Pepe Barroso Silva is ready to take the world by storm, one race at a time. The Spanish actor, model and sports enthusiast is always on the lookout for roles that inspire future generations and deepen his knowledge of history.
What started off as a promising career in the national football team effortlessly turned into an unexpected acting calling which comprises an impressive list of movies and TV series. The former face of Hollister has recently starred alongside Orlando Bloom and David Harbour in the popular film adaption of Gran Turismo — the awarded racing cars video game. Now, Barroso has a lot to fight for as he wraps up filming the upcoming epic drama set in Ancient Rome, Those About to Die, directed by Roland Emmerich.
Schön! chats with Pepe about his debut on the big screen, his endless love for football, what to expect from his role in Those About to Die and much more.
Pepe, you must be excited for all the different projects you have coming out soon! How are you feeling lately?
Very excited for what’s coming, but really trying to enjoy the moment and the last couple of days of filming Those About to Die.
You’re currently in Rome filming alongside Roland Emmerich. How is the city treating you? How are you spending time off set?
The location couldn’t be better. Absolutely in love with the history in every corner this city has. Being able to walk around when we are off set and discover more about Rome is really fascinating. Although, quite over the tourists already, only issue!
Your acting career has only just begun but you’ve already starred in an international film and various TV series. What drove you to pursue acting?
It was something I never expected, something very exotic at that moment and I loved everything about it. So I was very intrigued and eager to work and learn. It gave me a sense of freedom I had not felt before.
Before acting, football was a big part of your life. How did that passion shift to your current profession?
And it still is. My family has been deeply involved in Atletico de Madrid for generations, it is part of us. It’s sort of a way of living for us. It is one of those decisions that shape a future differently. I give my everything to anything I do but, at that particular moment in college, my teammates and I lived in a very unfair situation — it was when the conflict of the bribing of coaches happened. Our coach at that time was deeply involved, so as soon as I was aware of his mistreatment and lack of respect towards us who worked really really hard to be there, I had to stand up against that and quit. Fortunately, time puts everyone in their place, and he eventually gets caught; and when one door closes another one opens, so I have always been very grateful for the opportunities acting has offered to me.
The last time we saw you on the big screen it was for Gran Turismo, which was released early this summer. Tell us, how was that experience for you? What were some of the best moments you remember from the set?
It was very weird… going to the cinema I’ve been going to since I was practically born, with the same people, just this time was different. It was very special, but I would have personally watched it by myself. I’m very critical and demanding with myself and it’s hard not to think about things you could have done better or just differently. The best moments from the set were the ones the cast shared together. On and off set. We were always fooling around together.
What made you want to audition for a part? Were you always a fan of the video game or just a racing car enthusiast?
I wasn’t working at the time, so I guess that already was a pretty good reason. I’ve played the video game before and I’m very competitive, so any form of racing/competition attracts me. But I’m more of a classic car admirer.
As this was your first international film, what was your preparation for the role like? Did you have to learn how to drive a racing car?
For me, it was very important to be very familiar with the GT video game and its history. I obviously bought the game as soon as I got the call and I’m so competitive I was immediately hooked. I’m pretty good at karting, I have to say, I had to beat the rest of the cast members to prove it.
Let’s talk about your upcoming TV series, Those About to Die. All we know so far is that it’s a gladiator drama set in Ancient Rome. What can you tell us about your role? How did you land a part?
Well, more racing and competition might be coming! It’s about three brothers coming from Hispania to Rome, with the purpose of selling their horses and returning home, but things may change when they get there…
There’s been loads of epic sword-and-sandal dramas in the past. What makes this completely unique? And what can viewers expect to see from this new series?
The historical context accuracy is impressive, we are going to be able to see a side of Rome that we haven’t seen on any previous project and really get an idea of how life was then. And obviously: Anthony Hopkins and Roland Emmerich.
In an interview with Variety, one of the executive producers revealed that most of the cast — apart from Anthony Hopkins — is mostly made up of young, emerging actors to facilitate filming for possible new seasons. What’s your opinion on this? Do you think this approach could revamp the TV series scene?
All I can say is that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and having the chance to work with such a talented group of people and learn from them.
What are some of your dream roles that you’re hoping to get along the way? And which directors and actors would you like to collaborate with?
I love historical pieces and characters that in the end shaped history to where we are today.
Lastly, is there anything you’re looking forward to?
Short-term, a well-deserved vacation. Long term, hopefully, to still be able to work in what I’m passionate about.
photography + creative direction. Lander Ibarrexte
direction. Gorka Porres + Lander Ibarretxe
fashion. Alberto Murtra
talent. Pepe Barroso
grooming. Antonio Romero @ One-Off Artists using Mac Cosmetics + Kevin Murphy
production. Clara La Rosa
cinematography. Josu Ortega
retouch. Louie Cobo
special thanks. Mason Rose
fashion assistant. Paula Tabanera
location. Rosewood Villa Magna, Madrid
interview. Gennaro Costanzo