Thanks to Nzoog for supplying a translation of the Spanish interview with Frank Braña that appeared on locoporelcine.com…
An international star who lives in Madrid
He holds the international record of the most screen deaths
An excellent Asturian performer, from Pola de Allende, whom the University of Navarre has awarded with the Best Leading Actor for the short El Viejo y el mar (The Old Man and the Sea) by writer-director Enrique Rodríguez, which has also won the award to the best script and music score. Along with the veteran actor, Lluvia Rojo, the beautiful actress from [TV series] Cuéntame lo que pasó, received the same award to the best actress. Frank Braña has appeared in over 200 films and lives in the Parque de la Coruña in Collado Villalba, Madrid.
How does it feel to share an award from the University of Navarre with the actress Lluvia Rojo?
It’s great! Lluvia Rojo is a very talented actress, a person of great stature who speaks perfect English. Her acting art is superb and I’m convinced there was perfect chemistry between us during the making of the short El Viejo y el mar; as professionals we have helped each other a lot.
What was your first role in the cinema?
I started with King of Kings. Margarita Delgrás offered me a stuntman job because she said I looked right and was just what her father [Gonzalo Delgrás] was looking for.
Many film buffs regard you as an international star. What do you think of that?
There were very few Spanish actors at the time who could speak English, as I could, and I’ve been very lucky to work in international productions. Spanish actors rarely worked outside Spain and I was among the few who travelled abroad, and there I made over sixty films.
Which has been the most influential role in your career?
The one I liked most was the one offered me by the late José Antonio de la Loma, and that was in Golpe de mano, which Franco himself wanted to see. I later heard that the role he liked most was mine, and I got the Best Actor Award at the Actors’ Syndicate. The film ran for six months at the Palacio de la Música in the Gran Vía, with a huge billboard with my face on it. What great memories!
Are there any marks on your body of your past as a stuntman?
I bear the marks of seventeen injuries on my body from my stuntman work, and I brought all that on myself for being such a braggart! Directors would often ask me to do the falling scene myself and I’d ask for 95,000 pesetas per day’s work plus another day’s fees for each fall (and it was the same with the stuntmen who were hanging around) plus my payment for the whole film. A lot of money!
Do you keep any of the props from your western films?
I’ve still got the leftover bits of the guns, I had three revolvers at the time. I’ve also kept the knife with which I sliced off El Torete’s cock in Street Warriors. Regarding westerns, I made about 47.
Is it possible to make westerns nowadays?
I’m sure it is. Spain became known all over the world through Almería and its westerns. Almería only had the Simón hotel, which is the one I knew. Spain is very important thanks to this and to the films that were made here.
You were often cast as a Nazi because of your appearance
Yes. People would say that my pale eyes and corpulent physique made me right to play Germans. I played Germans in seven or eight films.
What do you think of the death camps, the victims of nazism and Hitler’s plans to take over the world?
The death camps are a terrible thing. There are still people who go around dress up as nazis, which is beyond me. That Hitler should have exterminated six million Jews is beyond understanding, and he himself was an Austrian Jew. For Christ’s sake! Let’s change the subject.
What do people say to you when you walk around Collado Villa?
They say, “you’re the bad guy in the movies!” But what I enjoy most is when they recognise me and stop me in the street, so I can have friendly chats with people.
What are your future film projects?
I’ve been offered a role in a four-year television series. A friend of mine has written this television series about the Jews. Early in the series I might play a Jew and later on, a Castilian.