Interview by Jana Letonja

Spanish actor and model Pepe Barroso will be seen in the upcoming movie ‘Gran Turismo’ alongside Orlando Bloom and David Harbour set to release in theaters today (11 August). Up next, he will also be starring in the TV series ‘Those About to Die’ with Anthony Hopkins.

Pepe, tell us how you got cast on ‘Gran Turismo’, your first international film, where you star alongside Orlando Bloom. And how was it on set with such big names in the industry?

It all came very quickly. It’s exciting to see how things can change this much so fast. Just a selftape and weeks later I was travelling to Budapest to start filming. It was an incredible experience. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to learn from the other cast members. 

The film is about Jann Mardenborough, a Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won him a series of Nissan-sponsored video game competitions to become an actual professional race car driver. What can we expect to see in the film and from your character?

You will see a very competitive driver who is trying to make the jump from simulated driving to real professional racing. Someone that besides being very competitive doesn’t hesitate if he has to support other companions in demonstrating that simulator drivers can also step up. 

Before acting, you played football in Atletico de Madrid’s youth academy and went to study at UCLA where you received a football scholarship. What makes you love football so much? And what made you stop playing it?

Football opened many opportunities in my life. It made me meet many different people and put me in situations that made me have my feet on the ground. It taught me that to make the difference there has to be big sacrifices to be made and that effort is not negotiable. Being constant, team work, being hard headed are the values it represented and they always meant a lot to me. Besides obviously being a crazy fan of Atletico since I was born, it’s a club that has been very important to my family for a very long time. There is a sense of legacy behind. We live it differently, it’s part of us. 

How did acting become a part of your life? What made you passionate about it?

Acting became a part of my life as soon as I quit playing for UCLA and decided to take a different path. I’ve always been a very active person. Developing businesses was a good option to do while I was finishing my studies, so I decided to take a course that would complement this and help me express myself better in public, etc. For one reason or another, I ended up at Lee Strasberg and started discovering acting. After I finished, I was sure I wanted to dedicate myself to it. 

What are your ultimate career goals? Do you want to expand your resume also to producing one day?

Yes, definitely. I want to do everything. Telling stories that have the chance to stay forever and have your next generations watch in the future and hopefully enjoy is a privilege. 

In between football and acting, you were also a model. How would you describe your relationship with fashion? What does fashion represent to you?

Fashion really showed me the impact it has in society nowadays, how everything is part of a trend that is in constant change. I’ve always been more attracted to the things that still remain after all these trends and movements. I also feel very grateful to the industry as it provided me with some economic freedom and allowed me to travel and meet very interesting people from all over the world. 

You also launched your own sustainable clothing brand for social causes. Why was it important that your brand is sustainable? Why is sustainability so important in all aspects of our lives nowadays?

I’ve grown a big part of my life surrounded by nature. I really value and feel in constant debt with it. I always try to implement a positive impact in any project I get involved in or develop. I believe nowadays sustainability really is a necessity that we should reinforce urgently in the upcoming generations. 

You are a fan of historical novels and movies. What kind of stories excite you the most? Is there any specific type of characters that you wish to portray as an actor?

I absolutely love historical pieces and imagining myself living in different times and places. Any self-made, physical, motivational story in a difficult time in history interests me. 

What are some of your other biggest passions and hobbies?

Spending time with my family and my friends, who I was very lucky to grow up with. Also being in nature, practicing sports, reading and going to the movies. 

Pepe, what can you share with us about your upcoming series ‘Those About to Die’, where you’ll star with Anthony Hopkins himself?

It’s just unbelievable. It’s one of those combinations I referred to earlier. Really exciting and diverse story lines, in one of the most difficult and darkest times in history, loads of action and power shifting, being directed by Roland Emmerich, the cast and production, and of course, Sir Anthony Hopkins. It really can’t get any better.

Photographer: Sera Zelva @sera_zelva 
Photography assistant: Paulo Herrera @pauloherrera.foto
Stylist: Tam Vekic x Room Service 039 @tamvekic @roomservice039
Styling assistant: Victoria Prada @victoria_prada
Hair: Manuel Repila @manuel.repila
MUA: Kike Crespo @kikesuperstyle
Location: Only You Hotel @onlyyouboutiquehotel
Interview: Jana Letonja