From seeing him as a drug trafficker so much, meeting Jordi Mollà (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 53 years old) in a borrowed apartment in Puerto Banús fires the imagination. The house, loaned by the antique dealer Rafael Reyes, has been temporarily transformed into a huge study of painting. Outside, in the heart of Marbella luxury, it’s one of those rare cloudy days on the Costa del Sol when the air is heavy. Dense, loaded with moisture. Makes any activity accompanied by sweat. Until I breathe. Or paint, as Mollà does, with a soaked shirt, collected hair, and a three-day beard. While lighting a cigarette, it seems that somewhere there must be guns, a couple of hit men and that we are going to attend a negotiation with illegal merchandise.
At the moment, what there are are palettes on the floor, brushes on the table, cans of paint everywhere. And the two people who accompany him are his agent and his nephew Néstor Mollà, 23, who is also an actor. She asks him for a glass of cool white wine to beat the heat. “Everything has a limit, but I’m not saying that I would never play a narco again,” says the actor, although his thing now is something else: “I am increasingly concerned about what I do with my time, I need to be busy. And painting is like having a friend, “he says.
The last time Jordi Mollà was seen on screen was in the second season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, series that Amazon Prime Video premiered in 2019. Since then, nothing. What have you done in this time? “Don’t ask me too much about what I do with my time because I’m scared,” he says. “My life has been based so much on creativity that now it is difficult for me to get out of there. I can’t stand still. What the hell do I do all day? ”He wonders. Despite the fact that the shootings are simmering due to the pandemic and he still cannot find projects that particularly attract him, he is not exactly still: he is finishing the edition of a book on painting, he has just shot a documentary that he intends to premiere in Art Bassel MiamiHe has a script ready, has had two exhibitions this summer and has been seen on social media playing drums. He has even written to Antonio Banderas to offer to direct the play Simon and the desert, by Luis Buñuel, at the Teatro del Soho. “But he hasn’t paid any fucking attention to me, I have to talk to him,” he says.
Mollà has spent most of his life painting. The jump to fame, on the other hand, came to him with the cinema, his passion. His nephew listens carefully when his uncle talks about his beginnings, about how he decided his future. At 14 he already knew that he wanted to dedicate himself to acting. When he told his father, a garlic seller, he gave him some advice. “He told me: you do administrative work, because you end up in Mercabarna working with me anyway. Then, if you continue with that illusion of being an actor, we will see ”, recalls Mollà.
The journey began by moving from a tiny school to sharing a classroom with almost 200 students who wanted to be accountants. His shyness led him not to go out for recess until the third grade. “I had no friends, I was a Martian in that context,” he recalls. His parents signed him up to tennis so that he could hang out with boys and girls his age: “I couldn’t relate, but suddenly I was a showman and people were looking at me. When I realized it, it disappeared. He was a curious character ”. He relates that he spent the five accounting courses copying, that nothing interested him from there. I just wanted to make movies. He signed up for a job bank and they called him for an interview at La Caixa. He went, but never went through the door, preferring to return home on time for lunch. “Turning around, not going in, changed my life,” he says.
Between sips of white wine, he says that in the beginning he was very lucky. He went to the Barcelona Theater Institute and was one of the 20 chosen out of the 1,500 who wanted to enter there. Then his representative, Katrina Bayona, selected him from among 300 actors. “I must have had something, but I was very lucky,” he says. His first steps in painting are from that time, but then he became known as an actor in films that marked the nineties as Ham Ham or Kronen stories. He worked with Mariano Barroso, Bigas Luna, Fernando Colomo, Pedro Almodóvar or Ricardo Franco. He became one of the best known and most desired faces in Spanish cinema – he has five Goya nominations – and soon made the Americas. He participated in Hollywood blockbusters –Blow, with Johnny Depp and Penelopé Cruz, Riddick, Bad Boys II, Night and day-. He went to live in Los Angeles and now resides in Miami. “Everybody speaks Spanish there. There are Cubans, Colombians, the Latino community is very strong. Everything is more relaxed, there is a beach, it has something of Andalusia, but you are in the United States. It is a particular place ”, says Mollà, who believes that his current country of residence is“ very contradictory ”. “You have an idea and everyone helps you, it is very entrepreneurial; but the people are armed. It’s weird, ”he says.
There he spent the confinement. Despite his concern to fill the time, he did not rest. He dedicated himself to painting and invited a friend from New York to his house to take “a blast of photos” for him. From there a book has emerged that could be summarized in Jordi Mollà and confinement. It has two volumes. The first with photos of the creation process and the second with the 80 works that resulted from the work in that period. Only 200 copies will be published. “If any publisher wants to get more out later, it will be seen,” he says, looking like his father. In Spain, the exhibition opened this summer Say yes to life In mallorca, where he took advantage of his visit to record a short film for two weeks with his friend the artist Domingo Zapata. Titled Two friends, a paintbrush and a paella, hopes to present it in December at the Art Bassel Miami fair. “You see. It’s just that I can’t be still, ”he insists. He sighs, takes a sip of wine and focuses his green eyes for a few moments towards infinity.
He is looking for a new project that attracts him. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a big production or something small. It must attract me. It’s like falling in love with a girl: you can have an idea but then when you meet her it comes up or not. The same thing happens with scripts. You read something and you feel it or not, ”he says. These are reasons that led him to reject fixed roles in series such as Lost or Narcos. Now, while he finds his niche, he does not refuse to do bad again: “It’s super fun, it gives more play. Even if you are not on the screen, you always are, they are waiting for you. And if you’re a handsome baddie like me, you get more girlfriends. ” For now, he has three films pending that, like almost everything in times of pandemic, are on the air. One is with Tommy Lee Jones and another with Olmo Schnabel, son of artist Julian Schnabel. The third is The Alchemist, based on the work of Paulo Coelho and promoted by Will Smith. The American actor was found a few weeks ago in the United States. “His sister asked me for a photo with her children. I didn’t ask him for one, I was stupid, ”he says. On your Instagram account there are pictures with Pharrel Williams, Alejandro Sanz, Terry Gilliam, Lenny Kravitz and John Travolta. Also next to other well-known faces who have his paintings, such as Johnny Depp, Nicky Jam or Dj Khaled. “There are more people who have bought, but they are anonymous,” says who also sold one of his works to the Thyssen family. More recent is the photo shared with Diego El Cigala, with which he painted a half picture. The work has presided over the living room of the apartment in Puerto Banús these days.
Mollà now updates his Instagram every few days, but he did not appear there for 400. “Last year, with what was happening, it was one of reflection. It was not the time to say anything, “he says. He has returned to the internet for his paintings, for showing what he does. He understands that there are those who are interested in what he does and who does not: “Today everyone is the protagonist of everything. It may be, of course, but it is a delusion that even a dog can have five million followers. A dog!”. He comments that he feels more and more watched, but not because of social networks, but because of all the consequences of the pandemic, the restrictions. That is why his script stars a soldier who is asked to watch something but does not know what and, in the end, it turns out that he is the one who is watching. He prefers not to continue there, due to the health crisis. “Talk about something else”.
The conversation turns to the two huge paintings in front of his chair in this unlikely corner of Puerto Banús. They are two vases full of flowers that he has painted on old, dark, classic still lifes. They are part of the 17 works of his new exhibition in Marbella, entitled The Flower Power In The House. The press release says that they are all based on local vegetation. “Yes that’s how it is. Andalusia is lush, I wanted to look for what is in the air here. Like those colors, the purples, that I have seen on the highway ”, points out Mollà. He says that every place he goes he paints different – be it the Venice Film Festival or Miami – and that he does so with the local public in mind. How is the one in Marbella? “Here are a very colorful, elegant, gentle, educated people with a sense of humor. A little destroyer but with class. These paintings have many things in common with Marbella, they go very well with its light ”, he emphasizes to emphasize that he does not sell his work to just anyone. “It happened to me: look, I’m not selling it to you. To sell him I have to like that person, that there is good vibes. Sometimes I even tell him: take it if you want it, steal it, I give you permission, “he says.
The heat does not stop, the wine runs out. Then Mollà talks about his great shyness, which Dalí also had. And suddenly he talks about another of his idols, Ayrton Senna, his honesty, his accident that saved lives. Then stop the interview. He gets up and says, “Up to here.” You’re right, the conversation lasted ten minutes longer than agreed. Night is approaching and he asks his companions where they will go to dinner. And in the air of the apartment in Puerto Banús, in that “very rare bubble” that is Marbella, the doubt that he voices aloud hovers overhead. “Now I paint but, if tomorrow I stop painting, what do I do?”