August 20, 2014 0

Some Time With… Teresa Tavares: “I confess the intimacy of cinema seduces me in a special way. The camera is so close, you can go so profound with a simple look. It’s amazing.”

By in GEFilms, The Engagement, The Seasons

Teresa18Teresa Tavares is a Portuguese actress who has been working extensively since 2000. She has been able to cross the line between Theatre, Cinema and Television and continues to work in every field. Her presence over the last 13 years on Portuguese television has made her a household name in Portugal.

She played the role of Soledad on Great Expectations Films The Engagement, and will take a part on The Seasons, Greg Zinger’s new feature film.

She lives now between Lisbon and London. Her work in English speaking films includes leading roles in both Collider (Jason Buttler) and Star Crossed (Mark Heller).

Q After your many years working as an actress, you had the opportunity to play roles for theatre, television and film. Which medium have you found most fulfilling?

A I love being an actress, so the fact that I’m able to work in all three mediums makes me feel more complete as an artist and as a human being, of course. You can’t separate one from another. It’s hard to say which medium fulfils me most, but I confess the intimacy of cinema seduces me in a special way. The camera is so close, you can go so profound with a simple look. It’s amazing.

Theatre is where you learn your craft. I believe that, ‘if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere’. And you reinvent yourself every day with the same words and movements. Creatively and emotionally, it’s really fulfilling. Having your audience there with you, you have to make every second count, there’s no break. All the moments that are either inspired or failed are part of creation.

TV is great too, but sometimes really hard because you have to rush. For me it was a great school, because it taught me how to be absolutely accurate working with emotions. You have to know your triggers and know yourself so well that you’re able to jump in without allowing fear or anything else to block you. You have to be really brave to be a great TV actor, working with such limited time. And then you’re literally projected in everyone’s house, and that’s an immense privilege and a great responsibility.

So, basically, I feel incredibly blessed that I get to work in the three mediums!

Q If I am not mistaken, you live in Lisbon, but you also spend time in London. How would you compare the film industry in the UK and Portugal at the moment?

A It’s hard to compare because we’re talking about totally different realities. The main difference is that in London there’s a cultural industry and in Lisbon there’s not. We don’t even have a ministry for culture in Portugal. That says everything about the importance that the government and the system give to culture.

Despite that we have some great artists that do amazing work in film. Joao Canijo, Pedro Costa and Manoel de Oliveira are acclaimed film directors that are seen and recognised worldwide. It’s hard to conquer the big markets ( UK and America ) because of the language, but I believe things will change in the coming years. Portugal is a small country so it takes more time, but I’ve no doubt we’re finding our way.

When I’m in London I feel that everything is going on there! It’s crazy because there you’re basically auditioning for all the world. You have great competition, there are lots of actors and it’s not easy to get in the room for the best projects. I’ve settled myself in London recently so I’m still trying to find my place there and, of course, it takes time.

Q I know that you love traveling and have visited many places in the world. I also know that your favourite city is Lisbon, but if you could choose, where would you do your next film?

A I think I’d choose a place where I haven’t been before. I love to travel, and if I’m lucky to do it for work, that’s absolutely perfect. You learn so much. I also believe the fact that you’re away from home – your comfort zone – allows you to immerse yourself even more in the role and in the place. There are so many places I still don’t know! But I’d surely love to shoot in Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, India, Canada, or Australia. But also in places that I already know that produce great film like Spain, the US, Brazil, Italy, the UK and France.

Q Would you share with us a memorable moment working with Greg Zinger on “The Engagement” for Great Expectations Films?

A When Greg chose me for the film he knew nothing about my roots or my background. I think I got in the room because I have this Latin look. When we were preparing the film he took me for dinner to a lovely Spanish Restaurant in Leicester Square (the one that we used as a location and it’s actually Soledad’s restaurant in the film) with great Spanish food and full of posters of bullfights and flamenco on the walls. We discovered by then how much I’m connected to all that reality because my father was a bullfighter (in the Spanish style) when he was younger and I’ve spend all my childhood in the country actually surrounded by bulls and horses, and going to Sevilla with my family for holidays. They say there aren’t any coincidences…

Q I guess you have a place in your heart for all your roles, but which one do you find particularly special?

A It’s really hard to make a choice because, as I usually say, the most special one is the one you’re working on now because it’s the only one alive at the moment. Looking back and seeing which role made a difference in my career, I’d probably choose my first leading role in a feature film. I was playing Juliet (Inês in the adaptation) in a version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, directed by Mark Heller. It was really important because it was my first big role in a feature and also my first English speaking role at the same time. Mark was amazing and really comprehensive. He worked with an amazing cast and crew and taught me a lot about film. I can see now that it opened lots of doors; if it wasn’t for “Star Crossed”, I probably wouldn’t be in London now.

Q Our audience would like to read about your current work. Would you give us a heads up?

A So I’m filming a TV show called “Jardins Proibidos” that’s a sequel to the first TV show I worked on as an actress, 14 years ago, which was a huge success by that time. It’s strange because I’m playing the same role 14 years later, but it feels like ‘coming back home’. In September, I start rehearsals for ‘Radiografia de um Nevoeiro Imperturbável’, by the Portuguese author Fernando Augusto, directed by Daniel Gorjão. It will open on November 13th at the National Theatre in Lisbon.

Q We know a little bit now about Teresa, the actress; but who is Teresa Tavares, passionate woman from Portugal?

A I think you’ve chosen the right word! I’m a passionate woman, totally in love with acting from the start, a traveler , a film addict, an explorer, and a kid inside that would love to be with you in person now to play a funny tricks instead of answering this question with words!

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