Little Ashes is a fascinating examination of the little known, intimate relationship between surrealist artist Salvador Dalí (played by Robert Pattinson) and Spanish writer Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltrán, who makes a riveting big-screen debut).
Originally scheduled to open in March, the release of Little Ashes has been moved to this coming Friday. The film’s distributor, Regent Releasing, seems confident that it can compete against this summer’s potential blockbusters. After all, Pattinson has become enormously popular among young women and other filmgoers thanks to his recent performance as the lovelorn vampire, Edward, in the smash hit Twilight.
But it is García Lorca who is the emotional and political heart of Little Ashes. Beltrán took time out of his busy schedule to chat with me from Spain about the film and his own budding success.
CC: Were you very familiar with Federico García Lorca before you got the part?
JB: Yes, of, course, Lorca is one of the most important literary figures. I studied him at school and the University. I've always been enchanted by his work.
CC: Did anyone advise you against playing such a sexual and/or political role?
JB: I make my own decisions about which roles I accept to play.
CC: Did you have to do much research into García Lorca’s life and the relationship between him and Salvador Dalí? If so, were you surprised by anything you learned about their relationship?
JB: I have read most of Lorca's poems and his true character is revealed in them. In Spain, the friendship between the two is well known, so there was nothing particularly surprising for me.
CC: Since Little Ashes is your first feature film, how was the experience of making the movie for you? Did you feel supported by director Paul Morrison and your more experienced co-stars, Pattinson and Matthew McNulty (who plays controversial film director Luis Buñuel)?
JB: Yes, I felt I was very well supported by Paul and my co-actors. It was a great learning experience. Robert and Matthew are very professional and are very good actors.
CC: Please tell us anything you are open to sharing about your background: family upbringing, religious beliefs, interest in acting, sexuality, personal relationships?
JB: I prefer not to go into detail regarding my personal background. I'm from Barcelona and I'm 25. I studied Humanities at the University and drama at a drama school in Barcelona. I come from a happy family and I've been interested in acting from an early age.
CC: Do you have any thoughts on the sometimes-antagonistic relationship between the arts and politics, especially regarding homosexual relationships, as explored in Little Ashes?
JB: I think the film tells the story about a relationship between two remarkable people. I don't see it as setting an agenda about gay relationships in general.
CC: What are some of your goals as an actor? Are you working on anything now?
JB: My simple goal is to work, and to work well. Right now, I'm working in theater in Barcelona in a Spanish and Catalan version of The History Boys by Alan Bennett. I found it very challenging to work in English and I look forward for further opportunities to do this.
I predict Beltrán will have no shortage of opportunities to continue developing his craft and career in the wake of Little Ashes.
on DVD from Amazon.com.
Interview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.