Interview – Javier Botet

Almost everyone is instinctively born with an imagination, but it is the seeds planted early on that help the boundaries of that said imagination grow. For Spaniard Javier Botet, a vivid imagination was always a bold characteristic of his personality growing up, and as an adult, he has applied it to a career in film.

Diagnosed while still a very young child with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue, Botet would later use it to his advantage seeking roles in films to portray creatures. Having been successful, not only because of his body, but because of a talent to act, Botet has starred in a lot of popular Horror flicks including 2013’s Mama, 2016’s The Conjuring 2, 2017’s It, plus many more.

Most recently, taking the role of a supernatural creature in the film Mara, which is set for release in theaters and On Demand/Digital HD on September 7th, Botet is living his dreams and letting his imagination run wild. Recently we caught up with the actor to talk his inspiration to work in film, his joining up with Mara, plus more. – You have been involved in film professionally for over a decade now. Starring in a list of well-known films, briefly tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in acting?

Javier Botet – Well, I never was working hard to be an actor. Since I was a child, I always loved movies, comics, and cartoons. I was drawing creatures all the time. I was loving the whole process because it is the perfect mix of every artistic technique. Since I was a child, I was seeing all these Star Wars movies and I was very inspired by these different worlds. The moment I had papers and pencils, I started creating. 

When I started earning a little bit of money I bought my own video camera, so I started shooting shorts with my friends. That was the beginning around 20 years ago. I was shooting shorts, editing, and acting in my free time. I loved the entire process, but acting was always the easy part for me in my personal projects. I always thought my body was special for Comedy, Horror, and Sci-Fi. When I moved to Madrid 15 years ago, that’s when I really started looking for that. I was finally in a city with opportunities, before that I was living in little towns. When I lived in Madrid I started meeting people who worked in cinema. I was working in cartoons, doing storyboards for movies, and meanwhile, doing my shorts for festivals.

That was all growing and one day I had my first opportunity to make a creature. I went to a makeup workshop and said, “Hey, look at my body, it is going to be a very cool tool to make creatures.” I showed them my shorts and everything I did, so they knew it was not only my body. They knew I really loved cinema and I had a capacity for acting. I think I always wanted to be part of cinema, but not only as an actor. Not even now, I’m totally still in the job – I’m preparing other things. Last year I was working in a movie I wrote and I’m writing now my own screenplay. It has always been everything part of me. 

Universal Pictures
20th Century Fox – It is wonderful to see how passionate you are about it all. You star in the new film Mara which is an interesting type of Horror film incorporating the theme of sleep paralysis. How did you become involved with this project?  

Javier Botet – After Mama (2013), a lot of people started calling offering me creature roles. James Edward Barker and the other producers called me for it. I had free time and it was nice to go work with them. Their screenplay was good and I got to work with Olga Kurylenko. It was so easy to accept the role. – The film has a steady pace and needs your full attention. That said, it is Clive Tonge’s debut feature. What was it like working with him?

Javier Botet – It was great. I always have a good experience, some times are harder than others. This one was amazingly easy because Clive Tonge is a kind and fun guy. We had a very good relationship. Olga Kurylenko is also a very nice woman and very easy to work with. I felt very comfortable.

Clive was a young guy doing his first movie, but he had a lot of experience shooting. He loves Horror, so we all enjoyed it very much. He was asking me my opinions and giving me a lot of freedom. The makeup is usually very restrictive, but in this movie it was very light. In every way, the experience with Mara was very comfortable and easy. 

Javier Botet in Mara. – That is good to hear. There is also a theme of mythology in the film. Was the story something that fascinated you?

Javier Botet – Yes, it is always great when your character has a background. With Mara, I started writing a lot of things about paralysis and Mara. In my own experience, that I had around 10 years ago with sleep paralysis, I had these episodes. I felt very uncomfortable thinking you are going to die. You need to breathe, you need to move, but you can’t. That helped to know what my victims should feel in these moments. I try to always do a little research and know how the director wants it done. – The film is out on Friday, September 7th, so it will be very exciting to see what people think. Last question. What are some of your favorite Horror and Sci-Fi films?

Javier Botet – The Star Wars franchise is so important to me. I was born in 1977, the same time as Star Wars. One of the first movies I saw in the theater was Return of the Jedi (1983). I still remember the shock it was for me to see all these creatures and aliens, it was like an explosion of imagination. It inspired me very much. After that, and a few other movies, I couldn’t stop drawing creatures and monsters. I think Star Wars is the most important for me. 

I love other films like Alien (1979) as well. It was kind of a shock and amazing. In Science Fiction, I love every movie, and since I was a child I saw everything. I love the movie Fire in the Sky (1993) too. I have a lot of movies I love.

Saban Films

For more on Javier Botet: Twitter | Instagram 

Feature photo of Javier Botet at top of article by Sebas Romero.

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