Jaime Camil moved away from imitation for his new project with Netflix

Jaime Camil he is now an expert in the way Vicente Fernández speaks and thinks. To prepare for his role in the series El Rey, Vicente Fernández, available on Netflix, the Mexican actor claims to have seen “98%” of all the interviews available on the internet of the late Mexican regional music singer.

“The family recommended us, when we studied and did the research… for the character, that we not base ourselves on the movies,” Camil said in a recent video call interview about the premiere of the Caracol Television and Netflix series in the streaming service.

“And they are right, because the movies are an exaggerated version of Vicente,” he acknowledged.

Fernández starred in films such as La ley del monte, Dios los crias and Por tu maldito amor, in which he played his version of a brave charro and gallant. But Camil looked for those moments in which he spoke in a very intimate way and expressed his true feelings. His motto, he said, was to stay away from parody or caricature in order to form a character that started from his essence and at the same time make a creative and artistic interpretation.

“Making a character that is truly human and that connects emotionally with the public”, he stressed about his aspiration.

Part of his interpretation included creating his own versions of emblematic Fernández songs such as El Rey or Volver, Volver. To achieve this, she listened by recording his own voice and Fernández’s voice, to follow her as a guide. She sought to stick to the key in which Fernandez originally recorded his songs in the mid-20th century, which was then styled higher.

“No one is going to be Vicente, no one is ever going to sing like him, no one is going to have the vocal power that he had,” he admitted. But “I tried to emulate his phrasing at least or how he caressed the vowels or how he rounded the o… At times I got dizzy in the studio holding that note from El rey and staying up there whistling the note, but Well, it’s part of the process,” he said.

Tackle magical realism

In the series, a charro dressed in black appears to Fernández when someone he loves is going to die. The appearance was not something that Fernández told, but the deaths of his loved ones were a constant in his life.

“Losses that marked him a lot, his uncle, his cousin, loved ones, his best friends, the suicide of (his friend) Tico Gómez,” the actor added.

We also see how he faces problems due to his poor contract and agent decisions. Even obstacles and adversities to achieve tours or record songs, which over time became classics. For example, José Alfredo Jiménez did not want to give El Rey to record it. Through artists such as Chavela Vargas, Fernández managed to get close to him and gain his approval. Shortly after Jiménez passed away and Fernández finds out in the series when he is on a television show and sees that charro.

With Volver, Volver also faced obstacles, to the extent that he himself made the first copies of the album with his own means.

“It was the great release that Vicente had and that made a difference in his career” with which “he breaks the mold of saying that mariachis can also sing about heartbreak.”

Camil, who claims to know Fernandez’s sons -Alejandro, Gerardo and Vicente- well enough, but did not live with the patriarch. To find out more about his intimate side, he leaned on other artists.

“I talked a lot with Ana Gabriel, I talked a lot with Blanca Martínez ‘La Chicuela’”, he recalled.

The series presents the life of Fernández from his childhood, in a rural area of ​​the western state of Jalisco, until when he sings in Plaza México, in the historic concert he gave in 1984. Fernández died at the age of 81 on December 12, 2021 .

“He single-handedly put ranchera music and mariachi music on the world map… He paid for those ‘tours’ he did and many times he returned from those ‘tours’ with one hand in front and the other behind,” highlighted Camil.

The series was filmed in Mexico and Los Angeles. It features performances by Marcela Guirado as “Cuquita”, Fernández’s wife; Sebastián Dante, as a young Fernández, and Kaled Acab, in the child version of him.

In Colombia, where the series premiered in early August on Caracol TV, it had a good response from the public.

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Jaime Camil moved away from imitation for his new project with Netflix