• From 2011 to 2017, Jaime Nava had a series of experiences in the French rugby championships, from Federal 1 to Pro D2 with Saint-Etienne, Bourg-en-Bresse, Périgueux and Dijon.

  • Marked by the “shameful” qualifying match for the 2019 World Cup between Belgium and Spain, the former captain of the Iberian selection then prepared an astonishing reconversion of actor.

  • At 38, Jaime Nava now plays the role of Canizo in season 5 of

    La Casa de Papel

    , the first five episodes of which have just been broadcast on Netflix.

On September 3, Jaime Nava's phone started ringing all over the place. Professional rugby player for six seasons in Pro D2 and in French Federal 1, this Madrilenian nevertheless retired from sports in 2019. At 38, he plays a secondary role in three of the five episodes of the last season of

La Casa. by Papel

. Suffice to say that among the players, managers and supporters of CA Saint-Etienne, the Union sportive bressane Pays de l'Ain (USBPA), CA Périgueux and Stade Dijonnais Côte d'or, all the clubs where Jaime has played Nava from 2011 to 2017, many people have been hallucinating for twenty days watching one of Netflix's most popular programs.

“During my period in Bourg-en-Bresse, where we were French Federal 1 champions in 2013, it allowed me to reconnect with Vincent Giacoletto, Christopher Poulain, Jean-François Martinez, and even teammates of whom I I couldn't remember, Jaime Nava smiles.

It's incredible, everyone said to themselves: "This guy who plays Canizo, I'm sure we played together".

"USBPA and its former player have since sent" very strong hugs "on social networks.

pic.twitter.com/h3pLqh48LT

- USBPA - Bourg-en-Bresse (@USBPA_Rugby) September 7, 2021

He was "secretly" the actor of the family

If the presence of the former third center line in the Spanish star series is "unexpected", as the person admits, it does not fall from the sky. “I've always been a culture lover,” says Jaime Nava, who remembers being rocked by his parents in the world of music hall. It's like a childhood dream because I did a bit of theater at school when I was little. Even though I was a rather shy kid, I was secretly the actor of the family, doing a lot of imitations, jokes and songs. "

Then the oval ball entered his life as a teenager and he "focused" only on this "passion" for fifteen years, shared between his clubs and the Spanish selection (78 capes), of which he was even the captain.

With a turning point on March 18, 2018 and a high-stake match in Brussels: if successful against Belgium, its selection would qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, 20 years after its sole participation in the benchmark tournament.

The absence of the 2019 World Cup, "a very hard blow"

“It should have been a historic day for Spanish rugby, our dream was about to come true,” recalls Jaime Nava. Thanks to us, Spanish society was finally starting to talk about rugby. It was huge for me, because as a captain I had really gone through a lot of years of shit! Then there was this bizarre and even violent story in Belgium. In rugby, we don't like to talk about refereeing, but I'll never be able to understand what happened that day. It was a bit of shame for rugby and its values. "

Beaten (18-10) in this decisive meeting, led by a Romanian referee ... while a Spanish defeat qualified Romania, Spain was finally disqualified from the race at the World Cup by the international federation for having appealed to " non-eligible players ”. “At the psychological level, it was a very hard blow for me and it precipitated the end of my career a bit,” sighs Jaime Nava. But this slap had the merit of hastening his conversion, after a final season in 2018-2019 in the Spanish championship.

Being captain of the national team gave me a lot of visibility.

As early as 2018, with this story lived in Belgium, I was contacted to participate in the

MasterChef

TV program

.

I was eliminated halfway through the show because I wasn't very good at cooking (smile).

But it triggered something in me, and that's how I very quickly had the opportunity to start in fiction.

"

"An incredible opportunity" just after "La Unida"

After training for 18 months in an acting school in Madrid and taking part in some short films, he was informed by his agent of a casting for a Spanish television series. Bingo, here is already our solid fellow of 1.91 m and 105 kg in the role of police chief for two episodes of

La Unida

, broadcast in France via Amazon Prime. Last year, his lucky star is back following an a priori inconclusive casting for a series of Alejandro Amenabar.

Because this essay leads improbably to this famous role of Canizo in

La Casa de Papel

.

“I immediately understood that it would be an incredible opportunity, even without knowing the exact importance of this character,” he explains.

In August 2020, Jaime Nava therefore attacks a fortnight of filming, and he finds himself on the screen for a few seconds of one of the most watched series in the world, while waiting for the rest.

"I wondered if I would be credible in such a series"

"I haven't been able to see anything from the end of the series yet, but normally my role as a soldier should grow a bit in the next five episodes which will be released in December," he says. I am aware that my first steps in fiction are mainly linked to my size and my physical presence. Jaime Nava spontaneously draws a parallel between the world of fiction and that of professional sport, especially on the dimension of "teamwork". Not without having many questions that accompany his "career change". “The closer the episodes were broadcast, the more I began to doubt,” he says. I wondered if I was really going to appear in such a series and if I would be believable in it. »If he has never crossed paths with El Profesor or Tokyo,he believes he has "learned a lot" from actors who are "monsters" such as Fernando Callo, interpreter of Colonel Tamayo, or the former professional boxer Hovik Keuchkerian, alias Bogota.

"Rugby is always part of my life", recalls the one who is keen to support the Colosse aux pieds d'Argile association of Sébastien Boueilh as far as Spain, committed to the fight against sexual violence in sports.

This fervent supporter of Atlético de Madrid is thinking of a comparison to evoke his luck as a neo-comedian: “Being already in a project like

La Casa de Papel

is like arriving at Stade Toulousain at the age of 20.

Either take this opportunity or let it slip away ”.

To see how he handled the aftermath of the Brussels fiasco in 2018, we are not too worried about the post-

Casa de Papel

for Jaime Nava.

Public release

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Series

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