In Sydney it’s 9:00 p.m. and, after finishing the filming of the musical Carmen with her friend and Australian neighbor Elsa Pataky Rossy de Palma Palma de Mallorca 1964 attends the media through Zoom. He does it to promote Little Birds a Sky miniseries based on the erotic stories of Anais Nin where De Palma plays the lascivious and manipulative Countess Mantrax and which Starzplay premieres this Sunday.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the most international artist in Spain has among her many projects the aforementioned adaptation of Bizet’s opera Natalie Portman’s husband’s debut feature Benjamin Millepied several films and a miniseries in his second home, France the series Senor give me patience from Atresmedia and Once upon a time But no longer on Netflix in addition to the next film by Pedro Almodovar Parallel Mothers. The key to your success not setting any limits.
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO LITTLE BIRDS AND YOUR CHARACTER, COUNTESS MANTRAX?
I really liked that it was written directed and produced by women. And based on the stories of Anais Nin, which I read when I was very young and which opened many windows of both sexuality and the freedom of being a woman and of self-discovery. I was also attracted to the fact that it was set in that Tangier of the 50s. And about the Countess, what I like the most is her closet because she has some very cute dresses and hats. Her personality, as you might expect, has nothing to do with me because she is very bad, very manipulative, and very abusive of her power.
Anais Nin wrote Little Birds, the stories that Little Birds is inspired by, in the 1940s. What is subversive about recounting the sexual awakening and search for freedom of Lucy Savage, the young protagonist, in 2021? Well, it seems that it is still just as subversive, right? I would have to reread them but I think they are still very current. And I think that with the character of Juno Temple you can feel identified by how the husband, society, and her parents condition her when what she wants is to discover herself and be happy.
In that sense, and as you mentioned before, why is it important to you that behind the cameras the team is led by screenwriter Sophia Al-Maria and director Stacie Passon?
You wish not, there is a special sensitivity a way of telling. I don’t like to differentiate between the sexes because talent is talent whether it is a man or a woman. But there is also an overwhelming logic and that is that men will write about things that are familiar to them as men and women have a different world for being women. And I think it is good that women begin to be protagonists of our own story and that no one writes it for us.
Sexuality and above all female desire are still scarce in the audiovisual?
A while ago a French journalist told me that my character is sexually very active and that does not seem to me to be criticized. Libido is a great thing. What is not very commendable is how he achieves his sexual ends by blackmailing, frightening, threatening. Perhaps we are not used to seeing women who are sexually active, independent, and powerful. But personally, my whole life has been to dare and I have never asked permission to do something that I thought belonged to me. If my rights are mine, I will not ask for them, I will exercise them. Right now she is recording in Australia, presenting a British production, and about to release several titles in France, where she has also been decorated with the medal of an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. Obviously, you also work here, but do you feel more valued abroad than in Spain?
I am not very national. It would be hard for me to say that I am Spanish. It’s hard for me to say that I’m European. The most I can say if they push me to define myself is that I feel the Mediterranean. But I also have Basque and Asturian blood, with which I am also Cantabrian. My father as a child told me ‘you are worldwide’ and I believed it. I feel like a citizen of the world and now that I am in the antipodes, it seems like another planet and I feel at home, because I also feel Australian.
Where I go, I blend in with the place very well. And I always say that I only believe that gastronomic borders geopolitics do not interest me at all. And nobody came from Mars, we are all from planet Earth. The fact is that in the midst of a pandemic and over fifty, you are experiencing a moment of labor effervescence while many actresses report that, at this age they hardly receive offers.
Nor do I believe in the boundaries of age for better or for worse. At 20 I was like I was 40 I lived through adolescence in my 30s now I am 56 and I am in my twenties, very young. I don’t go into lockers I’m too free. If you define yourself you limit yourself and I myself don’t even know who I am. I’m not an actress either actress. I am an artist who works as an actress, but I do not have my artistic life subordinated to acting so as an artist I am living what is coming. I’m lucky that I don’t lack work but I always try to put my heart into it.