You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pablo Trapero on Tackling Real-Life Crime Story Behind ‘The Clan’

Filmmaker Pablo Trapero was a young boy in Argentina when he first heard the story of the Puccios, a seemingly normal family in Buenos Aires whom no one suspected had kidnapped and murdered several people during the 1980s. Now, 30 years later, Trapero has brought their story to the big screen with “The Clan,” starring Guillermo Francella as patriarch Arquímedes and Peter Lanzani as his son and reluctant collaborator, Alejandro. Trapero, whose previous films include the acclaimed “White Elephant,” won the Silver Lion for best director at last year’s Venice Film Festival for “The Clan.” The film went on to break box office records on its opening weekend in Argentina and opens this week in New York and Los Angeles after a worldwide festival run.

You were very young when the events in the movie took place; at what point did you start to think about telling the story onscreen?
The first time I heard of it, I was only 13. But as you can imagine, it was not easy to forget. In 2007, I was finishing my movie “Lion’s Den” and started to think about making a movie based on the case. It stayed with me all this time.

Is the story still famous to people in Argentina?
Yes and no. People from my generation, yes it was very famous. But when we started working on it, I realized that younger people were not that familiar with it. That was a big surprise.

What sort of research did you undertake for the movie?
We spent a lot of time it the neighborhood, we talked with Alejandro’s friends, with all the people who had been around. We talked to the lawyers, the relatives of the family, the judges. We had to do all this to get the feel of what it was like inside that house.

How do the relatives feel about what happened?
The son changed his last name and has nothing to do with them. We tried to reach out to (the immediate family) through friends, but they never wanted to talk to us. We talked with the families of the victims, which was exactly the opposite: they needed to talk to us, they needed to share what happened. They were very supportive.

I assume the families of the victims have seen the movie?
Yes. Some came to the premiere in Argentina and it was really moving. Guillermo was present and it was very strange because they were hugging him, saying how great his performance was and how close it was to the real person.

Speaking of Guillermo, he’s so chilling in this film, but I understand he’s actually known for his comedic work back home?
Yes. Not only a comedian, but a huge star in comedies. He can’t even walk down the street because people are shouting at him and wanting to take pictures. So it was a big challenge for both of us. I knew he was a great actor, but we wanted to see if he could be a villain. The first question I asked when we first met was, “Are you comfortable playing someone who’s such a real villain?” And he was very committed from the beginning. He actually said yes before we even had the final draft of the script done.

How did you know he could do it?
I don’t know. I loved the idea of taking advantage of his popularity because it was similar to Arquímedes. He was respected and loved, and most of the people around their house were very skeptical about the news. They thought it was a mistake. So we tried to do that, have this nice, charming guy playing him. He was very cast against type. It was the same with Peter, who played Alejandro. He was cast after a long, long process. He used to be a teenage star on TV. This is his first movie.

This is one of those films that shows how truth is stranger than fiction; was there anything you had to leave out you would have liked to have included?
So many things. Actually the criminal life of Arquímedes Puccio began in the late ’60s. He has a very long record and an amazing one. There were many things I had to leave out in order to focus on these four cases. We chose to focus on that one period which already had so much story in it.

What’s up next for you?
Sleep. I’ve been promoting the movie. But next I’m supposed to do a movie here called “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit,” about this man (Christian Karl) Gerhartsreiter, who posed as a member of the Rockefeller family. It’s an amazing case and I’m really happy to be part of it. We’re working on a new draft and if things go right, I think we will be in production by the end of the year. It’s such an exciting project.

More Film

  • MGM logo

    MGM Hires Robert Marick to Expand Consumer Products

    Metro Goldwyn Mayer has hired industry veteran Robert Marick as executive VP of global consumer products and experiences. In his new role, Marick is responsible for overseeing the expansion of MGM’s traditional merchandise, interactive and consumer products business. He’s also developing a global strategy with a focus on core consumer products licensing, digital and gaming, [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Personal Tales From Hong Kong, China

    Personal Tales From Hong Kong and China Among the Asia Film Financing Forum Projects

    A brace of personal tales from China and Hong Kong are among the 23 projects vying for attention at the 17th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. Liu Miaomiao is a rare female ethnic Hui Muslim filmmaker. She came to international prominence with 1993’s “Chatterbox” that won the President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal [...]

  • Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year

    Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year She Takes Risks in Her Film Choices

    Josie Ho vows to master the art of calculated risk in the year 2019. As an actress and film producer, she is conscious of the choices of projects she makes: appearing in the new film by Japanese hotshot director Shinichiro Ueda, producing a new documentary feature while developing some 10 titles in the pipeline of [...]

  • FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to

    FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to iQIYI's Online Ambitions

    Tech and data play a huge role for iQIYI, China’s second-largest streaming platform, as a way to innovate and step out ahead of its competitors, iQIYI founder and CEO Yu Gong explained in a keynote speech Monday at FilMart. “We don’t see a lot of innovation-driven entertainment companies yet. We want to be the one,” [...]

  • Ted Sarandos and Thierry Fremaux'Okja' photocall,

    Despite Ongoing Peace Talks, Netflix Won't Have Any Movies at Cannes 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Although Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival continue quietly to negotiate a potential settlement to their differences, the streaming giant will be absent from the Croisette again this year with no film in or out of competition, Variety has learned. The ongoing talks between the two sides have been friendly, including a dinner in Los [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content