One day you wake up and your son is the most wanted man on the planet. A ruthless killer. A monster.
This is how “Victim Nº 8” came into being. Watching yet another daily newscast on television, like every other evening, but this one opened with a jihadist attack in Europe. Yet another attack, also like every other day.
The idea for “Victim Nº 8” sprung when watching the photograph of a suspected terrorist on TV after an attack. As we have seen so many times, and we will see so many, I fear. And it arises from asking a question: Who is behind that photo? And I am not referring to the actual star. What’s behind the people who love him? How does a friend, a girlfriend, a brother, a mother react when they see the photograph of their loved one on the news being accused of being a mass murderer?
What kind of impact does something like this have on that small group of close friends?
And how does it affect us?
We live in a society that is consuming everything at a rate of knots, the time of ‘everything now’. We consume fast food, we wear low-cost t-shirts that fray after six months, we buy mobiles that barely last a year, we watch complete series in two days … and yes, we also consume fast news. Fast tragedies
Dramas that we forget at record speed. Terrorist attacks, hate attacks, airline disasters, natural disasters that, depending on how emotionally and/or geographically close they happen to us, these affect us to a greater or lesser extent. Catastrophes that we forget a few days later. Weeks at most.
Everything happens. Everything expires. Everything is forgotten.
Tragedies expire. But not for those who are close to the victims and the executioners. People whom the tragedy will accompany their entire lives marking them for life with scars that never fade.
That’s where we wanted to focus on “Victim Nº 8”.
The series is born from a mother’s pain. A mother who, as mentioned, one day wakes up to discover that her son is the country’s most wanted man and stands accused of assassinating people after a suicide car attack.
And another mother to whom the barbarism of terror has taken away what she loved most. The mother of one of the victims.
Delving into the pain of a victim’s mother was not complicated. But the challenge was to get deep into the executioner’s mother’s pain and that of his close friends, not to mention the executioner’s pain of course. The darkest part in the equation.
People told me: “But, you’re justifying the murderers”, and my reply was: “Of course.” My duty as a screenwriter is to justify all my characters. From the etymological sense of the word: “To demonstrate that something is acceptable or appropriate.” Because those who carry out the acts of mass murder actually believe that what they do is “acceptable or adequate.” My job as a screenwriter is for all my characters to be fair to themselves. That they act thinking that what they do is “acceptable or adequate.
This was the challenge I wanted to face with Sara Antuña, David Bermejo, Esther Morales and Abraham Sastre during the writing process of “Victim Nº 8”.
It is up to the spectator to decide if we’ve pulled it off or not.