I recently got the chance to talk to Carlos Leal about his role in ‘Sennentuntschi: Curse Of The Alps’. Here, Carlos talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what’s coming up for him in 2011/12…
Hey Carlos. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘Sennentuntschi: Curse Of The Alps’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Sennentuntschi’ is a Swiss legend: three mountain dwellers drink absinthe and build a puppet to satisfy their sexual desires. The puppet becomes real and the young girl is raped by the three guys. But she comes back for revenge.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I met the director Michael Steiner in 2006 at the Swiss Film prize. He had received the Best Movie award for his former movie ‘Grounding’ and I won the Best Actor award for ‘Snow White’. After the ceremony, all the winners had dinner together and Michael and me shared our passion for Sergio Leone’s films. Two years later, he called me and told me: “Carlos, we’re gonna shoot a Sergio Leone in the Swiss mountains!!!”
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Martin is a jealous man, a bit TOO jealous: he just murdered his girlfriend and he is now trying to escape from the city. The only place he could hide is in the mountains. But escaping from his former life doesn’t mean he will survive his guilt.
How would you say this film differs from other horror mysteries?
Behind this terrible legend hides a very actual problem: child abuse.
The film stars Roxanne Mesquida, Nicholas Ofczarek, Andrea Zogg and your good self – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It was an amazing melting pot. And we were isolated in the mountains. Great experience, but not always easy. The best idea we found to kill the stress was karaoke nights, very efficient, haha!
Let’s talk a bit about you Carlos. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I was a rapper with the French hip-hop group called ‘Sens Unik’ (5 golden records). We did a lot of concerts and videos, so I was already used to being in front of a camera. But when one day, a director offered me a part in a play, I found I could liberate myself by being somebody else for a couple of hours. I liked it so much that I decided to start acting classes in Paris. Day after day, it became a real passion.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Try to build families. If you’re a young actor with no resume, don’t try to work with Scorcese, but with young directors. Short films are a very good way to practice your acting skills and meet people. If you have a good relationship with the director of a short, there are good chances he will work with you again. It’s also the best way to collect videos to make your reel.
We should mention that you made a brief appearance in a Bond film – how does it feel to have been part of such a cult British series? What do you remember about the shoot?
Well, it helps. Having been in a James Bond film is always good for your resume. The experience was interesting because being in such a big structure makes you understand how the industry works. I remember having fun with Madds Mikkelsen and the other actors in the poker scene. We were using our per diem to play poker at the hotel…I lost all my money, haha! Luckily, I’m not a gambler.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Oh my god!!!!! A lot of stuff. But my favourites would be: LCD Soundsystem, Jaques Brel and the soundtrack of the movie ‘The Thin Red Line’.
You’ve had a number of roles in a variety of different projects – who has been your favourite actor to work with and which has been your favourite project to be a part of?
I really enjoyed working on the movie ‘For The Good Of Others’. The story is fantastic. And the producer Alejandro Amenabar is one of the most talented Spanish directors. Working with Martin Sheen has been an honor for me; this man is a legend but he’s still working hard on every bit of dialogue, every scene; and he is also the most humble star I have met.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Interesting might not be the right word, but certainly sad and dramatic. This article in the English edition of ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’: http://mondediplo.com/2011/09/04somalia.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I’ve got three movies coming out:
- ‘The Way’ – starring Martin Sheen and directed by Emilio Estevez.
- ‘Carré Blanc’ by J.B. Leonetti.
- ‘Escape From Tibet’ by Maria Blumencron.
And I’ve just produced ‘The Gift’ – a short film directed by my wife Jo Kelly. It’s the story of a relationship between a disabled person and a prostitute.
Thanks for the interview!