Alvaro Ramos is one of those rare people who can seemingly pick up just about anything and excel at it. The worldly Spanish actor speaks four languages and has worked in virtually every city between, and including, Kiev and Anchorage. Most impressively, he boasts a list of credits that includes a multitude of hit television series and movies, a bevy of theatre productions, and a film which was showered with enough awards to drown a man.
By relying on his keen wits and unrelenting drive, Ramos has earned a lofty reputation as an actor in a class of his own. But it was his upbringing that set the stage for his future in front of the camera. Ramos was born in Madrid, a city whose flourishing culture has been legendary for centuries. His mother and sister ran a nearby travelling theatre company, and together the duo both organized and performed in countless stage productions.
The years Ramos spent immersed in that world as a boy no doubt inspired him to pursue acting as a career; it also helped prepare him for the day he was cast in the lead role of a film that went on to sweep festivals the world over and serve as a defining milestone in Ramos’ career. That film was the 2006 surrealist drama “Anonymous.”
“It was the leading part so I had to deliver the best performance possible,” Ramos explained briefly. “It was a total challenge for me. I’d never played a character as intense as Fred was, [both] beautiful and hard work.”
Ramos’ character, Fred, is a writer with a looming deadline. Day after day he follows the same routine, but no matter how many hours he spends in front of his typewriter he simply can’t find the words to fill his stack of blank pages. Rather than focusing on writing, Fred’s mind is instead consumed with thoughts of Laura (Luz Altamira), the woman who lives in the apartment next door. He’s madly in love with her, but the only time he can work up the nerve to speak to her is in the stories he writes about her every night.
Terrified of missing his deadline and overwhelmed by loneliness and self-loathing, Fred cracks under the strain. He begins waking each morning to find more finished pages in his typewriter, but has no memory of writing them. With the weight of the world over his head and his sanity slipping away, Fred has to figure out what’s real, what’s just part of his dreams and what will it take to climb back out of his downward spiral.
A near-total absence of natural light throughout the film creates a dreary atmosphere which is further emphasized by the ever-present heavy and often-shifting shadows. The sounds of typewriter keys clicking and film whirring in a projector punctuate the dreamlike milieu and echo the anxiety of Fred, whose neurotic self-doubt Ramos captures brilliantly in his performance.
Perhaps the most astounding aspect of Ramos’ performance is just how much of his acting was physical, not verbal. The film’s characters speak to one another only very rarely; the rest of the time a pervasive feeling of claustrophobic isolation hangs above the already-overburdened Fred. From beginning to end, Ramos delivers a compelling rendition of a man whose mind begins to falter under the weight of it all.
The decision to cast Ramos for the part was made by the film’s director, Cristián Pozo. When Pozo first saw Ramos act in a stage production, he immediately knew beyond a doubt that he had found his leading man.
“I saw Alvaro perform… and I was totally amazed by his presence, voice and personality on the stage. He was what I was looking for for my movie,” Pozo recounted. “Alvaro Ramos is a powerful actor with an incredible stage and film presence… [and] that was reflected in the film and on the big screen. It’s clear that his fantastic performance had much to do with the great success of the film and its numerous international awards and selections in different film festivals.”
The critical response to the film was far greater than either Ramos or Pozo could have guessed. By the time the dust had settled, “Anonymous” had been screened at more than 80 film festivals worldwide. It won 20 awards from festival judges, including Best Short Film and Best Editing from the European Independent Film Festival, Best Short Film from the Anchorage International Film Festival, Best Director of a Short Film from the New York International Independent Film Festival, and Best Director from the Young Frames International Short Film Festival.
The wild success of “Anonymous” paved the way for Ramos’ next endeavors, including a myriad of prominent television roles. He’s had recurring roles on the long-running hit Spanish drama series “Centro Médico,” the young adult comedy “SMS, Sin Miedo a Soñar,” and a major role in “La Familia Mata,” a series about a modern Spanish family and the community they call home.
Ramos has also been featured in a number of biopics and historical dramas, including BBC’s “The Musketeers” and National Geographic’s “Genius.” In the latter, he plays a priest whose life intersects with that of Pablo Picasso in an incredibly intimate way. The first season of the series, which centered on Albert Einstein and starred Geoffrey Rush, was nominated for a Golden Globe and 10 Primetime Emmys. Joining the cast of the second season was an exciting prospect for Ramos.
“I was working with an international cast, beside great actors such as Antonio Banderas,” Ramos said about his experience working on the series, which was produced in part by the legendary Ron Howard.
The boy growing up in Madrid, watching his mother and sister perform on stage, would have been awe-struck at the idea of working on a production with names like Antonio Banderas and Ron Howard. But after innumerable roles and thousands of hours spent on stage and in front of the cameras, Alvaro Ramos has grown into what he was always meant to be. Both critics and audiences are rightfully enamored with the brilliant actor, his work has been lauded with praise all over the world, and he has no intention of slowing down.
Additionally, we’ve been informed that Ramos is being considered for a role on the British-American series “Snatch,” which means he’d be sharing screen time with other notable actors such as Rupert Grint from the “Harry Potter” movies and Luke Pasqualino, whom he acted alongside in “The Musketeers.” We wish him the best of luck and hope to see him on the series this year!