Are there American directors you are eager to work with?
Yeah, there are those idols that everybody has, but I won’t ever work with a director just because he’s a good director. I will work with a director who has good material because at the end of the day, that’s what counts. All of the good movies are based on how that story was told. And you cannot do it with a bad script, that’s for sure, no matter who. Not even Stanley Kubrick. So it’s about the material, not about the role so much, but the story.
What’s the difference between the material you’re offered from Spain and from America?
I would say they are all the same. I mean, the problem with the scripts, I don't know because I don’t write scripts, but it’s difficult to find… I saw the other day, “Sideways.” I love it, where you can tell there’s a beautiful [story]. I guess it’s about how big are the little things, like the grapes. You’d have to get good [growth] in order to produce a good wine and I guess we are all grapes and everyone has a taste. That was a f***ing brilliant movie.
Do you think of the Oscar potential when you do a role like this?
No, not ever. I live in Spain. Oscars are something that are on TV Sunday night. Basically, very late at night. You don’t watch, you just read the news after who won or who lost. No.
You won’t go if you’re nominated?
That’s a good question. I don't know. First of all, I don't know if I’m going to be nominated because I [got] here like one week ago. I came here with a proposal, which was promote this movie. And since I get here, all these things are going on. So I don't know.
The award is important in order to bring people to the movie theater. That’s the only principle meaning of any award. Awards were made in Hollywood, in whatever the time it was created. They’re to promote each other’s movies. You give me an award, I give you an award and people will believe that we are great movies and they’ll go to see them. It’s still the same. They are not related to quality at all. Some quality performances and movies have a chance to be rewarded, but it’s not like it’s a bible. And also, who can tell who’s best and who’s worst? I mean, something like acting… I mean, what do they have to do with “Gladiator?” What does my performance have to do with Russell Crowe’s? Nothing. If I play Gladiator and we all play Gladiator with Ridley Scott in the same amount of time, maybe we have a chance to see who did it best. And to get into that competition is really scary because you feel like knocking to a lot of doors asking for a boat. Well, I’ve done the movie. That’s all I have to do. You decide if you like it or not. At the same time, will I go? I guess I will. Why? Because I want people to see this movie. So that’s a contradiction.
Would it mean more if you won the Screen Actors Guild award?
That would mean a lot. That would mean a lot. That would mean a lot. But even though, I will not believe that I am the best actor of that year. No, but I will be like, “Whoa, people that know what this job is really in their own skin think that this performance for me was good.” But even though, I won’t believe.
You said you didn’t expect the good response you’d been getting when you came to town. What did you expect?
This time of year, the award seasons is like step by step, no? It’s like they’re talking about generating it and the movie’s not even released. I don't know. It’s like it could be great, but at the same time, I don't know. You have to be aware that this can create an expectation to yourself, and not even that, in people around you, to yourself. Not like in Spain. I don’t want that pressure. If it happens, it’s fine and if it doesn’t happen, don’t put me there. The other Oscar nomination for “Before Night Falls,” I felt like I was working, playing in the Olympic Games. I did a movie, man. It’s only a movie. I’m an actor.
What do you do to get out of the character, go for a run?
I didn’t do anything. Nothing. I just six days a week doing the thing and then Sundays I will stay on the sofa, man. I’ll relax on my sofa. I did it on purpose also. In order to not listen to my body because I will get messed [up]. It needs a lot of focus when you do it because you have to really know where you are going, what you do before, what you’re going to do after, how to match that scene.