What we know about Santa Evita, the Star+ series that revives the myth of Eva Perón

Eva Duarte de Perón is one of the emblems of the history of Argentina. The former first lady played a vital role at a time marked by political crisis in her country and around the world. Adored by the working classes and hated by conservative sectorswho always viewed with suspicion the seemingly limitless influence that Evita enjoyed and who even celebrated the cancer that afflicted her in her final days.

Her role as a defender of the working class and the social work that she promoted from her political position – without having an official position within the governmental regime – made her image forever anchored in Trans-Andean popular culture: her funeral were massive and must even be named spiritual leader of the nation posthumously.

But one of the most fascinating stories of Latin American politics also weighs on its image: with the coup that removed Juan Domingo Perón from the presidency, the military forces in power decided to kidnap the corpse of Avoid., embalmed three years ago while waiting to be buried in a monument to be erected in his honor and which was never built. Thus, between unusual hiding places like a cinema and later exile, The lifeless body of Eva Perón wandered unburied for nearly 16 years.

The anecdote of Evita’s corpse remains in force among the Argentines. It even inspired the bestseller Holy Avoid of Thomas Eloy Martinez, a 1995 novel that expands the myth of the figure of Duarte de Perón and returns to the media arena. This time through a series of seven chapters which will be released on July 26 via Star+.

Here, everything we know about Saint Avoid, an argentinian production directed by Rodrigo Garcia, son of the writer Gabriel García Márquez, and Alejandro Maci.

The production inspired by Eloy Martínez’s novel focuses mainly on five characters, played by important actors, mostly from the Argentine scene.

Natalia Oreiro is the undisputed protagonist of the plot, because She is assigned to portray the role of Eva Perón throughout the series.. This is not the first time that he has played a historical figure from the neighboring country. In 2016, Oreiro played Gilda, I don’t regret this love, the biopic of the Argentinian cumbia singer who died suddenly in 1996 following a car accident.

Natalia Oreiro as Eva Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)
Natalia Oreiro as Eva Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)

The plot directed by García and Maci delves into several of the stages of Evita’s life. However, the moment when his character takes on the most importance has to do, precisely, with the last days of the life of the former first lady, marked by the evils of cancer of the uterus and the proximity of death.

Another of the series’ main characters is the Teniente Coronel Moori Koenig, assumed by the actor Ernest Alterio, Originally from Buenos Aires who spent a large part of his career in Spain. After the overthrow that drove Perón into exile in Spain and following the orders of his superiors, He was in charge of solving the disappearance of Evita’s body.

Ernesto Alterio as Lieutenant Colonel Moori Koenig in Santa Evita (Star+)
Ernesto Alterio as Lieutenant Colonel Moori Koenig in Santa Evita (Star+)

For its part, Diego Velazquezrecognized for his role in the miniseries The seven fools and the flamethrowers, is responsible for the interpretation mariano vazqueza journalist who quit his job at one of the country’s leading newspapers to investigate the return of Eva’s body to Juan Domingo Peróneven putting his life in danger.

Dr. Pedro Ara is another fundamental element of the story, since it is neither more nor less than Spanish-born doctor responsible for embalming the body of the former first lady, the result of which was considered by himself as his great masterpiece. In fiction, he is played by Francesc Orellaa Spanish actor as his character.

While the role of former President Peronone of the most important and influential politicians in Latin America, is assumed by Argentina Dario Grandinetti.

Darío Grandinetti as Juan Domingo Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)
Darío Grandinetti as Juan Domingo Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)

The idea that Natalia Oreiro would take on the role of Eva Perón raised curiosity and expectations not only from the press, but also from those who wanted to see the miniseries. A few days after its premiere, the similarities between the actress and the former Argentine politician were hailed not only for the production of Star+, but also for Oreiro.

Over the past few weeks, the actress commented in various interviews how the process was to embody such an important figure as Evita. Concretely, his preparation was marked by the physical, interpretative and vocal demands required to achieve a resemblance to the character. This was revealed during a recent press conference.

For that, Oreiro relied on the help of two interim coaches: María Laura Berch, who guided her on the interpretation level, and Mariana García, with whom she trained on the singing side. The latter was a recommendation from Mercedes Morán and Leo Sbaraglia, two colleagues from the theater world.

Natalia Oreiro as Eva Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)
Natalia Oreiro as Eva Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)

Another essential part was live almost daily with speeches and historical records from the former first lady. “I was connected all the time with his voice during the five months that the filming lasted. But also all the previous year that the pandemic gave us. I did a process of disarming her voice. Why I’ve been playing him since he was very young and then in those six years or so of his political career“, he expressed in the same instance.

On preparing the character in one of her most fragile moments, the actress commented in an interview with La Nación that it was an “exhausting, but exciting process. I lost a lot of weight, more than the director wanted. I gave myself physically to the character, I couldn’t imagine doing otherwise. We are talking about an absolutely powerful, passionate, energetic, committed woman, but who had to live in a man’s world. And the attraction she aroused was such that, even dead, she continued to fascinate them. They felt such fear and love that they needed to destroy it. In the series, this is seen in a very strong way. Also, putting myself in Evita’s corpse, being harassed by a world of adrift men, for two decades, on two continents… It was very difficult, very disturbing. There are times that I erased because I needed it that way.

For his part, Alejandro Maci described the actress’ work as “tireless on and off the set”. According to Oreiro, it was nothing less than the most vulnerable role of his entire career.

Natalia Oreiro as Eva Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)
Natalia Oreiro as Eva Peron in Santa Evita (Star+)

Another of the strengths where the series stands out is the quality of its production. Despite the fact that its realization was crossed by the health crisis, the creators and the team managed to approach a large number of places which enriched the credibility of the story.

In total, its seven chapters have been recorded in more than 40 locations in Buenos Aires. at the same time he called 120 actors and actresses, and 1,300 extras throughout the recordings.

Holy Avoid
Holy Avoid

Also note the effort that involved the period recreation of the series, which begins in 1952, the year of the death of Eva Perón and whose replica was in charge of the local teams of photography, art and costumes. One of the examples around the deployment of production in this aspect is the presence on stage of more than 80 vintage vehicles in perfect working order, in addition to the creation of almost 150 costume pieces that have been designed exclusively for the series.

Several names also stand out within the production team. One of the most relevant is Salma Hayek Pinault, Mexican actress with a long career in Hollywood who was executive producer of the series, along with Jose Tamez. Both participated as members of the team of the producer Ventanarosafounded in 1999 by Hayek.

Despite the fact that few comments on the series have yet been published (there are still a few days left before its premiere and the press generally only has access to the first episodes), a review written by journalist and critic Diego Battle on the Other Cinemas portal anticipates the appreciation of specialists.

Although it does not fail to mention certain aspects in which the narration of the novel is more precise (as, for example, in making flashbacks to the past of Evita or the implications behind the scratches in which the conservative sectors celebrated the cancer that afflicted the former first lady), The perception of Battle is inclined to point out that it is a well-constructed series that is captivating.

In the words of the critic: “Even with its inevitable simplification, even trivialization of certain aspects, this Holy Avoid model 2022 it is a fiction that captivates and in some passages fascinates, beyond the appreciations that each spectator can make from his ideological point of view and identification/rejection in relation to the characters in question. It’s that there aren’t so many stories with similar dimensions and scope that range from intimate to social.”

One aspect particularly highlighted by the journalist lies in the effort made by the series in terms of production. “The period setting (lots of set in the studio and maximum use of the few actual locations that still retain the aesthetics of the 40s and 50s) is outstanding in terms of costumes, art direction (with the kind permission of Mercedes Alfonsín) and photography (the great “Chango” Monti). There is no shortage of extras, but when reconstruction is impossible for budgetary reasons, archive footage is used, without fear of revealing the differences between the real Evita and that embodied by Natalia Oreiro. In this aspect, there is in her and in Grandinetti an effort to imitate certain inflections of voice and gestures of the real characters, but there is also no obsession with achieving a perfect degree of mimicry or copying. », expresses the analysis.

The journalist sums up the value of the series in the following sentence: “Many characteristics and miseries of Argentina are synthesized in the wandering of Evita’s body: their passions, their fanaticisms, their hatreds and their cracks.

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