Near the beginning of "Carlos," the three-part movie about a reknowned international terrorist, Edgar Ramirez (as the title character) stands naked in front of a full length mirror admiring himself. The sexy young terrorist is infatuated with his own image.
After sizing himself up for a bit, he grabs his crotch before turning and walking away.
This interview was originally published during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010.
"I did not intellectualize that scene," actor Edgar Ramirez told indieWIRE yesterday, sitting in a nearly empty beachside cafe in Cannes. He said there could be many readings of that moment early on in "Carlos." The scene establishes a confidence and cockiness that will be seen within his character and his actions over the course of the movie's five-plus running time.
"He is pampering himself, celebrating himself, asserting himself," Ramirez observed, pondering the scene.
"Carlos," told in three parts and originally produced for French television, is bookended by scenes of the title character regarding himself as both a young man and then in his older age when his health is in decline. Over the course of the drama that spans decades and plays out in dozens of cities around the world, the film explores the compexity of a terrorist who is navigating his own interests and those of the group he has placed his allegiance. But, Ramirez added, "Carlos" is less about politics and more about human nature and the duality of human experience.
While thirty-two year old Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez has been seen in many supporting roles in such films as "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Domino," "Che," "Vantage Point," Olivier Assayas' "Carlos" marks his striking lead acting debut at the center of an epic story.
Ramirez' own path to acting began when he organized a short film festival while in college in Caracas, Venezuela. He met Guillermo Arriaga during a trip to Mexico and the writer encouraged him to pursue acting. But, still in school, he initially held off, later cast in a role by Arriaga and getting his big break in Tony Scott's "Domino." Today, in addition to acting, Ramirez is active with Amnesty International in a campaign against guns back home. He also represents a charity working to fight breast cancer and is also involved with UNICEF, among other humanitarian causes.
Talking about the new movie yesterday, Ramirez said he feels that it offers a deeper metaphor of the struggle between idealism and individualism, sensitivity and narcissism.
"The movie is also about how an individual interest and ego and fame prevail," Ramirez observed.
Elaborating, he added that, "In any human process we can't escape from the vanity, the power and the ego. Not even in acting," he said.
"At a certain point, individual interests, ego and narcissism or self-infatuation show up and probably change the course of what the primary destination was. I think that the movie somehow speaks about that."