His vocation began, like that of so many other children, by putting on his sister’s clothes. Jaime spent his afternoons watching her dance and, specifically, obsessing over pointe shoes and the hours that had to be spent taming them. “I was better at ballet than she was, but when I told my father, he said, ‘That’s for girls, stop freaking out and go swimming or karate,’” she recalls. So his career began, like that of so many other artists, wanting to get away from home.
Zatarain headed to Madrid first and New York later, where he got a scholarship and ended up working on the Broadway musical Paint Your Wagon. When he was forced to return to Madrid, determined not to fall into the cliché of the actor-waiter (“he hated it”, he remembers), he decided to set up a one-man-show for those restaurants that include dinner and show. At least he didn’t have to serve dinner, but he would certainly serve the show. In the show, he gave free rein to his childhood fantasies: instead of his sister’s clothes, he now wore those that his friend Roberto Diz had designed for him. “They were contemporary performances, very ambiguous, with Björk songs and dresses. Just at that time I did a casting for a very long-lived television series and they discarded me because I was doing “a show with dresses and heels,” he laments. “I have seen and heard very bad things in filming, the people of the cinema are not so modern. The new generations yes, the people the Javis work with too, but the rest … you would be surprised ”.
All that experience with dresses and heels, however, was great for the casting of Priscilla, queen of the desert. He spent two months auditioning and listening to the names of all the famous actors he was vying for the part against. Zatarain took it for granted that they only wanted him as a substitute, but in the end the producer opted for a cast of actors trained in the three disciplines of musical theater: acting, dancing and singing. “When they put on the first musicals in Madrid, at the beginning of the 2000s, they only took singers and dancers without interpretive training. The truth is that at that time there were no schools to prepare for because there were not so many musicals either. And then this prejudice was generated that musical actors do not know how to act. It is a horrible stigma that still exists in the audiovisual industry, despite the fact that the new generations are already much more prepared ”, he assures. Zatarain spent three years starring in Priscilla.
His first major role on camera was in the series about Cuatro’s dancers. Dreamland, in 2014. And it was scalded. They shot the scenes without scripts, the production ran out of money in the middle and when the producer visited the set he treated everyone badly. Instead of telling Jaime that they no longer counted on him, they stopped calling him from one day to the next. And when they aired it, he discovered that almost all of his scenes had been removed. Sure, it was almost a relief.
His success in musicals guaranteed him a stable income for ten years, which placed him in the privileged class of his profession: only 8% of Spanish actors work regularly. Chained Mamma Mia with More than 100 lies, 40 the musical and Priscilla. But that stability also delayed his jump to the screen. “I have always had a lot of desire, but also fear that things will happen to me, of having the maturity to assume who I am. I always had the feeling that I would not take off, that I would not find my place, until I was 40. At 20 I was not ready, the pot would have gone, “he explains. Zatarain made his film debut at age 41 with The kingdom.
Having Antonio de la Torre is important, but it is just as important to surround him well. In Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s film, Jaime Zatarain played a politician with half-length hair, a tan, and a trimmed beard. A profile that any viewer will instantly identify: that guy who is into politics just as he could be a real estate agent. In Shame Zatarain played a super-dad (the kind that speaks to his son in English) who, of course, pissed off Javier Gutiérrez’s inveterate loser. Jaime does not miss the irony of being given so many roles as uncles who have had it very easy in life.
In Castamar’s cook He plays another hottie, although in this case from the period. Alfredo de Carrión, Barón de Aguasdulces, hides a secret that will cease to be for the audience as soon as he sees how he looks with another lord of the court. “In the novel that plot is much more present. Guilt, shame … The series is from prime time and they have diluted it a bit, ”he says.
Jaime Zatarain has just changed his representative and is already noticing the movement in his favor. For the moment, he has ahead Stories to not sleep (where he repeats with Sorogoyen), Love in troubled times e Privacy, apart from an offer to return to the theater with a musical based on the repertoire of a legendary Spanish singer-songwriter. There is always the paranoia, yes, that in the end everything falls apart. Almost all actors end up with superstitions. “But those things happen all the time,” he insists. “I was going to play a leading role in a very small movie and yesterday they called me and said no, that in the end we didn’t fit in with them. Something has happened, because they have given the role to two other actors but I have no idea why ”. And how does one maintain the illusion before this panorama? “I keep getting excited. Very much. Increasingly”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.