Pepe Monje, Maradona’s father who is also a firefighter

For almost 40 years, Pepe Monje has been a well-known face on television, film and theater. Of that boy from Miss teacher and Hairy, in the early ’80s to this present as Diego Maradona’s father in the series Maradona, blessed dream, from Amazon Prime Video, spent almost a lifetime. But for Monje there is something intact: the careful way to the extreme in how the actor selects his characters.

“I don’t believe in the constant need to be there, it seems to me that it saturates. It saturates me and also others. In short, acting is a way that allows me to better communicate with my people,” he says. Now, in addition, stars in the play Behind that door, directed by Eduardo Lamoglia, in El Tinglado and continues to be part of the La Boca Volunteer Fire Department since 2013.

This stage of the pandemic that so destabilized the work of many artists, was a test that Monje faced with another attitude. “We actors always experience personal ‘pandemics’ because our work has many potholes, waiting times. But I like that, because it allows me to absorb experiences that, being busy all the time, I could not experience, “he says.

Pepe Monje.  &Quot;I Do Not Believe In The Constant Need To Be, It Seems To Me That It Saturates&Quot;.  Photo.  Juano Tesone.

Pepe Monje. “I do not believe in the constant need to be, it seems to me that it saturates”. Photo. Juano Tesone.

Enter other areas

-What would those experiences be, for example?

-Can be anything. I dabbled in the nautical world, in learning to temper chocolate and being a volunteer firefighter also enters there. You have to venture into other spaces to put the actor in crisis, because that is what gives you tools so that the acting work does not become automatic. All that feeds you and thus, with each job it is like starting from kilometer zero.

Pepe Monje (On The Left, Wearing Dark Glasses) Has Been Working For Almost Ten Years With The Volunteer Firefighters Of La Boca.

Pepe Monje (on the left, wearing dark glasses) has been working for almost ten years with the Volunteer Firefighters of La Boca.

-They are all very different activities.

-I realized that, unconsciously, I was looking for the four basic elements of Nature: water, fire, earth, air. They are always spaces where I can renew myself. But it can also be a getaway to the sea to simply enjoy the beauty of life. In addition, those times between one job and another help me to manage the anxiety of wanting everything now.

Monje says that he always prepares his characters by consulting a philosophy professor, Gustavo Daujotas, and the musician and DJ Bobby Flores. “I am interested in having other looks. With philosophy, Gustavo always takes me to the side of myth. Bobby looks for the musical theme that identifies a situation or a character, because I think that each one has a certain rhythm, a heart rate as a base “.

Daddy of Ten

Pepe Monje.  Actor And Firefighter, He Has Been In The Business For Several Decades.  Photo: Juano Tesone.

Pepe Monje. Actor and firefighter, he has been in the business for several decades. Photo: Juano Tesone.

-How was the experience of telling the life of a character like Maradona and, also, in the role of his father, Don Diego?

-First I had to overcome several insecurities, because I was a bit disbelieving in fiction. They called me for the casting and I was not prepared, but I went. Luckily, he still didn’t know the scale of the project. When they confirmed me, I was already enthusiastic about the work, first because there is a different timing that updates you and, also because of the possibilities that these platforms open to you.

-And there you got into Chitoro’s skin, nothing less than the father of the idol.

Pepe Monje As The Father Of The Idol, Here Played By Nicolás Goldschmidt, In &Quot;Maradona: Sueño Bendito,&Quot; Photo: Amazon Prime Video.

Pepe Monje as the father of the idol, here played by Nicolás Goldschmidt, in “Maradona: Sueño Bendito,” Photo: Amazon Prime Video.

I was touched by a character loved by the spectators, the father and mother are not judged as they are with others. When we started filming, Diego was still in this plane and since we did it chronologically, it was easier to assimilate everything and grow along with the character. It was interesting to be part of that path that was the context where a unique myth like Maradona’s was put together.

-Maybe there is not as much information about his father as about other important figures in Diego’s life. How did you work on him?

-It is true, in the collective unconscious perhaps the figure of Chitoro is not so armed, but that is why it gave me more freedom for its construction. I had to put on several kilos, make my smile smile. He is someone who is quite silent, but always present, two or three steps behind Doña Tota, the mother. At some point it reminded me of my own relationship with my dad, as telepathic, but very close.

Also in theater

-In theater you are in a play “Behind that door”, which deals with an unusual genre on stage such as the police. What caught your attention to do it?

– The police or terror are genres little frequented in the theater. But in this case I was tempted by the fact that it tackled one side more than psychological suspense. In addition, the proposal got me out of ostracism and I wanted to see what happened to my machinery after the lockdown due to the pandemic.

Pepe Monje.  In The Play &Quot;Behind That Door&Quot;, In El Tinglado.

Pepe Monje. In the play “Behind that door”, in El Tinglado.

-And how was that return?

-After the pandemic, you cannot go back, because very little was left standing. I also believe that art will serve as a parameter in the face of something as mobilizing as what we go through. The theater, with its face-to-face and intimate ceremony, is essential. There the flame of the collective is preserved. And it is repetitive because in that here and now, at some point it will reveal something to us.

-How is your job at the Fire Station?

-I am part of the Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 of La Boca, which is the oldest in the country. There no one charges, we all have other jobs and we must comply with 16 hours of service per week. It is philanthropic, it teaches you discipline, to organize and work as a team, something fundamental in any emergency because there is no room for trial or error. I’m not Pepe there, I’m José María.


Behind that door, by Rafael Calomino, directed by Eduardo Lamoglia, with Pepe Monje, Emiliano Díaz and Silvia Dietrich, performs on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. at El Tinglado, Mario Bravo 948.


Reference from clarin