Ego is the new thriller starring María Pedraza with Pol Monen, Marian Álvarez, and Francisco Boira.
During the confinement caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Paloma (María Pedraza), a 19-year-old girl, goes to a dating network with people of the same sex as her. The young woman begins to lose her mind when a double exactly like her appears on this contact website with clear intentions to impersonate her. Directed by Alfonso Cortés Cavanillas, this new hypertechnological thriller represents a change of scenery for María, who strips herself emotionally to cover issues as complex as confinement or mental problems. “I love getting out of my comfort zone, these are issues that touch me on a personal level, I really like being able to give Paloma a voice and life, this role came to me at a time when I needed it for personal reasons, life sent it to me as a sign”, said María, “I have felt very free, very free and sheltered”.
The film, which was shot in just one week, takes place in a time of confinement, not far from reality. We asked María what it was like to shoot at such a complex time, which has profoundly marked the way we relate and communicate: “We had everything very close, it was shot after confinement. I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little scared of the unknown”.
With a script by Jorge Navarro de Lemus, the plot revolves around Paloma’s (Pedraza) desperation to find the woman who wants to steal her identity. The film has been honored at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, winning the Best Feature Film Award, Best Screenplay Award, and Best Actress Award.
What has it been like to bring Paloma to life in this new thriller?
She has been a great challenge as an actress and as a person. In the end, many times we tend to prejudge ourselves, there are some characters that scare us or make us leave our comfort zone. I received it as a great challenge, I was so excited that I called Pedro – my representative – because he couldn’t believe it. I think that as an actress I have that responsibility to get out of my comfort zone and give voice to situations that seem important to me, such as those dealt with in this film; mental problems, confinement…
How have you faced this new character…
The theme of the film is mental disorders, I did not want to focus only on that because I wanted to experience it from Paloma’s mind. She feels harassed by a person identical to her. She wanted to show that the viewer traveled with that harassment, until almost the end of the film. She lacks certain things, she seeks help…
The scenes screaming and in the foreground was a challenge in itself, when it is interpreted you have to differentiate your person from the character, what happens to Paloma could happen to anyone. I had to play two very different characters; the scenes with myself were shocking, but I felt comfortable.
It’s something you’ve never done before, what motivated you to be part of this hypertechnological thriller? How have you lived this experience?
What motivated me was to get out of my comfort zone, I love being able to cover issues that touch me on a personal level, I really like being able to give Paloma a voice and life. It didn’t take long for me to accept the project because it just came to me at a personal moment in which life suddenly sent it to me as a sign, a challenge. I had the need to do it, I like to tell what I feel through those characters, I have felt very free and very supported by the entire cast of actors and by all who were there every day to make this possible, that, by the way, it was shot in a week, I always tell it because I think it has a lot of merit. We worked with great care and love to make this possible…
What did you think the first time you saw the script, was it something that caught your attention from the beginning?
I got goosebumps! I was looking forward to it. I read the first two lines and I already knew that I wanted to do it, I read it in full too (laughing), but from the first moment I knew that I wanted to be part of this project.
The film talks about issues such as confinement due to the Covid-19 crisis, etc. What has it been like to shoot at such a complex time, which has profoundly marked the way we interact and communicate?
We were all very close, it was shot right after confinement and to tell you the truth I was a little scared. Fear of the unknown, of recording again after so long… I took it with great desire and enthusiasm. It was my first job after confinement, there were many measures (which we fulfilled all of them) and a lot of responsibility for this project to go ahead.
How has it been working with Alfonso (Cortés-Cavanillas)?
He has enchanted me, he is rock and roll (between laughs). I loved meeting him and working with him; He is very committed, he gives himself, contributes, listens and takes care of you. He is a great professional that I have been fortunate to work with.
And with Pol Monen, Marian Álvarez…
Oh Pol fantastic! He was the first person I worked with in this world. It’s like being at home, he’s my best friend and I’ve really enjoyed this project with him. With Marian I connected from minute one, she offers a very human energy, she broke my soul in certain scenes and I had to stay in the role. She plays my mother in the film, a desperate mother who does not see the way to help her daughter, in constant emotional exhaustion… She has stripped herself emotionally with this project and has let herself be carried away, she was in constant transformation.
The film has won the Best Feature Film Award, Best Screenplay Award and Best Actress Award at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, how has this been for you?
Well, the truth is that I did not expect it at all. It was a very project for us, for me… It was just in confinement and I don’t know, I did it to enjoy it myself, to myself.
Do you think that the awards for the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is the first step towards something bigger in the field of Spanish cinema?
Well hopefully! Now everything is super connected, all together, this makes it easier for your work to be recognized in other countries. I think so… little by little.
Many of the scenes take place through Zoom or Skype, what do you think of this reconfiguration of old scares to present new-looking situations?
Love it. In general, the genre – thriller – captivates me, I am very attracted to this type of cinema, besides I think it is much deeper, it engages from another place, it has a lot of depth. In Ego we talk a lot about mental problems, especially anxiety…
Do you think this film is going to help give greater visibility to these problems?
Well, I hope so, we have to help people with mental problems to seek help. We live in a society where everything goes very fast, demand and perfection go hand in hand in a constant way. We are, well, I can only speak for me, in a moment of extremes, a frantic pace that you follow or go to your world. But yes, I think it can give voice to everything that happens. Little by little more is verbalized and that is good.
The film will be released in theaters on December 1 and will be available in the Imagine creator community in the middle of this month.