‘The daughter’, the first time in the cinema of Sofian El Ben and Irene Virgüez: “It was strange to see me on screen. I saw another person who had my physique”

The young protagonists of the new Manuel Martín Cuenca visit us on ‘El TolChou’ on the Twitch channel ElStream. The film, also with Javier Gutiérrez and Patricia López Arnaiz, opens on November 26.

“The first day I arrive and I see Javier and Patricia and Manolo on the floor playing dogs. After that, how embarrassing are you going to be?”. With that Sofian El Ben found a month before starting to shoot The daughter, the new from Manuel Martín Cuenca. The Javier and Patricia he refers to are none other than Javier Gutiérrez and Patricia López Arnaiz, two of the film’s protagonists. “I understood it later. Manuel trusts your criteria a lot. He likes to see that person behind you, your own proposal. He wants everything to be very organic”adds El Ben on El TolChou, the Twitch channel show ElStream from Webedia. The actor and his co-star Irene Virgüez have visited us on our set to talk about The daughter, a ‘thriller’ hits theaters this Friday, November 26.

But playing a dog was not the only thing that Martín Cuenca asked his actors to do to prepare them for this project. The film follows a young woman (Virgüez) who resides in a juvenile center and becomes pregnant. To prevent your baby from being taken away, your teacher (Gutierrez) and the wife of this (López Arnaiz) They decide to help her by hiding her at home in the middle of the Sierra de Cazorla for the duration of the pregnancy with one condition: that she give them her daughter when she is born. The plan goes awry when the baby’s father (El Ben) is released from prison.

“I always had a pregnant belly,” says Virgüez, who came to The daughter with some of the work done because he had already given life to a young pregnant woman in the short film Moon mothers. “They asked me if I wanted to take it off, but it helped me, so I always had it. We went to Jaén and I went with the belly and with the clothes and all the character’s wardrobe, and I went with Sofian as our characters and we we went for a walk. Manuel gave us 20 euros and said: ‘You have to buy something for the baby’. Going into the store to buy baby clothes and living the experience made me very ashamed“.

The daughter It was the first major film project for both performers. As Virgüez confesses:

When I saw the movie for the first time, the truth is that it made a big impact on me and I didn’t know how to react very well. The fact of seeing myself on the big screen… I left neither happy nor not happy. It came out grated because it was so weird. I saw another person who had my physique. The second time I really enjoyed it and I thought I had set the bar very high

Ben, who even spent a night in the refuge in the middle of the mountains where his character sleeps, also feels a bit identified with the words of his partner. “I can understand what she’s saying because it took a long time to release. We shot it a long time ago, in the middle of a pandemic. When you see it, you have already depersonalized from your own person, not as an actor, but as Sofian“.

The film was part of the Official Section -out of competition- of the last 69th edition of the San Sebastian Festival and both interpreters had a different experience during their time at the contest. While Virgüez lived it more calmly, El Ben has said that he ended up at a party with Arón Piper, actor of the Netflix series Elite.


As El Ben has told, The daughter It premieres long after its filming, which was affected two weeks before its end by the coronavirus crisis. “The part that I took the worst was when COVID-19 arrived. That trance of not knowing what is going to happen with the film … We did not know what to do. There were people who left the filming due to fear and insecurity. That part was the hardest for the team. They had to cut out a lot of things: scenes, special effects …“Virgüez recalls.

‘La hija’, with Javier Gutiérrez, a brilliant poisoned drama of ‘thriller’

In the film, the characters played by Gutiérrez and López Arnaiz evolve in the eyes of the viewer, beginning as a generous marriage and transforming into villains. However, when shooting, the team did not think about who were the good guys and the bad guys in the story. “It was rather that everyone is good from their point of view and everything we did was from love. Both Patricia in the love of wanting to be a mother and I in the love of wanting to stay with my daughter”Virgüez explains.

Ben, for his part, admits that at first he was a bit intimidated by playing the partner of a girl as young as Virgüez. She is now 16 and he is 25. “She made it very simple, very organic and is, as she says, very mature”explains the actor.

And your families, what do you think of the movie? “My parents and my family like crazy. My father left the cinema and forgot the phone”, says Virgüez, who also saw the film with an audience at the Seville Festival to witness their reaction. “They have not seen it yet. They are waiting for 26. We have to support the cinema and more of how we come. Two sisters of mine have seen it and they are very surprised. They came out a little dizzy”adds El Ben.


During its passage through El TolChou, Ben has told a curious moment of his life. When he finished high school, at the age of 18, he decided to go live in China. He deceived his parents by telling them that he had found a job opportunity there and even sent them videos pretending he was working. “When I landed I had 237 euros. I didn’t even have enough for the return trip”. The first two months he lived on the street sleeping in a park.

How do you explain:

I did not know what I wanted to do and I was afraid not to live

Finally, he found a job at a nightclub. There she began to network and got a job as a model. In China he lived seven months until the Elite modeling agency signed him. Her Instagram account is proof of her career in the fashion world. Although at first he was quite active in the famous social network, now that has changed. Nevertheless, remains connected to Instagram, as he has set up an influencer agency, which represents, among others, El Cejas.

“Instagram is something that I put a lot of effort into at the beginning. It was something very organic within the modeling career. Like the typical ‘supercool’ life. One day I got tired. I got tired of the social network itself. The fact of having to show my life, and it’s not what made me happy. I was a little tired of that, “he concludes.

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