When last summer Antonio Banderas (Málaga, 60 years old) accepted the challenge of presenting and directing the 35th edition of the Goya Awards, which before the advent of the coronavirus was going to be held in Valencia, the board of directors of the Film Academy, Where the call with the request came from, she must have breathed in relief. The gala had found a captain who this Saturday night brought it to fruition. Although he had to face up to covid-19 through means: the actor tested positive the same day he turned 60, on August 10. In return, he had time, since it was going to be held at his Soho Caixabank theater, to carry out small mini-rehearsals indirectly: there he recorded Black and white scenes a musical program for Amazon Prime Video, which in the end also served to prepare the place as if it were a television set.
For this reason, the ceremony was already well advanced when Banderas, María Casado (co-director and co-host of the gala, and head of the Soho theater television production company) and Mariano Barroso, president of the Academy, announced on February 2 that the Goya They would be hybrids, with the 166 nominees in their homes connected to 138 teams. The stage would only be stepped on by the invited artists, the 40 who opened the envelopes delivered by the notary where the names of the winners, the technicians, Barroso, Banderas, Casado and Ángela Molina would appear.
Beyond the huge trucks, TVE mobile units and the coming and going of technical staff, the Soho Theater has been a bunker in recent weeks. Since the teams landed in Malaga on February 22, workers have hardly been seen leaving to talk on the phone or smoke a cigarette. The interior of the stage space was closed tight to the gaze of others. First, to avoid revealing details of the gala (although there were hardly any surprises, almost all had been revealed in the previous days). Second, because of the strong sanitary measures that have marked this edition, with constant PCR. “We have the nose like this,” said Antonio Banderas himself this week in a chat on Twitter.
“It has been very difficult, we have had to improvise practically from the beginning. Since June we have had 10, 12, 15 galas, ”Banderas stressed on Saturday night, minutes before the start of the ceremony. Indeed, the ceremony has been changing depending on the sanitary commandments and in debate with the Goya Commission of the Film Academy. It has been the nucleus of the production company that the Malaga created to launch Teatro del Soho Televisión that has carried the weight of the organization, yes, with the constant direction of Banderas, very attentive to any detail and with María Casado as a hand executor.
On Wednesday the recordings of the musical performances began: Nathy Peluso, Vanessa Martín, Diana Navarro and Aitana. The Malaga Symphony Orchestra accompanied the gala all night and also the students from the Malaga School of Performing Arts (Esaem), closely linked to Banderas. A dress rehearsal was held on Friday with the participation of all the nominees that did not go as well as expected due to technical complexity. That day Banderas understood that a performance that he himself had announced in a digital meeting did not work at the start: there would be no children’s choir. As a director he saw that he needed the gala to flow faster.
There were more changes, forced by the covid-19 of some of the providers, which were replaced in the last days. Among other added difficulties, the protocol required a maximum of two people for each vehicle (so they have had to use many more cars than on other occasions). The entire team and participants in the gala provided a negative PCR 72 hours before the gala. And there were no exceptions, they have been counting since the gala was held. They have worked with many different program models. “But always with the clear objective that the gala had to be held, whatever the way it was. And if we had had to clean the statuettes a thousand times, it would have been done ”, say sources from the organization.
On February 2, Banderas already said that there would be videos of world stars supporting Spanish cinema. And he more than delivered: Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Benicio del Toro, Mélanie Laurent, Laura Dern, Halle Berry, Mel Gibson, Mahershala Ali, Emily Blunt, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Glenn Close, Naomi Watts, Matthew McConaughey, Dustin Hoffman , Margot Robbie, Robert de Niro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, Charlize Theron, Lupita Nyong’o, Gael García Bernal, Helen Mirren, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise, among others. Many, from their own agenda, others, through friends. That they were his thing was noted in the audio message sent by Barbra Streisand, which began with a “hello Antonio” in English. Also in February, he revealed that his initial monologue would recall that the Soho theater was built on the site of the Pascualini cinema, inaugurated in 1907. After its destruction by a bomb during the Civil War in 1937, it was raised again and after a fire in 1988 the Alameda Theater was built, which was open until 2018 (with cinema, theater, music and it was also one of the spaces of the Malaga film festival). As the filmmaker said, “an example of a very simple key to face life: fall and get up.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.