He’s become one of Spain’s most successful auteur directors of big audience hits. Now director-writer-producer Alex de la Iglesia (“The Day of the Beast,” “30 Coins”) and producing partner, the actor-producer Carolina Bang (“The Last Circus”), have turned to wayward soccer players for their latest TV outing, HBO Max show “Headless Chickens.”
The starting point for this upcoming Spanish series is curiosity, Bang explained at an afternoon Q&A session at the Berlinale Series Market on Tuesday scheduled in the Next from Spain strand.
“Alex and I don’t like soccer very much but we have a lot of curiosity about the industry,” said Bang. “You have a lot of young people that became very rich very quickly. It destroys your head.”
Indeed, a teaser for “Headless Chickens” featured a beautiful footballer parading in a big, white fluffy coat through a nightclub with women falling at his feat. The swagger was amusing.
“It’s a comedy about the world of soccer,” added Iglesia who says the release date will soon be announced.
In approaching his projects, Iglesia keeps his audience in mind. “The most important thing is to think about cinema. All the things we are doing have some relationship to the cinema,” said Iglesia.
And he knows how to create tension. “I understand the world of these kinds of people. It’s fun to lose some respect for big soccer players and put them in the real world,” he said. “Our intention is to laugh. We don’t want to offend anyone. But not hide a reality either.”
Also taking part in the panel was the executive producer Rodrigo Ruiz- Gallardon, from Banijay Iberia, who talked about the development of the series..
“At the beginning, it was going to be about more characters, but then we focused on Hugo. He’s a clever loser dealing with his stupid winners. He’s the soul. He’s everything,” he said.
“Headless Chickens” is produced for HBO Max by Alex de la Iglesia and Carolina Bang at their shingle Pokeepsie Films, which is now a Banijay Iberia company.
Hugo Silva, (“Nasdrovia,” “Witching and Bitching”) plays a soccer agent, former player and ex-alcoholic, who loses his girlfriend (Dafne Fernández), just as he’s getting it together, and loses his biggest soccer star as well.
The show was created by Pablo Tébar (“Plastic Sea”) and Jorge Valdano Saénz (“Messi”) from an original idea by Bang.
“We have a big soccer culture in Spain,” said Iglesia. “I love to shoot. It’s a dream,” he said. “You conquer the world. It’s fun. Now I’m producing. It could be even better. In some way you are putting all your efforts to do something not for you.”
Pokeepsie Films credits include the HBO Max hit “30 Coins,” which was co-written and directed by Iglesia.
One of Spain’s biggest broad audience directors, his second feature, 1995’s “The Day of the Beast,” proved a milestone in Spanish cinema thanks to its comedic mix of classic horror tropes and Spanish reality.
De la Iglesia has gone on to make some of the highest-profile films in Spain, including “Balada Triste,” (“The Last Circus”), which won a Venice Festival best director Silver Lion in 2010, awarded by a jury headed by Quentin Tarantino.