Glenn Close: “There is such a need for content that something original always sneaks in”

First Israeli series to win the International Emmy for best drama, ‘Tehran’ (Apple TV +, second season from Friday, day 6) It was never a low intensity series, but it only grows in strength and magnetism with the signing of Glenn Close as Marjan Montazemi, renowned psychologist and undercover Mossad agent who has to supervise to the heroine Tamar (Niv Sultan). We spoke to the ‘Fatal Attraction’ actress about her new triple somersault (she learned Persian just for the part) and how she sees TV today and tomorrow.

How did it end up in ‘Tehran’?

My agent got the offer out of the blue. Honestly, she wasn’t very familiar with ‘Fauda’ [la serie que propulsó a Moshe Zonder, cocreador de ‘Teherán’], but I read the scripts for this one and thought they were excellent. It seemed to me the appropriate series to return to television.

Are you usually interested in espionage thrillers?

Yes, yes, I have always loved this kind of intrigue. In fact, the series to which I am most hooked this season is ‘Slow horses’, from which I am fascinated by the character of Gary Oldman.

Apparently the character in ‘Tehran’ was written specifically for you. Did you feel that way when you read the scripts? Did you think “oh, clearly this is my territory”?

I didn’t really see it that clearly. And, in fact, it took me a lot of work! I read many books about the relationship between Israel and Iran. But the hardest thing was learning Persian, because my character was supposed to speak the language perfectly. Two language ‘coaches’ tried every moment to keep me from screwing up.

This is only his third regular role in a series after ‘The shield’ and ‘Damages’. At the time when she joined the first, in 2005, it was not so common to see movie stars doing television. Why did you find it interesting to take that step?

Basically it was because I liked the series. It is true that at that time it was not as well seen as it is now to do television. But it is a suspicion only typical of Hollywood. Back then, he used to give British actors as an example: they were leading a big movie as well as playing a small role in a sitcom. If it wasn’t a problem for them, why should it be for us?

Time has proved him right, of course. You always chose well, because your next series was ‘Damages’, ahead of its time in terms of narrative and moral complexity.

I am very proud of that series. The scripts were on another level. Incredibly well written. I was never allowed to write a backstory for the character [la despiadada abogada Patty Hewes], something I like to do. He must always live in the moment. But I asked them that everything the character did, please, have consequences. Make the story consistent. And they did it for five years of writing.

English actors didn’t mind doing a big movie and then a sitcom: why should it be any different for Americans?

How the landscape of the series right now? While there is an oversupply of quality, everything seems to be turning towards franchises, recognizable brands, stories based on real events… Missing really original ideas?

There are a lot of ideas, I think. There is such a need for content that something interesting and original will always sneak in, if only to fill space (laughs). For an actor, this is a fantastic thing, because you have so much more to choose from. There really is a lot.

Speaking of intellectual properties: will you participate in any way in the series that is being prepared around ‘Fatal Attraction’?

I have not been asked to participate. But I did meet Joshua Jackson [que será el protagonista masculino de la serie] and I asked him to please do justice to the story of my character; to explain why he behaved as he did. I hope they do.

Adrian Lyne’s film was so disturbing and provocative that perhaps today it could not be made for cinema. Possibly on television some of that turbidity survives.

It was really disturbing. And I played a woman who had suffered abuse as a child at the hands of her father. That is the root of her behavior. She was not a villain. The original ending was much more interesting: she ended up committing suicide, but they changed it to make her a psychopath. Changing the ending made it the hit it was. The public could relax because evil had been defeated. In the original version she was not destroyed, but she self-destructed.

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The television industry has become more global than ever. What goal have you set for yourself after learning Persian?

Well, now I am going to make a film in Finland, where I have never been. But luckily, I don’t have to learn Finnish. For me, any job is difficult. Most of them mean leaving home and I always have to weigh a lot if it’s worth doing it: if the story and the team are worth enough to leave everything.

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