Jerry Lopez catches up with his friend, actress Paulina Galvez, who casts a spell on us

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Jerry Lopez: The last time Paulina Gálvez and I saw each other was in the capital of the Amazon jungle, Iquitos, 16 years ago. There, we lived together for two months during the intense filming of the movie The place that was Paradise with renowned actors Federico Luppi and Elena Ballesteros in the cast. This time, in the New York concrete jungle, we catch up with our lives.

Paulina Gálvez: The filming was an adventure in many ways. A few months after playing Julia, an Amazonian woman, and being surrounded by children who survive in the streets of Iquitos, I became pregnant with my first daughter, America. Those children, so vital and struggling and with so much need, awoke the maternal instinct that was dormant, due to the intensity of my career, along with many fears. I put myself so much pressure! My second son, Leonardo, came shortly after playing Virginia in the period movie Sub  Terra, surrounded by grandchildren of miners who moved me deeply.
Our work sometimes makes us live a parallel life, neither better nor worse, only in another stage. Living through the characters is enormously clarifying, and it has made me understand many things about life, about myself, and meet interesting people on the road. It has also allowed me to travel to countries not as a tourist but fusing with the locals, as I have had to interpret women of different cultures and races. Besides Spanish and Latin I have been Arabic, Italian, Russian, German, American. . . Maybe it helps my own mix since my father is Spanish and my mother is Chilean.
According to the acting coach Tom Todoroff the actor is a professional human being, and so I live it. When I finish the projects I go back to my life modified, always for the better, with more openness and knowledge, and that is what fascinates me of this profession.

JL: The beginnings of this vital journey was in Madrid as a flamenco dancer, in tablaos, with dancers like Joaquin Cortés in the company of Carmen Cortés.

PG: At the age of 18 I was very lost, as far as what I wanted to be in life. I had an enormous need to express myself and I did not know how. I left my parents’ house and instead of studying a career after watching Carlos Saura’s Blood Wedding movie, I became obsessed with flamenco, studied it and got a job as a dancer. My dance partners told me I had chosen the wrong profession, and that I should be an actress. . . I paid attention to them, and although I was passionate about flamenco dancing, I was very curious about acting so I entered the Cristina Rota Acting School in Madrid (where many Spanish actors such as Penélope Cruz and Juan Diego Botto have studied). A couple of months later in my second audition they chose me as the protagonist for the movie Bazar Viena, and I thought that maybe this time I was not mistaken. . .

After such an accelerated start, your career has been a succession of roles in drama, comedy, action, thrillers, and horror. . . Sharing the screen with talented and well known actors like Javier Bardem (in the film The detective and the death and the TV series Tango), Jordi Mollá (in the film The Pianist by Mario Gas), Ivana Baquero (in the film Rottweiller), Cécile de France (in the french film L’auberge espagnole) Elsa Pataky (in the TV series Queen of Swords), Ricky Schroder (in the film Face of terror), Anita Briem (in the film The Nun), Manolo Cardona (in the series The Cartel) among many others.

JL: Working in both Europe and America, in 35 feature films and 27 TV series in Spanish and English. You  have also created your own production company to set up the plays you wish to be a part of. In 2017, you will bring to Off Broadway your production Nobody knows you as I do, by the Catalan writer Roger Peña Carulla.

PG: The theater came to me after being quite an experienced actress in film and television. It fills me with energy, it has something ceremonial about it and I am fascinated by the fact that each performance is a unique and unrepeatable act that will only be recorded in the memory of the audience that night. And the next day I will have a new opportunity to live the moment. It is like a loving encounter with a stranger, exciting and dangerous.
I got used to living in an 100% unscheduled way and although that may seem no plan has more to do with being open to what your own life is offering … I put an amount of hard work for what I want to achieve but my own experience says that life sometimes puts you in front of the unexpected, and often that is more interesting than what you could pursue with so much desire. That thought gives me peace of mind and keeps me alert and open to others. For example … who was going to tell us that we would see each other again in New York? To meet again after so many years and to feel the same affection and to be so at ease with our presence to me is enough to make me feel happy. Thanks Jerry for sharing this moment with me.