Mollà’s philosophical perspective on his talents and his interest in a variety of creative outlets interested me right away. I had heard about him first after seeing his fantastic role in Blow, the feature film about the drug trade he co-starred in with Johnny Depp. Mollà pointed out to me that as an actor who spends long hours on set, one has lonely hours between takes and there is an opportunity to work on various tasks or pursue creative things. Mollà has been known to use this time to make paintings in his trailer. He also collaborates with other actors who paint and relaxes by painting pictures in his spare time. The Mollà I have seen in movies and television is an actor who plays the heavy or the bad guy most often. His characters are bad men or kingpins of organizations, leaders and controllers and he is Oscar-worthy in his portrayal of these characters. As a painter he uses bright fauvist colors and figurative elements and the heavy feeling one finds in his acting roles seems distant from the spirit of his paintings. It’s clear that Mollà is as serious about painting as he is about all of his endeavors. Mollà prefers to focus on painting when he is not making films and finds the concentration for painting much better when he is off the set. Mollà and Depp have spent time creating paintings together but it appears that Mollà is going much further with his art than just a hobby between takes. He enjoys the relaxation that painting affords and wishes that everyone could experience the healing effects of art. Mollà has also remained friends with Johnny Depp since co-starring in Depp’s films. Depp, who shares Mollà’s love of art has also been known to make paintings during the filming of movies. Depp is famous for interacting with writers like William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson. Mollà is also interested in the idea of expanding his social milieu beyond Hollywood. I had a chance to talk with Mollà about his acting, painting and plans for the future. He was in Spain during the following conversation and I was in New York.
Painting was good for my health. I recommend painting for everyone. At the beginning I would paint on canvases and all while I was shooting a movie. Johnny Depp and I would paint together in his trailer while we were on set.
Noah Becker: How long have you been painting?
Jordi Mollà: 20 Years, it started at the same time as my acting but I didn’t realize it. I did my first movie at an actor at 24 and started writing and painting all at the same time. I was doing this movie at that time in Paris and I had a lot of off time so I decided to write a book and make some paintings. I wasn’t aware that I was doing all these things; to me I was just an actor, so painting started in Paris 20 years ago and has been like a friend to me ever since.
Becker: And did you set out to become an actor or was it an accident?
Mollà: No, I studied in different places. Three years in Barcelona, England and France. I wanted to learn different ways of acting. It was something I wanted to do.
Becker: Painting was another career or an obsession for you?
Mollà: Painting was good for my health. I recommend painting for everyone. At the beginning I would paint on canvases and all while I was shooting a movie. Johnny Depp and I would paint together in his trailer while we were on set.
Becker: Do you have certain subjects you prefer?
Mollà: For me, it’s like a fashion designer making a collection. It’s like a different collection of images coming together. The bottom line is I want to be free but not totally free, there has to be boundaries.
Becker: Are you looking for freedom in acting as well?
Mollà: As we say in Spain, as an actor you are an interpreter. You have to find freedom in the way a classical musician finds freedom within a given format. You can improve on the notes of Mozart just you can improve on the performance of a set script.
Becker: Do you find a lot of painting time during a movie?
Mollà: It was during a movie set, between takes that I painted with Johnny Depp. But generally I prefer to spend more time painting when I’m not shooting a movie. You can paint between takes, use ink or work with the canvas but I find it better to paint during my time off.
Becker: Do you recall what Johnny Depp was painting when you were painting together?
Mollà: He was painting some kind of a sword. We were working together in his trailer during filming and taking turns creating different images on canvas.
Becker: Johnny Depp has interactions with artists and writers, other legendary figures outside of the film world. Do you have interactions like this with other cultural people?
Mollà: Absolutely, last week I was with a doctor, the other day I was with a priest. I was with a guy who works in the caves studying ancient paintings. No disrespect to actors but I like to spend my time with many different people from a variety of backgrounds not just other actors.
Becker: And what is coming up for you in the future are there some things we should be looking for from you?
Mollà: I’m not allowed to announce it yet but a new movie in the United States. I’m taking my time learning all the lines and script completely. I remember listening to an interview with Anthony Hopkins where he said you must learn your lines as an actor so you can say recite them in your sleep. Your knowledge of the lines must get to this kind of second nature knowing so that the performance is convincing.