Antonia San Juan: “Working with Almodóvar does not solve your life”

The actress premieres the musical ‘El fantasma de la sauna’ by new director Luis Navarrete, a crazy story set in a gay sauna that pays tribute to ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘The Phantom of the opera’ and ‘Eduardo Scissorhands’

20 years after becoming Agrado in Everything about my mother, Antonia San Juan rescued the same top that she wore in Almodóvar’s film for one of her musical numbers in The Phantom of the Sauna. It was her first musical, and she dared with this film because for her it was an honor. “They had thought of me, and because I wanted to make a film in which I sang and danced,” the actress confesses to SensaCine, who had no qualms about putting herself in the hands of the new director Luis Navarrete, after more than 20 years of career with successes such as The hole, the Serie Iron O Box. His musical finally opens in theaters this weekend.

The actress acknowledges that there is a lot of distortion in what people think is the life of an actress when she has worked with a famous director:

“The reality is that working with Almodóvar does not solve your life. I do not spend the day rejecting offers, and in this world one day you are working hard and the next you disappear and they do not offer you anything, so going as a diva would be stupid . I was very excited that Luis Navarrete thought of me. And what I want is to work, “acknowledges the interpreter who has mostly worked in theater, and defines herself as self-taught.

“I would love to tell you that I have taken dance classes, or interpretation to be an actress, but none of that, in life I have thrown myself where I played, working and striving to always give my best. And with Luis everything has been very easy, now the young directors have a very professional handling of the camera from the beginning, they are very effective and I don’t notice the difference, “he assures. And he adds:” Luis has made everything easy for us. He is very humble and collaborative, so even the nights that were cold and long and the work was hard made everything very easy for us. ”


Navarrete, 29, who traveled from Almería to study medicine, dropped out in his fifth year because the cinema crossed his path. Define The Phantom of the sauna, his first feature film, like “the fantasy of a Disney musical, but which takes place in a gay sauna”. He reminds SensaCine that at the first meeting with Antonia he was very nervous. “When I met her I was trembling but the atmosphere was familiar from the first moment and the lesson of humility that she has given me is impressive, so all with a very good vibes”, assures the director. “He always wanted to make a musical, he was very excited and he worked a lot with the composer to bring it to fruition,” says Navarrete.

The director tells that The Phantom of the sauna came from your favorite movies Moulin Rouge, Eduardo Mannostieras, and The Phantom of the Opera and wanted to tell two stories: “One of idealistic love that you then need to look for when you leave the cinema, and another, about loneliness and people who understand each other when the rest do not understand them,” he explains.

The film shot in an LGTBI environment wants to help show the most unknown part of the group: “If you are outside the group, you may think that they are more asocial, more sexual issues, but it invites you to explore the thriller, the musical, the romanticism so that we can see other types of stories in another type of genre “explains the director.

And both his movie and Corten, by Marc Ferrer, which also opens this weekend and has Samantha Hudson among its cast, believes that we are witnessing a new wave of this type of cinema:

“We are being given a projection and an opportunity to show a part of the universe of the LGTB collective that is not so well known. But the more visibility we have, the more children will come out of the closet, but there will also be more detractors. Although we are on the right track” , concludes the director.

For Antonia it is also good news that more and more movies like this hit theaters. “Everything that is integrating and what the world of cinema can contribute to make the collective visible seems great to me. When I read the script it seemed great, different and very original,” concludes Antonia.

The story of ‘The Phantom of the Sauna’

The story of The Phantom of the Sauna tells the arrival of Javi (Nestor Goenaga) to the Popular Sauna looking for a job while trying to fulfill his dream of being a singer. The business is in low hours and Asun (Antonia San Juan), the owner, decides to take him in in exchange for help. Soon Javi will realize that everyone hides dark secrets. ANDThe eldest of them, the Ghost of the Sauna (Martín Spínola), a mysterious man who lives in the ventilation ducts, and who ends up falling in love with the young man. Together they will discover that there are romances marked by destiny and secrets that can lead to tragedy..