‘El Buen Patrón’: Javier Bardem: «There are many good employers: in football, in companies and with others I have worked in the cinema»

The satire by Fernando León de Aranoa, which hits theaters this Friday, October 15, will represent Spain at the Oscars 2022. We spoke with its protagonists and the director at the San Sebastian Festival.

The employment relationship between Javier Bardem and Fernando Leon de Aranoa dates back to 2001, when the actor starred Mondays in the sun -five Goya awards, Concha de Oro at the San Sebastian Festival and film selected to represent Spain at the Oscars. Later, in 2018, they reunited with Loving Pablo.

20 years have passed since their first collaboration and history repeats itself with The good boss, although with some differences. Now, Bardem goes from being an unemployed person to becoming a businessman and León de Aranoa has opted for comedy. This satire on the world of work, which hits theaters this Friday, October 15 and is crying out to be in the next Goya awards, has also been selected to represent Spain at the Oscars 2022.

“It’s always a first time with Fernando”, Bardem responds to SensaCine at the San Sebastián Film Festival – the film competed for the Golden Shell – when we asked him if the tone of this film has made his work with the director be like a new beginning. “The good thing is that we have a friendship relationship for 20 years and we know each other. He knows how to find me and I know how to find him ”.

San Sebastián 2021 Day 4: Laughing with laughter with an immense Javier Bardem in the satire ‘The good patron’ by Fernando León de Aranoa

For the director, the gender change is the latest in his working relationship with Bardem. «Otherwise, there was a lot in common with previous jobs,» he recalls. «It is true that in this film the main differential factor was this: How is humor handled in the film?»

And that was a challenge for the director, who was very clear that he did not want Bardem’s character to end up being a cartoon. As it continues:

The best thing I can do for an actor is give him a good character. Then help, not get in the way. Accompany him on that journey, which is yours, of course. Working on humor was the newest thing in our working relationship. Measure it. Above all, never lose the truth of the character. Never turn it into a caricature. That is something I don’t like. Nor make a schematic and predictable character. It was important that it was recognizable, from people we know and from ourselves.

And so, with the Bardem-León de Aranoa combination, Julio Blanco was created. He is the protagonist of The good boss, the businessman on White Scales. The film takes place over a week, the same one in which Julio is waiting for a commission to arrive that could award him the local award for Business Excellence. The problems do not stop appearing and the protagonist will do everything that occurs to solve them. Without your hand shaking.

Have the director and protagonist been inspired by someone in particular when writing and playing Julio Blanco? «No. Not directly. And if it is, it is not in anyone we know ”, replies León de Aranoa. «At first I do have a couple of stories where someone does exactly what the film tells, to a lesser extent.»

In the case of Bardem, when building the paternalistic Julio Blanco, he also did not have anyone in mind in particular, but each person can see recognizable elements in their own environment: “There are a lot of good patterns. Some are in football, others are in companies, another has a haberdashery, which I know… Another is in a bar and works as a waiter. For some they are people with whom I have worked in the cinema. There is not one, there are several «.

As Bardem explains about what connects his character to anyone:

We all have a share of power and we must be aware of the abuse we commit. Like xenophobia and machismo. We all know ethics. We all know by heart what to do and what not to do. But, sometimes, we do not realize it and we are feeding it. And that’s the part of you that you have to expose.


During the week, Blanco will have to solve four problems: That of his friend Miralles, who is going through a marital crisis and that is causing failures in the factory’s production. That of a worker whose adolescent son is always in trouble, that of José, a fired employee who has decided to camp outside the company. Finally, that of Liliana, an intern who endangers her personal life.

“Let them stay in a good mood,” answers Óscar de la Fuente, the person in charge of giving life to José, when we ask him what he expects people to stay with after seeing the film. “It is a movie that you can go to see it to enjoy it and not get anything clear, and you can go to see it and see the background that it carries. It has many layers. It has everything. It is a ‘blockbuster’ and, at the same time, a social film and, at the same time, a political film ”.

‘The Good Patron’. Fernando León: «We make the most important decisions in a bathroom»

Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo and Fernando León during the filming of the film

For Manolo Solo, Miralles in the film, the key is for people to find what they identify in their environment. “The powerful thing would be for them to see how it resonates with him. What things from the movie resonate with you in your life. Seeing those situations, what things move you, they touch you. Either because you identify yourself or the opposite, because you know similar situations or because it has removed things from you that you did not expect to do so ”.

Almudena Amor, Liliana on the big screen, who plays the second role of her career here, believes that The good boss helps to understand people’s ambiguities. «Many times we stereotype and, in the end, you can see that people are all the time in a continuous struggle», Explain. “There are always two faces. There is neither a good nor a bad. I think that helps a lot to reflect and understand people better ”.


If Julio Blanco had a nemesis on the big screen, that would be Santa, Bardem’s character in Mondays in the sun. «We talked about it a lot,» acknowledges the actor about the idea of ​​seeing both characters interacting. “In fact, Fernando wanted to do something that made me very funny, which was a montage of three minutes of ‘flashes’ of one and the other. As if they were talking. I said, ‘Please do that because I’d love to see it.’

“It would be very interesting to get Santa and Blanco talking now. They are both charismatic characters, they are strong, they have speech, they firmly believe in what they say; although what the two say, many times, does not make much sense «, adds León de Aranoa.

‘The good boss’ dismounts ‘Parallel mothers’ and is the Spanish film selected for the Oscars 2022

The result of such a match, for Bardem, would end in a draw. “The bad thing about all this is that Santa was very radical. He was very right and had an important weight. But is that this [Julio] he is very clever and knows how to sneak around. So… I don’t know how it would end, but I think it would end in a draw. Because this man has a charisma … That is the recognizable and very Spanish part of: ‘Damn, the guy is so nice.’ And from there he is forgiven and some tremendous atrocities are justified to many ”.

The rest of the main cast believe that a fight should be avoided. «I think they should be separated,» says Solo. «And remove the bottles from the front.» “We are talking about selfishness, right? What is selfishness? It is that each one has his reason ”, responds De la Fuente. «Yes. They are characters with clear ideas. Then, of course, there would be a clash ”, adds Amor.

Finally, Bardem also sees that the world is no longer like when Mondays in the sun landed in movie theaters and social media has a lot to do with it. «The difference between Mondays in the sun and The good boss is that in this there is more individuality. There is not so much idea of ​​a group, of cohesion. And I think that is what has changed in these 20 years. Now there are social networks, an important media exposure for anonymous people, where they know how to locate you and attack you and expose you in a much more brutal way. And that makes people withdraw ”.

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