“You” is perhaps the shortest title I have seen for a soap opera, however, the production process was as long and complex as perhaps no other has been given, as it happened during these hard years of the pandemic. The good news is that “everyone’s novel” is now ready to arrive at our homes and absolutely determined to seduce us as it did with its production team.
The director, Lester Hamlet, is a successful filmmaker, with films such as Tres vez dos, Fábula or Casa Vieja, but he premieres in the telenovela. How did he come to this medium and this specific project? The director himself told us:
“The project comes to me in an unexpected way, one of those neighborhood things. It came thanks to a neighbor of mine who is a television consultant and she began to ask me, would you not want to do fiction on television? Wouldn’t you want to make a novel? ? I said to her: yes, I would like to, but they have never called me and she was the one who brought my name to the dramatization direction and from there I already met Lully Larramendi (advisor) here at the Production house to talk about the possibility of do it and I fell in love with the project, with the opportunity, with everything … “
The central theme of “You” is the world of people with hearing disabilities, in this regard Hamlet commented: “That is the central axis of the story, the world of the deaf, in fact the actors who intervene in that area had training It took three months to learn sign language and be able to work comfortably. Alicia Hechavarría has lots of scenes where she even teaches classes, because she is a teacher. There is the case of Edgar, who plays the deaf boy in the novel and is actually listener, it was delicious working with him. “
The dramatization reflects, for example, the subject of cochlear implants, a program that has benefited many Cuban children, so the production team has proposed that it function as an “honor, tribute to those doctors. Dr. Sevila advised to all of us who participated there The actors who play the doctors went to the consultation, to the visit of the ENT room of the Amejeiras, they had a great training.
“In the case of Michaelis Cue, who is the main doctor of the implant team, since his performance he also pays tribute to Sevila, he captured it as a gestural essence of the doctor. It was a job that we have been doing from the beginning. I gave him the script and he would send me scenes that he filmed with his cell phone so that I could see how he was doing the work with his hands. They are surgeons who take great care of their hands because everything they do has to be very precise … it was very intense, the truth, always respecting and honoring those great professionals. “
Actors who sing and singers who act
The telenovela that is about to premiere on the Cubavisión Channel is full of surprises and discoveries, because “You” has challenged those who take part in it in such a way that it has forced them to bring out the good and the best in themselves. Among the particularities that Lester Hamlet has told us about is the participation of several musicians in the cast:
“They asked me themselves and I wanted to give the public the opportunity to see them in another facet. Haila is a family lawyer, it is not that she has so much, so much, but she has four scenes in the novel, she is the one that processes divorces and Adoptions. Telmary is the family doctor, who warns a little about the tragic fate of Daysi’s character, Luna Manzanares has a little scene as a pharmacy administrator, but it is a scene that is full of meanings because Luna and María Eugenia Barrios are there It is like a present and a past of singing, I would even say that the little scene that they have at the end goes from the sympathetic to the virtuous.
“There is old information that El Chacal was going to be there, but he couldn’t be there and as a substitute I invited Oliver Valdés, Rodney Barreto and Horacio” El Negro “Hernández to do one of the chapters where they are the custodians of the cemetery, making a improvised rumba there that accompanies one of the most tragic scenes of the soap opera “.
The key to getting them to unfold in a field that is not their comfort zone, as Lester says is simple: “Treat them as actors. They weren’t musicians there, they weren’t even actors, they were those characters. With Luna it’s very easy Because Luna is a very virtuous woman. Haila … why isn’t Haila going to give her a treat? She wanted to do it herself. Telmary was a bit more difficult, but she loved it and did it well, plus let’s see her. with another image, Telmary without a turban … just imagine. “
But “the antics” of Lester Hamlet with his first soap opera went further: the soundtrack of the characters is interpreted by themselves. When Yasbell is seen in a scene and a voice is heard, it is not another singer, it is the same actress, so it will happen with Denis Ramos, with Herón Vega, with Gabriel Wood, with Leonardo Benítez, with Jessica Borroto, Robertico Águila, Bárbaro Marín, Alicia … I said, who can make the actors sing? Well … a sampling. There I summoned Rey to join us and, well, we did it. “
Lester also expressed his gratitude “to all the musicians who donated their works for the soundtrack of this novel, which would have been priceless. When you say that you have 56 or 57 chapters and that each chapter has a song, that would be priceless, but thanks to Silvio, Pablo, Liuba, Polito, who not only gave songs from his repertoire, but also made new songs, Adrian Berazaín, Isaac Delgado, Raúl Torres, Amaury Pérez, Waldo Mendoza, Osdalgia, Vania, Haila María Mompié, Luna Manzanares , Eduardo Sandoval, Nassiry Lugo, Franco, a young man who gave and made songs for the telenovela and, of course, Karel García, author of the cover song played by Ivette Cepeda “.
Because if it is not for everyone, it is not worth so much effort, it is the philosophy that has accompanied a production crossed by many vicissitudes, including the illness of its director:
“At one point I was sick with Covid and had to stop again a little because the director was sick, I was admitted to the IPK, then I tried to rest, I could not do it completely, first because of the desire I had to film and because Specific commitments I had with actors who needed to film on those dates. I remember when I was most ill, with my serum, feeling very bad, all I said was: “My God, not now, let me finish the novel.”
“One thing that I am grateful for and that makes me very happy is that, in the midst of such a hard year, such a difficult context, such a difficult process, all of us who participated in the novel have at least reached today alive and that is I am infinitely grateful to the universe for the possibility that it has given all the members of this project to arrive alive at their party and that is what it has meant: a joy in life, an immense lesson in work “.
“The novel has already confirmed sales to the Cuba Max channel, therefore, it will be on a cable signal,” Hamlet announced, adding that in parallel with the television broadcast or at the end of each episode it will be shared on a YouTube channel. ” So that it has an international scope and everyone can see it, because it is not worth sacrificing so much if it is not for everyone and it is a very beautiful way of showing the world Cuba, who we are, how we love, how we want, how we hate, how we defend ourselves, from art, beyond politics, from creation “.