Cumbia pop was the first television production in which I participated. I met great artists (…) it was a good first experience.
(I felt nervous) At first I didn’t see it as a big step, but as a next step. That is, what I had to do. I thought: ‘I’m going to give my all as I would in any project that comes along’. I did that and I took it very seriously. Finally, they gave me the character of Mateo.
Mario Cortijo debuted in Cumbia pop in 2017. Photo: capture América TV
You were a professional gymnast as a teenager, did you ever think about dedicating yourself to this discipline when you grew up?
He trained six hours a day at La Videna. He was prosperous to be part of the national team. When things got more serious, my mother put me in English classes and as a result, I was withdrawing little by little.
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How did you get to Back in the neighborhood?
I was on the beach with my family and they sent me to buy bread. There I met Coqui Tapia, he was director of ideas at DVAB. He told me that they were going to write to me advising me about a casting. Five minutes later they call me and tell me that the next day there is a casting in Pachacámac. I went, did the scene, and three hours later, they called me to tell me that I got the role for the character of Julio because Emilio Noguerol had resigned.
When playing the character Julio who was played by Emilio Noguerol during the first season, you had to give the character a personal touch, which was evidenced by the change in the young man’s personality, was it your decision to make that change in the actor’s personality?
Yes, it was my decision, and Coqui (Tapia) was very supportive of it. As a trained actor, I know that acting is not imitating, it is starting from the truth. So I said, ‘I’m going to create a character.’ I began to investigate the time, to see photos of my father (in those years), to see videos of how people moved, how they spoke.
After the investigation was done and I went to record, there were two groups, the majority being the one who said that Julio was not like that, that he was more childish, more clumsy. The production team told me. They all gave me directions and I didn’t know who to listen to, my work or the opinions of these people I had just met. That made me feel very confused and confused.
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It was then that Koky Tapia told me not to pay attention to them and that I concentrated on my ‘job’, because each actor has their own interpretation and self-critical construction of the character.
Do you think it was positive that you left Back in the neighborhood because that way you could perform in other roles and gain experience in other areas?
I think it is always good to see the positive that life gives you. Something that I am very grateful for has been being able to discover myself as an artist in the driving side and put my gifts (my talent, my body, my voice, my emotions) at the service and what better way than through an educational platform, as it was Mathematical World, I learn at home and how it is now Nothing stops us.
Mario Cortijo debuted as a conductor in 2020 in the educational program Mundo thematic. Photo: Mario Cortijo / Instagram
What was it like to go back to filming with your former castmates on DVAB?
It was beautiful to see them. I felt a warm welcome that translated into hugs, looks, and good energy. When I arrived, they had finished filming the penultimate episode of the series and you could see in the atmosphere that a very beautiful experience was ending.
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How was the experience of playing Julio Ganoza again in Back in the neighborhood?
Getting back into character was also very interesting. Suddenly, I had to record with two other actors who were also playing Julio. I thought, ‘This is how Tom Holland must have felt recording with Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’ … and see how different they could be from each other and still remain faithful to our proposals.
Mario Cortijo appeared on the scene with Vasco Rodríguez and Emilio Noguerol. Photo: Capture America TV
How long have you been part of Nada para nos as a driver?
From August 2020 until today, I have finished recording the show. I have never done television in any format other than fiction. It was totally different in the number of people there are, the way it is recorded, the logistics were totally different from what I was used to.
Do you dare to do the sports that are played in each episode of the sports program, do you enjoy that experience a lot and what sport do you think has cost you the most to do?
Yes, I really appreciate that experience. It is super intense having to do sports from Monday to Saturday for 3 months, also recording television, and in record time. It is learning sports, doing them and recording them simultaneously. I was able to do it thanks to the fact that I was a gymnast for a large part of my life and my body was conditioned by it.
In each broadcast of Nada nos para, Mario shows us a sport or physical discipline and tries to perform that exercise. Photo: Capture YouTube channel IPE
The ones that cost me the most were the traditional Peruvian dances and folklores, because they require a lot of coordination and enthusiasm, the costumes weigh, scratch and you have to dance for hours.
Have you ever been injured playing any of those sports?
Happily not. An injury was not contemplated in the budget of the shooting plan. So, if he injured me, I would spoil the recording plan.
There was a slogan on the part of management and production not to do anything that could put my physical integrity at risk. I felt very taken care of and I also said: ‘If I get injured it is my responsibility. I have to be very focused on doing each sport. ‘
Mario Cortijo leads the sports space Nobody stops us from Monday to Friday at 4:30 pm Photo: YouTube IPE channel capture
Do you like more to interpret in cinema or theater?
I like acting, and that would imply on any platform, even virtual theater. However, the theater has a very deep meaning that connects me with my origins, that meme connects with my vocation, with the sense of why I do this.
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Matter of three is a cinematographic work, could you explain to me what that consists of?
Clear. There was a screen at the back of the stage, on that background a series of images were projected during most of the play. Those images complemented the scenes. There were even some scenes that were broadcast at the beginning and you saw them as a movie, and then they continued in the flesh, performed by the actors on stage.
It was a mixture of symbols, like a very interesting audiovisual language game that I think was a great success on the part of the director Nella “Samoa” Álvarez. I’ve never done anything like this before. The projections were an indispensable element in the montage, if you removed any, the story was not told.
Mario Cortijo acted in the play Asunto de tres with Alejandra Chávez and Jose Miguel Chuman. Photo: Mario Cortijo / Instagram
You are nominated for the Performing Arts Awards in the category for best actor for the work Asunto de tres and the production is also nominated in the category for Best Work, how do you take that reception from the audience?
Super good. It is the second time that I have been nominated for best actor. I just think that awards never do justice to the work of artists. In any case, I appreciate the effort of wanting to give a screen to new talents, new works. The diffusion is good.
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The work Asunto de tres was directed by Nella “Samoa” Álvarez. Photo: Mario Cortijo / Instagram
Are you currently working on a film or audiovisual project?
I am waiting to record a short film for EPIC (Film School) and recently I recorded a short film called Paper Airplanes from a final year course at the UPC. I think it has been the most cinematic experience I have had due to the long hours of work.
Next year in September, I am going to have a theatrical season directed by Roberto Ángeles at the Ricardo Palma Theater with a play called Better Times. I will also have a theater workshop for teenagers in February in a face-to-face mode at the Campo Abierto Cultural Association in Miraflores produced by Recount Productions.