William Levy arrives at the JW Marriott hotel with imposing dark circles. The Cuban actor has barely slept the night before and his eyes are stinging. Moments before the interview, he asks for a bottle of sparkling water while a makeup artist puts the finishing touches on him and his personal assistant supplies him with a fruit skewer.
The performer who drove Spanish women crazy with his role as Sebastián Vallejo in Café con Aroma de Mujer comes to Spain to present Montecristo, the new series about the literary classic by Alexandre Dumas that premieres today on Movistar Plus +.
William Levy hasn't become one of those corseted stars who responds with hollow words and phrases made to look good in promotional interviews. William Levy gets wet and that, in these times, is a treasure.
What is this new Count of Monte Cristo like? Look, we took the original book by Alexandre Dumas and moved it back to our time. We had to change many things, because the situations that were created at that time today cannot occur. He is blamed for a murder he did not commit, he is imprisoned for life and he manages to escape until he reaches the United States from the island of Cuba. Then, he receives a fortune that is what he uses to carry out his revenge in Spain.What is the greatest difficulty of adapting a classic? It's a big responsibility because people already know the story. It is not the same to make a character that people do not know anything about than to already know the character and are waiting for something. They are two characters in one and he is all the time fighting against his demons, against his problems and with his antagonist. I do not know. I think people know very well what order they can give you as an actor. The director is the only one who can do it. Even I as a producer can't give an order to an actor because that's what the director is for. An order that is wrong and that is against the character you will not accept because you know your character better than anyone. Is it true that you transfer the sensations of the character you play to real life? It may happen sometimes. It's very difficult to be working 12 hours a day doing a character. You are entering into some emotions that you have to carry out to enter a recording set. But, to get to the set, you have to start feeling them from the dressing room. If you get on set and people make jokes, you're focused and you think, "Guys, I'm into a character and if I make a joke now, when they call me action I'm not going to be into character." I am one of those who if in a scene I have to be a little angry I must feel it. There have been actresses who have told it. Laura Londoño, your partner in 'Café con aroma de mujer', complained that sometimes you were very borderline with her and did not know why. I used to get there and I didn't like to say it because if you say it, it's like you know what I'm doing. I made her feel uncomfortable because that's what was in the scene, you know? So it was a real feeling. I work with the other actors and if I need you to give me an emotion to work, I need you to reach those emotions without you knowing. That's my way of working. It's very personal and the truth helps me and the other person a lot, even if I don't know it. For years the actresses have criticized that they have been considered as objects. How does a man live it when he has to be the 'sex symbol'? I've always said that if you're going to complain, don't do it, whether you're a man or a woman. What do you do it for? Don't do it. It's simple. You decide what to accept into your life. You have to be true to your principles. If you are a model and you have to sell underwear, you have to wear it. You can't feel used. If not, what do you sell underwear for? If a model has to take off its underpants, it has to do so. If not, let it not be a model. After #MeToo the notions of masculinity and femininity have changed a lot. There is talk that women are advancing so much that men are in crisis. How do you see the masculinity that can come out of all this? What do you mean by that masculinity that may come out of this? Is masculinity feminine? In what sense? No, thisWhy do you say so? What do you call toxic masculinity? To the subject of machismo.What is machismo for you? I refer to all these situations that have been lived with the #MeToo.But, what is machismo? Well, don't be treated the same because you're a woman. I feel that machismo is when a man does not want the woman to get ahead and be successful in life. But we've reached a point where if you open the door to a woman, she tells you why you open the door for her. That seems a bit ugly to me. Some people think we're going to the other extremeBecause how do I teach my son to be a heartthrob? How do I teach my son to be a gentleman if there is no lady who wants to be treated like a lady? Do you understand me? That's where we're at, looking for a new model... But why do we say it's toxic masculinity? It's something we're losing. A woman likes a masculine man. Or not? Being macho does not mean being macho. We have confused him. Not being macho doesn't mean you're feminine as a man. The most beautiful thing in a woman is that she is feminine. Femininity doesn't mean you're weak at all. A woman can tell you 'fuck off' by being feminine. A woman can be the scumbag in the world being feminine. You don't have to behave like a macho, like a man. The feminine woman can be stronger than a masculine man. We have gone to extremes and completely distanced ourselves from each other. It is affecting us a lot because we are different animals and that is the most beautiful thing that makes us love each other in that way. Mercedes Milá declared her love for you several times. What she did could have been done by a man? He's in prison, he's in jail, isn't he? So, we are wrong. We have to respect and take care of each other. Now, for me it was nothing bad. I'm fine with her and we get along very well. And he hugs me and it's normal. Well, it's not that normal either. For me it's normal. I don't see it as a bad thing. I can't say I felt sexually harassed. She complains now that you don't write her anymore and that you ghost her. No, not at all. I have problems in my life and a thousand things that are happening to me. My life doesn't depend on her or anyone else. It's up to me and my kids. I can't live on the lookout if someone gets upset if I don't call her. If you get upset, it's your problem. Milá is a very beautiful person, but she has to understand that I don't bother if she doesn't call me. I love her very much, but I have things in my life.What is the biggest stick you have taken in life? [Big laugh] It's that for Cubans that's different. What does palo mean in Spain? The biggest blow or failure. What does it mean in Cuba? I can't tell you. For me it has never been anything a failure but a teaching. So I've never seen anything like a failure.
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