The Losers Set Visit: Óscar Jaenada

One of the freshest faces on The Losers set belongs to Óscar Jaenada, a Spanish actor who recently starred in Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control and Steven Soderbergh’s Che. In his costume, complete with trademark cowboy hat, Óscar is the spitting image of the mostly-silent sniper, Cougar. Please note, English is not Óscar’s first language and the following interview is presented nearly verbatim.

Q: Tell me about getting involved in this. When were you cast and when did you audition?

Óscar Jaenada:: Oh my, I had no audition. I interview[ed] with Sylvain because I come from Spain. I’ve never been here. I’ve been in some films. I’ve been doing some films with Jim Jarmusch and [Steven] Soderbergh, but I’ve never been here in the USA, you know? And when I go to Los Angeles for the premiere of “The Limits of Control,” Jim Jarmusch introduced me to a director of casting and she asked me if I can have an audition with the director. I was with him and we were talking and we make a deal. He trust me, I trust him and we decide to do the film together… The character of Cougar is a big role for me. I’m not used to doing these kinds of roles. I used to do European cinema. It’s more silence. You know, more sights. Not like this, but I have to try. I came here to try and I’m so happy to be in this film, you know?

Q: Obviously a lot of American audiences don’t know you yet and you’re playing Cougar who’s a character who is mysterious and quiet; do those matching traits work well together?

Jaenada:: Yeah, it’s great for me. It was great. When I saw the character and I studied the character, I think it was great. My English isn’t great, you know, so I have to tell a lot of words in this movie so it was great for me and I didn’t want to ask something hard for the beginning. I was looking to touch American cinema. Because Jim Jarmusch or Soderbergh is another kind of movie. It’s a natural evolution, you know? I’m so glad to be in this movie.

Q: Were you aware of the comic book series? Was there anything in particular from your character in the book that you were able to adapt into the film?

Jaenada:: Yeah, sure. I was in a comic saloon of Spain and I was wondering which character was mine because I never read anything about Cougar before the film. When Sylvain told me about the film I was in Spain. I bought some comics and when I arrived here Sylvain gave me all the comics. He was studying it and that’s all man. I liked that the character was very similar to me and we worked together, Sylvain and I and the costume designer to make something equal, you know? The same kind of guy. Some guy with the long hair and always with a lower hat and we find it. We find it.

Q: Can you talk about training as a sniper? Do you have a stunt double?

Jaenada:: I was. I met a trainer with a sniper gun in Spain and we working for one month and we were shooting as well. It was amazing, you know? I’ve never been with a sniper gun. I was with an Uzi or a M-16, but never with a sniper.

Q: Do you feel like you could take out a target from far away now?

Jaenada:: (Laughs) No. No, I would never shoot anybody.

Q: Obviously in the movie you’re going to be using that weapon. Can you talk about one of the scenes use the weapon in and filming it?

Jaenada:: No, I remember everything. When I was with my trainer, my sniper trainer, we were with a script and seeing all the sentences, all the lines. [T]his one like this and this one like this, you make first. Everything is going where to fix it. Fix it? No, fix it?

Q: Can you talk about filming in Puerto Rico and everywhere else? Are you used to this heat and humidity?

Jaenada:: In Spain we have lot of similar weather, you know? No, it wasn’t a problem for me, the weather. It’s just like Spain so it hasn’t got so hot or so cold obviously, but it’s the same weather. I don’t have any problem with this.

Q: You mentioned some of the smaller films that you’ve been in; what’s it like to be in a big action movie like this? What did you, as an actor, have to adapt to?

Jaenada:: It’s very different. You know when you are doing an action movie, all the things are focused on the action, you know? When you are doing more European cinema, I don’t know how to say, but [it's] more about the words or the silence. The beats. It’s everything, more powerful. It’s everything, more quiet. It’s slower. Where now it’s everything happens fast, you know? Boom! Boom! Boom! Okay, good, okay. I used to make a lot of repetitions of the scene, you know? Here we have three or four. If it’s okay with three or four takes, its okay.

Q: What’s it like working with all the other guys? The story is so much about this crew and they’re best buds. Have you gotten a chance to screw around with the other guys off camera?

Jaenada:: Yeah, yeah sure. We were together hanging out and other stuff, you know. But yeah, it’s a group where they have to be all together and we have to train in this, also, you know and talk. We have to meet each other. We go to hang out and speak about the film and our view of the characters. With who you’re more friendly. Who you can speak so much and we were working with this.

Q: What’s a dream project for you? When you look for a role, what makes you say, “That’s something I want to play”?

Jaenada:: The character. For me the most important thing is the character, you know? Because it’s my fault if I do it worse or if I do it proud. I always am looking for the character. I am looking for a good character. I don’t know how to say, but he must have power, you know? I don’t know, perhaps without words. Just with three or four scenes, I don’t care. I want to see a real character. I want to see good ones.

Q: You seem to have a clear outfit for this; tell me about the costume.

Jaenada:: Oh, the costume was with [Magali Guidasci]. Magali is one of the most important costume designers. We were joking we were buying some clothes because when I saw the costume she did, it was something different than the comic. We were with the comic and saying, “Look at this white shirt here, I think this white shirt must be included.” Or, “Okay, those boots. Which hat? Perhaps this hat?” We were talking about this because, for me, what was so important for the character was to look like the comic character, you know? It was important.

Q: What kind of films did you make in Spain?

Jaenada:: I made fifty movies, thirteen with the main role in Spain and I make a lot of different characters, you know? I make a terrorist of ETA. I make Spanish Flamenco Singer, the most important Flamenco Singer. I did a theatre guy. I don’t know. I made thirteen films, not like this one because it’s another kind of movie, but I’m comfortable here.

Q: You’ve heard how Hollywood studios operate; how is it compared to what you’ve heard?

Jaenada:: Which is the difference? That’s cinema. It’s about the sentence, you know? Here you are looking for the beauty of the scene, you know? Perhaps in Europe they are more looking for the truth in the scene. You know it’s another kind of cinema. It’s the same scene. We are being brought together and it’s the same stuff, but we have some differences between European cinema and American cinema and Hollywood cinema and African cinema. It’s the best thing, you know? It’s better for us. We have to go different and learn about the other one.

Q: Are you interested in doing more American movies in the future?

Jaenada:: Yeah, yeah sure. I have projects and I will be in two sides. I like American cinema and I like European and perhaps I will do some Bollywood cinema. I would like it.

Q: Where have you been hanging out in Puerto Rico?

Jaenada:: We went to Old Savan. We went to Ilegra. It’s in Iceland. I don’t know. We were hanging out everywhere, you know, so I don’t know.

Q: Was there anyone on the cast you were especially excited to work with when you saw they had been cast?

Jaenada:: Idris [Elba] is a great actor, you know? I saw his films and he’s a great actor. Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] as well. And Zoe [Saldana] is an amazing actress. Chris [Evans], Columbus [Short], Jason [Patric], Holt [McCallany]. All the cast is an amazing cast. I don’t know which one is the best one for work, but every people, they are great.

Q: Do you prefer making action films or just dramas?

Jaenada:: Dramas perhaps. I like action movies, you know? But right now I am more comfortable with dramas. I have to do more films like this, that’s all.

Q: Have there been any close calls or intense action scenes?

Jaenada:: Yesterday was a very exciting scene. There was an explosion and I was so scared. I was talking with Chris and Columbus and I said, “I’m used to doing European cinema, man. We don’t have this thing.” I was with earplugs and shaking. The boom of the explosion falls you to the ground. I was so scared, but when the explosion happens, nothing happens and everything is cool.

Q: The scene we just saw was where you and Chris save Columbus. can you talk about what’s happening in that scene and what’s going on with your character?

Jaenada:: Okay, the bad guys, they catch us and now we were kicking their ass, so I have to grab the guns and then get out of here and we go to look for Clay and we find him and we smash everything. We f*ck them up is the scene.

Q: When filming is done are you going to keep the hat?

Jaenada:: Sure, why not? And [the] watch. I got it, I told them.

Q: Columbus was talking about how, because it’s PG-13, you only get two ‘f*cks’ in the movie and that there is a competition to see whose will get to stick in. Are you part of that?

Jaenada:: No, I’m not part of that. I was just seeing them, that’s all.

Q: Do you have your next project all lined up after this?

Jaenada:: Yeah, I have some projects, but we used to say in Europe that it’s bad luck if you say which project, you know? So I’ve got two projects. Very good ones.

Q: Can you say if they’re American projects?

Jaenada:: Yeah, one American project and one European.

Q: Are you going to work with Jim Jarmusch again?

Jaenada:: I hope so, but we were talking about this and no. In this moment, no. Perhaps.

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Source: Silas Lesnick