Malamadre in Cell 211
Luis Tosar, just turned 39, has already become a household name in Spanish cinema. He was the class clown at school and actually worked as a clown at birthday parties to earn some extra money while studying the dramatic arts in Santiago de Compostela. Although he never passed more than three subjects in the history degree he took, he became a judge. How did this miracle come about? A famous Galician television production, Mareas Vivas, turned this underachieving student, son of a tailor (and incurable cinema-lover) into the hero of one of the most popular regional TV series in Galicia. At that time, Tosar was already a member of the Centro Dramático Gallego, having joined at just 23, making him the youngest in the company.
Los lunes al sol (Mondays in the Sun)
During the filming of Trece Campanadas (13 Curses), a supernatural thriller in which he plays Juan Diego Botto's cruel father, he met his current girlfriend: Basque actress Marta Etura. These were good times for him, both professionally and personally. His name was beginning to be seen and heard everywhere... And, then Icíar Bollaín called him up again with a complex, challenging role: the abusive husband in Te Doy Mis Ojos (Take My Eyes). Although his earlier films had revealed something of the insuperable quality of his work, Te Doy Mis Ojos represents a milestone in Tosar?s career. His performance literally makes your hair stand on end. Without even raising his hand, just with one look, one gesture, he managed to portray the entire perspective of the abuser. Naturally he received his second Goya for his performance, this time the Best Actor award, as well as the Silver Shell at the San Sebastian Festival and general recognition as one of Spain's best actors.
Te doy mis ojos (Take My Eyes)
In 2006, British director Clive Gordon made the film Cargo in an abandoned ship in Barcelona port. This was a psychological thriller with a script by Paul Laverty (Icíar Bolláin's husband and Ken Loach's usual scriptwriter) and Tosar plays a priest who has lost his faith, working as cook on a ship concealing an illegal cargo, dark secrets and a pair of stowaways, played by German-Catalonian actor Daniel Brühl and British actor Peter Mullan.
That same year, following the advice of his friend Javier Bardem, he tackled his first international part, an evil Columbian drugs dealer in the film Miami Vice by Michael Mann, a role which Tosar told the press he obtained by doing an audition via videoconferencing.
Celda 211 (Cell 211)
Last summer, Lope came out ? a competent, highly acceptable biopic in the comic vein about playwright Lope de Vega, in which Tosar plays Fray Bernardo, loyal friend to the writer. Now we can see him in Tambien la lluvia (Even the Rain) (2010), his third film under director Icíar Bollaín and the Spanish contender competing for an Oscar in the foreign section this year. It is said to be a landmark film in Icíar Bollaín's rising career as a director and Tosar?s performance (he co-stars with Gael García Bernal) though in a role completely different from Malamadre, is apparently equally memorable.
También la lluvia (Even the Rain)
Luis Tosar is a consistently credible actor, with great physical strength and tremendous versatility, able to go from one character to another with perfect naturalness, whether it is a provincial bachelor, a tortured wife-beater, an anxious jobless man, a hilarious psychiatrist in love with his sister-in-law, a Columbian drug baron or the incarnation of evil in the form of a prison inmate. He invariably gives his all, with excellent results. This is Luis Tosar, one of the best, yet most modest actors in the world.