Although Spanish actor Óscar Jaenada is relatively unknown in the U.S., his stock will be at an all-time high this week when he takes on the role of Sgt. Carlos “Cougar” Alvarez, a sniper on a U.S. Special Forces team seeking vengeance against a CIA agent who betrayed them, in “The Losers.” The film, which is based on the comic book series written and illustrated by Andy Diggle and Jock, features Jaenada in his first major role in an American-made movie.
During an interview with me, Jaenada, 34, who was born in Barcelona, Spain and is best known for his TV, film and stage work in his home country, talked about his role in “The Losers” and how he trained to play a sniper. He also caught us up on the rumors swirling around Hollywood that he has been tapped as the Latino actor who will portray Cantinflas in a movie about the Mexican comedian’s life and career.
How close to the comic book did you want to make your character Cougar?
[Director] Sylvain [White] sent me all the comic books and I read them for a long time. I was preparing my character from the comic. I told Sylvain that if it was possible we had to give the character the same hair and the same moustache. We tried to make a copy of the Cougar in the comic book. I think we did it.
What did you learn about what it takes to be an efficient sniper while making this movie?
I was taught by a professional sniper. He told me a lot of secrets about being a sniper and taught me about patience, precision and personality. He told me there were four S words to remember if you wanted to be a sniper. They are shape, shadow, shine and silhouette. It’s hard but you have to be very patient and silent. A sniper is all about one shot, one kill.
After getting the look of the character from the comics, what did Sylvain want you to do with his personality?
When I was talking with Sylvain he told me it would be great if I could speak with just my eyes. He wanted a lot of visual expression. It was like a European character in an American movie.
Were Andy Diggle and Jock on set and did that put added pressure on the cast to capture their vision correctly?
Yes, they were there and they were satisfied with my work. I was talking with them and they told me they were very surprised and very happy with all the characters. Cougar especially, they told me I had the flow that Cougar has. When they told me this I was very proud.
How true are the rumors that you will be playing Cantinflas in a movie about his life?
We’ve been talking but it’s too soon to tell. We are in pre-production stuff. It’s a very difficult character. It’s a very important character not only for Mexico but for all Hispanic people.
So, are you signed on to play him?
No, we’re not sure yet, but anything is possible. I don’t worry about it. I know the type of actor I am. I know I could give Cantinflas my best. (Note: Since this interview, a few online sources have reported Jaenada has been officially cast as Cantinflas, but there is still no official word from the studio).