Perhaps, the producers of Spanish television fiction took a little while to understand that they could not be crazy any longer, or that they would sing a lot, given the way in which the series from the United States were being made during what happened in calling, without surprises, the Golden Age. That transfer to the small screen of the audiovisual and narratively colorful and more complex invoice of Hollywood feature films. Nothing flat, reverse shot and running. But in the end they decided to stop tripping or they got into their waists. And now, to give an obvious example, we can admire proposals such as the two seasons of Hierro (Pepe Coira, 2019-2021).
Pepe Coira: “What the arrival of streaming platforms has done has been to show that a lot of things can be done on TV”
The director of its fourteen episodes, Jorge Coira, is well aware of this matter. “I remember that years ago we dreamed of doing really more complex, more mature, riskier series”, Admits in an interview. “There was a kind of idea that in Spain you couldn’t; that it was possible in more advanced and larger cinematographies, with more economic power, as in the United States, but not here. And suddenly, it turns out that we can. That was thanks to the fact that people like Movistar appeared and bet on this. And that pulls the car because others start doing interesting series. And I think it is a very good thing that there are many people doing things beyond the usual ”.
TV is no longer the dumb box
His brother, Pepe Coira, assures that, for them, the rise of streaming platforms it is what allows them to work. “That is to say, expanded the playing field for what is television fiction and it created a space that was practically impossible to have. That seems great to me because television is a great medium, which has had a kind of bad press, quite incomprehensible from my point of view. And what the arrival of platforms has done has been, suddenly, to be able to show that a lot of things can be done on TV ”. It is enough to enter the particular environment of Hierro, that of the island that gives it its name, to understand the accuracy of his words.
Jorge Coira: “Spain has something very powerful; the enormous differences between some places and others, and it would be sad to always stay in the same place ”; without going to El Hierro, go
“One of the basic elements of cinema is the ability to travel with the imagination, understood as pure images”, explains Jorge Coira. “It is very good to explore places already known to oneself, but it is also very grateful to discover places that you do not know. If all the American stories took place in New York or Los Angeles or all the Spanish stories in Madrid, it would be boring. important. There are many places, and I would say that Spain has something very powerful: the enormous cultural, landscape, gastronomic differences and of all kinds that exist between some places and others. So it would be a sadness if we always stay the same ”. Without going to El Hierro, go.
The narrative references of ‘Hierro’
And, if one asks them about their references when carrying out their work, Pepe Coira responds instantly: “There is no case in which you consciously say:« Ah, we are going to do something along these lines ». But I think it inevitably happens. And it has happened to me at some time, all of a sudden, to say: «Oysters! How does this look like … », something you saw and that, obviously, you had in the coconut but without realizing it. But there are many [referentes], both in film and on TV and literature ”. And it continues like this: “[El thriller] It is a genre to which we have great affection, and there are a lot of different proposals and many very appetizing that can haunt us ”.
Jorge Coira: “To see how, suddenly, what is written stands up, the actors make it their own and it becomes something new, alive and real is fantastic”
But wich ones? Without any hesitation: “Of course, all those stories in which the characters matter more than the plot, of people who are not purely good or purely bad.” Jorge Coira, for his part, contributes his opinion on the matter: “Without being an imitative thing because it would be boring on a creative level to try to do something like others, there are things that you like and, suddenly, you put your imagination and what you are trying to do in a sister space “. Specific: “I like to think that Hierro, obviously being completely different from Henning Mankell’s novels, is as recognizable a universe as they or those of [Andrea] Camilleri, which have different tones but something in common ”.
Pepe Coira | Movistar Plus
Candela Peña and Darío Grandinetti in ‘Hierro’
In addition, they chatted a lot with the director of photography, José Luis Bernal, about “a film by that wonderful Scottish director David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water [Comanchería, 2016], a sample of how to work in arid places ”. But “not to try to imitate her but to think that it would be cool to have a certain connection with her.” As with the main interpreters of Hierro, the lavish Candela Peña (Princesses) and Darío Grandinetti (Wild Tales). “I think there are few things more gratifying and fun than working with good actors”, Asserts Jorge Coira. Although, according to him, both “are very different” in their interpretive dynamics.
Pepe Coira “We had the idea of going to a universe as special as the island of El Hierro and, if we made it a continuous scene of criminal stories, something would go wrong”
“Darío jumps in and the first takes are fabulous and then he starts to get tired. And Candela is a bit the other way around ”, he explains. “But they are both actors and that is nice. To see how, suddenly, what is written stands up, the actors make it their own and it becomes something new, alive and real is fantastic ”. However, they will not be able to return to de because the second season of the series is the last, and we were curious about the reasons why it does not follow with a third. “I think it’s fine to finish on time”, Pepe Coira answers. “We had the idea of going to a universe as special as the island of El Hierro and, if we made it a continuous scene of criminal stories, something would go wrong.”
A very wise decision
“It would start to sound like a trick, to something that, as spectators, has ever happened to us; tell: “Oh, they are stretching the gum too much””. In other words, the Coira brothers want to get away with Hierro from the incredible crime rate in Cabot Cove of A Murder Has Been Wrote (Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson and William Link, 1984-1996) and get closer to the respect of Broadchurch (Chris Chibnall, 2013-2017). Otherwise, we would probably regret it. “You feel sorry, right? Because They had generated a complicity with some characters and with a world and, suddenly, they are failing you. It seems like a very wise decision to me. And you have to say: “Come on, let’s explore more things, the world is wide.”