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Demián Bichir: “I am a Mexican actor looking for space anywhere in the world”

Demián Bichir is back.

With a career of more than 40 years, during which time he has been recognized in several countries, the Mexican actor returns to American television as the protagonist of the series Let the Right One In, a story based on the successful novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and later, Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish film of the same name.

The series narrates the life of Eleanor (Madison Taylor Baez), who at the age of 12 was infected with a strange virus that turned her into a vampire. Eleanor’s father, Mark Kane (Bichir) tries to find a cure for her.

For Demián, this new achievement in his career is the product of years of work and effort that have already earned him an Oscar nomination for his role in the film A Better Life.

Today, Demián is serene and stable after experiencing the unfortunate loss of his wife, the actress Stephanie Sherk, three years ago.

Let The Right One In is his great comeback and he does it in a big way.

We talked to the actor via Zoom about the series, the film that he is about to release as a director, and Without Blood, a production in which he acts with Salma Hayek under the direction of Angelina Jolie.



How did the starring role of the series come to you?

It was a direct invitation from Showtime and Andrew Hinderaker, who is the showrunner and creator of this new version, which is an adaptation of the novel and the Swedish film into a television series. The main challenge was how you can give an interesting twist to a work that is already good, that has been so successful and worked so well.

How do you transform a format from two hours to ten hours, and how do you make it attractive; how can you fill it with elements that can refresh the story, and at the same time not make fans of the film and the novel angry?

I really liked the pilot they sent me; it seemed very solid. I really like the original movie. It seemed to me that the series retains all the elements that we like about the film, but at the same time, it has a series of layers and new characters that from my point of view, enrich it.

So, from there, it was about forming the best group of people, of actors, to be able to put it together and I can tell you that the entire shoot was an absolute joy, from the pilot to the moment Showtime orders the first season, which is ten episodes.

It was truly one of the most intense shoots I have experienced. We are all very proud.


How do you feel about being the protagonist in the series?

It is very difficult to conquer spaces. It is difficult not only to occupy that place but also for the protagonists of a series, of a completely American network, to be Mexicans.

That is one of the great successes, from my point of view, of Showtime – having turned these characters into Mexicans because it also speaks very clearly about how to live in this time and in this country, what it means to be an immigrant, what it means to have so many millions of undocumented workers who still live in the shadows, who can’t get out into the sun, who are encapsulated and marginalized precisely because of that because they don’t have the proper documentation.

So, the analogy is very clear with people who have a disease like vampirism in history because they live more or less the same, they are constantly persecuted, encapsulated and apparently because they are different, they are denied the most basic rights.


At what point do you think you are in your professional life that this character comes to you?

I have always considered myself a lucky actor because projects come at the right time. I pride myself on feeling good in theater, film and television because the medium doesn’t really worry me. I feel comfortable in all three.

I have been fortunate that suddenly, when I do theater, I have done a couple of seasons here in the United States.

Now the time came when I wanted to do television, to find myself with a project of this caliber. I can tell you that my character is the type of character that we actors look for, which we dream of. He’s a Hamlet-level character, Richard III.


Do you identify with your character?

Yes, in many ways. And then in other ways absolutely not because we are very different. But we both like to cook, we are good chefs, and we both have an enormous love for our family.

Basically, that is the premise of this series, that parents are always willing, ready to do whatever is necessary to give our children a good life, a better future, a life full of health, projects and that they can be good people.


How did your life change after your Oscar nomination?

A Better Life was the result of what we had done before with Steven Soderbergh on Che, a film about the Cuban revolution, and that happened at the same time with the Weeds series. I have always thought that each project is your passport, your visa to the next.

After A Better Life, more people knew about me. They knew my name. More people think of you for heavy responsibilities because they know you can handle any challenge. They have been a series of links that have formed a very rich chain.


How do you feel that your first film as a director, A Circus Story & A Love Song, is going to be released soon?

We are finally going to release it on December 2 and that is something very important because I have other projects that I want to direct, that I want to put together again. But you have to give birth to this one before you get pregnant again.

This film was hosted by the Cineteca Nacional de México within its circuit and we are going to premiere it with them. For me, it is an immense honor because imagine it is the Cineteca of our country, in addition to the fact that my family and I have been regular spectators of what is showcased there.

The title we gave the film was Refugio (Shelter) but it was later changed to Un cuento de circo y una canción de amor (A Circus Story & A Love Song.) We have a spectacular cast: Eva Longoria, Jason Patric, Jorge Perugorría, Ludwika Paleta, Julio Bracho, Juan Carlos Colombo and Stefanie Sherk.

Of course, Stefanie earned this movie. It was the only character that had always been given and it is a tribute to her, to her life, to her work that is sensational.

People think that I am a very good director because all the actors are very good. But as Robert De Niro says when he directs, call the best actors and then step aside.


Your fans wonder how you are on a personal level after the loss of your wife, Stefanie.

All human beings are going to go through some type of loss sooner or later. Losses that are very close, of family, of friends, are always painful and only time will help everything to heal. It’s not that the pain goes away. It is that we learn to live with it.


The movie where you act with Salma Hayek under the direction of Angelina Jolie is also coming out soon.

It was a happy reunion because I have known Salma for many years and we have made two films before. This is the third. Salma is in a state of maturity as a sensational actress. You are going to see what she did here and to be directed again by a woman was also a wonderful gift.

I have always thought that actors have within them a very good director. What happens is that not all dare to do it. We all have this radar to be able to carry it out and Angelina’s cinema is truly sensational.

It was a very intense shoot, just 10 days for me with Salma, in Rome and with a great team.

I have enormous faith in the film. I think it’s going to be Angelina’s best movie so far.


Thanksgiving is coming up – what are you thankful for?

First of all, to the blessing of being alive, waking up without any pain because you already know that after 30, everything hurts. I always say that the pain that comes on its own has to go away on its own. I ignore them and they go away.

I appreciate the enormous blessing – that means my family, brothers, parents, friends, and my daughter, of course.

I am extremely grateful to the public in the United States because they have received me with great affection in everything I have done and grateful, of course, to be Mexican. I am where I am because I am Mexican. I am a Mexican actor looking for space anywhere in the world.


Translated by Mario Amaya