las bicicletas son para el verano (Bicycles are for Summer), Impresiones y depresiones. Barcelona, A Roma por algo and La coartada.

But one of his greatest successes is undoubtedly his autobiography in two volumes: El tiempo amarillo: Memorias I (1921-1943) and El tiempo amarillo: memorias ampliadas (1921-1997), published in 1990 and 1998, respectively.

He once stated in an interview: “I am very capable of doing nothing. I’m not one of those people who say they have to be working because otherwise they won’t be fulfilled. No. If I had been a rich heir, I would have been perfectly fine doing nothing”. Thank goodness I wasn’t.

Nuria Gago

She has always dreamed of becoming an actor and she has succeeded. She has combined TV series (Mis adorables vecinos, Amar es para siempre, Mir…) with cinema (Noviembre, by Achero Mañas; Héctor, by Gracia Querejeta, which earned her a nomination for the Goya awards as a new actress or Tu vida en 65′, by María Ripoll). But since 2015 a new passion has been part of her life: writing. It was then that she published her first novel, Cuando volvamos a casa, and three years later it was the turn of Quiéreme siempre, which was recognised with one of the most important literary awards in our country, the Azorín Prize.

Pablo Rivero

To date, he has published three novels. The first of them, No volveré a tener miedo (2017), was the reason why Toni Alcántara, the character he has been giving life to for two decades in Cuéntame cómo pasó, disappeared for a year from the screens. He needed to focus entirely on writing this thriller set in the 1990s. Then came Penitencia (2020) and Las niñas que soñaban con ser vistas (2021), two disturbing plots.

Cristina Higueras

In recent years she has combined her career as an actress and theatre producer with that of a writer. She has published four novels, the first of them, Consuelito de la Ascensión (1995), with a markedly humorous tone. It took her a decade to return to the bookshops and she did so with a very different approach: “As a reader, I have always had a weakness for crime novels, especially the classics of the genre. My aim is to develop gruesome stories in which no one is what they seem. I even go a step further: no one is who they think they are,” she says. This is how his next three works came about: El extraño del ayer, El error de Clara Ulman, which was a finalist for the Celsius prize awarded by the Semana Negra de Gijón, and the most recent, Soy tu mirada (2021).

Carlos Bardem

He is part of one of the oldest sagas of actors and actresses in the country, a profession to which he succumbed after travelling the world and dedicating himself to a variety of occupations. His other profession is that of writer. In 1997 he published his first book, Durango Perdido, a shooting and travel diary of the film Perdita Durango. His debut as a novelist came two years later with Muertes ejemplares (Exemplary Deaths), Special Mention from the Nadal Prize Jury. This was followed by Buziana o el Peso del Alma (2002), winner of the Destino Guion Award, and his mother’s memoirs, La Bardem (2005). Five years later he returned to novels with Alacrán enamorado, a finalist for the Hammett Noir Prize and made into a film in 2013 by Santiago A. Zannou. In 2020 he published Mongo Blanco and in 2021, El asesino inconformista, his latest novel to date.

Mar Regueras

Used to being in front of the cameras in series such as El comisario, Hospital Central, Sin identidad or Desaparecidos, or being part of the cast of films such as Rencor or La flaqueza del bolchevique, Regueras turned her professional life around and turned to writing in 2016. Although at first El amor y su puta madre was a text intended for the theatre, the impossibility of bringing it to the stage turned it into a book in which the most typical profiles of men in relation to love are described. A play about what women talk about when they are not in the presence of men.

Jordi Sánchez

Playwright, scriptwriter and actor, the role that has consecrated him as a television icon is that of Antonio Recio, the fishmonger in La que se avecina. In addition to television, he has participated in numerous films such as Señor, dame paciencia, Bajo el mismo techo, Cuerpo de élite and Si yo fuera rico. But he is also a renowned author of plays such as Krámpack (MAX Award 2003), Mareig, Fum fum fum, Soy fea, Excusas, Hoy no cenamos, Asesinos todos and El eunuco. She has published the book of autobiographical short stories Humanos que me encontré and in March 2021, her second narrative work, Nadie es normal: a book full of humour and tenderness where she brings together everyday stories, vital reflections and anecdotes about her profession.

Leticia Dolera

The Catalan actress, screenwriter and director has always shown her commitment to the fight for gender equality. Something she wanted to reflect in her book entitled Morder la manzana, la revolución será feminista o no será, published at the beginning of 2018. In addition to having participated as an actress in the series Al salir de clase, Hospital Central, Los Serrano and Bajo Sospecha, in 2015 she wrote, directed and starred in her opera prima, Requisitos para ser una persona normal, for which she was nominated for a Goya for Best New Director. In October 2019 she premiered the series Vida perfecta, which she stars in, directs and co-writes with Manuel Burque, and which is now in its second season. She has won two awards at the Cannes Series Festival for Best Series and Best Female Performance.