Omar Rolando: «I Like Villains More»

Omar Rolando: «I Like Villains More»
Fecha de publicación: 
1 March 2023
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However, we have seen him be one of the "good guys" several times, as Bruno in Calendario, for example, and before, convincingly move towards goodness in Dany of Pasos Firmes. He has brought out demons now and then in episodes of Tras la huella, but bad, very bad, he is surprising us with Lázaro in Asuntos Pendientes.

We talked about all of them with the young and talented actor Omar Rolando, but we prefer to start at the beginning...

Where does your calling for acting come from?

—My grandma was an actress. I always mention her in any interview, because she was the inspiration and the person for whom I became an actor. Her name is Trinidad Rolando Portocarrero. From a very young age, I was always with my grandmother. My mother was studying in the Soviet Union at that time, so she came, I was born in Cuba and she went back to finish her studies, so since I was a baby I’ve been with my grandmother everywhere, in every performance she had, every rehearsal, that is, I grew up in that world.

«I remember, when I was growing up, everyone knew me and I didn't know anyone, because they are people who practically saw me born. While my grandmother was rehearsing, I would sleep anywhere in the theater or someone would take care of me. When I was seven years old, my grandma presented a children's play called Busca buscando, which won an award for best children's play, that is, from my earliest years I was linked to the world of theater and acting.

«Afterwards, at the age of 16, I took the tests for the National Art School (ENA). I did them twice. I didn't pass the first time, but the second one. I studied at ENA between 2006-2010, and that's where I started acting a little more seriously».

—Are you one of the actors who would never stop doing theater?

—I think I would never stop doing theater. The theater is like one's home. It's like that daily exercise a high-performance athlete must do to stay in shape. I believe that theater is discipline, perseverance... Theater has taught me a lot, I’ve had great teachers, I’ve performed with great Cuban actors: Fernando Hechevarría, Osvaldo Doimeadiós, Broselianda Hernández, Alexis Díaz de Villegas... and I have learned from each and every one of them.

«I’ve had many good people by my side, many talented people, from whom I’ve learned, and for that I am very, very grateful to Carlos Díaz, my director since I graduated. I’ve been in other companies like the Jazz Vilá Projects and El Portazo, from Matanzas, but El Público is my group, where I’ve learned the most and where I’ve had the opportunity to be alongside very talented people”.

—I think that we viewers began to admire you from Dany, in the telefilm Pasos firmes. What challenges did that character impose on you and what satisfactions brought about?

—Well, yes, my first leading character was Dany, in Pasos firmes, and it was what made the public get to know me, that directors in general put their eyes on me, call me, take me into account, and I owe it to them, first of all, to Joel Infante, a person I love very much for giving me that opportunity, for working so hard with us, not just me, but also with Víctor, together, to help us build those characters. For me he is one of the great directors Cuba has. He is a director who knows what he wants, who has everything very clear in his head, a very hard-working guy. I also owe it to Amilkar Salatti, Alfredo Felipe, who supported dearly, and Yaremis Pérez as well.

So yes, that character gave me a lot. I remember when I went to the casting, when they gave me the scenes, I said: this character has to be mine. He had many things to do with me, many common grounds shared by both the actor and the character. However, that year the teleplay could not be done because there were many issues with things at INDER, because they wanted to change the story. When things went back to normal, I was too old for Dany's characterization. Although I looked young, I had certain age and I almost didn't do it. I already had another role, but in the last days, Joel told me: the character is yours, you are going to do it.

“Finally, I got the chance to do Dany and yes, it gave me a lot of satisfaction. I remember reviews being spectacular, people I admire a lot texted me, great Cuban actors, directors who wanted to work with me... That character made me grow personally and professionally and brought me a lot of joy."

—And the challenges?

—Challenges, well... we had to learn all the technique that the boys on the Paralympic track team use. There we met Omara Durand, great figures in athletics. They taught us all the blind technique with the guide, it’s a very close, beautiful, and deep relationship that unites them, they are like a single person, not just in training, but in everything: to eat, to exercise... We trained with those guys for about a week at Villa Panamericana, we talked with them, we ran, the works.

«The other challenge is that, when we were recording, I had many scenes running, and since Dany was very humble, the shoes I wore had practically no soles and my feet ached. I remember that on the second shooting date I could hardly walk. That same day, in the recording, I fell and dislocated my shoulder, and stay so practically the entire teleplay, I scraped my knee and they put on makeup every day.

—In the cinema, any special experience for you?

-Innocence. There I played Carlos de la Torre y Madrigal, who was one of the eight medical students. I always thank Alejandro Gil for thinking of me; Yaremis, who was the casting director; to Amilkar... that was a very important job in my life too.

—The second season of Calendario series is coming up and we have been told that Bruno is returning. What can you tell us?

—Honestly, I don't want to say anything in advance; I think it’s better that the viewer discovers it. I can tell you I enjoyed doing it from the beginning, Bruno was a happiness for me, a character I fell in love with since the beginning. I made it based on my brother, who went through an identical story. In the scenes, if you look, Bruno is practically always on the verge of crying, but he doesn't cry. My brother is like that. He is a boy who tries all the time to keep what he really feels, but he is very sensitive and carries a lot of pain within. My brother is the person I love the most in the world, I have raised him, he represents a lot to me, and I did Bruno thinking of him.

—And readers would not forgive us if we forget Lázaro, your character in the soap opera Asuntos pendientes, which is on right now and which, by the way, is quite negative... How did you build it? If you had to defend it, what arguments would you use?

—I think that no person is good, good, or bad, bad; not everything is black or white, life has shades, of course, and other colors. What about Lazaro? He feels a real affection for this boy, but this is the story that I made myself, studying the character: when Lázaro's mother, that is, my mother, welcomed Bruno and almost adopted him, because his was a crazy life, this child becomes my mother's favorite, so that builds a certain resentment in me. I always let myself get carried away by bad steps, I did negative things that Bruno never agreed with, so that's it, I hold a grudge against him and I am somewhat envious of him, because, despite the fact that we grew up in the same environment, he always chose the right path and, furthermore, he had the woman I liked, because I liked Alicia from the beginning; Bruno is the cute kid and Alicia never noticed me.

"If I had to defend him, well, it's a bit difficult, because being like this man is hard, but I think it's the result of the environment, that's what led him to missteps, and not knowing how to take the right decisions, but Lazaro is not completely bad.

—Do you enjoy negative characters? How attractive are they?

I love negative characters. I think they have a deeper inner world. At the actor study level, you always have to look for why this guy is like this, there's always something that drove him there. The positive characters are more translucent, I'm not going to say that one is easier than the other, but the negative ones are a little more complex and a dark past to investigate as an actor. Yes, I like negative characters better.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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