[Interview] Najwa Nimri for 30 COINS SEASON 2

In 30 COINS Season 2, most residents of Pedraza, a remote town in Spain plagued by inexplicable, demonic events, have lost their minds and are confined to a psychiatric hospital. Elena lies comatose in a Madrid hospital bed; Paco, shattered by remorse, tries to take care of her. As the horror intensifies around them, our group of heroes must face a mysterious new enemy (Paul Giamatti) – someone so perverse that even the devil fears him.

Ahead of the premiere of 30 COINS Season 2, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Sarah Musnicky chatted with actress Najwa Nimiri about her part in the show. During their conversation, they discussed how Haruka changed with her casting, working with director/showrunner/jack-of-all-trades Álex de la Iglesia, and building the sweet relationship we see between Haruka and Antonio onscreen.

Editor’s Note: This interview may have spoilers from 30 COINS Season 2. Proceed with caution.

Haruka is a bada**.

Najwa Nimri: You think so.

I mean, she’s a bit of a bada**.

Najwa Nimri: She’s an idiot.

Sometimes idiots make the best bada**es by accident. They’re always doing the action stuff that we would be like, Oh dear god, no.

Najwa Nimri: [laughs] She’s a paranormal influencer. What can you say with that? When Álex [de la Iglesia] described my character, I was laughing the whole day. I was like, Oh my God, she’s full of s***. In the beginning, she’s on the computer, and when she goes to investigate and go through the real [experiences], she realizes that there is a dark side, and the elites exist, and that there is a bigger power that is trying to get the world. And then, getting inside that world in between with all these real people from the town, trying to find the biggest power in the world, you can only interpret it logically because there is no other way to do it. In Álex’s head, the crazy people are the geniuses, and the normal people are the ones who are gonna save the world. We all who are in the town are kind of idiots. [laughs] 

A lot of the time we were discussing paranoia, like trying to make connections and explaining to him [my thought process], and he was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, play, play, play, play. Don’t get too caught up in the density of the real things and the real data; we are playing here that we are superheroes. Be regular. Be natural. So, go and don’t overthink.

Did you borrow inspiration from any supernatural influencers? Because she reminded me of so many of the ones we have out here.

Najwa Nimri: No, no, no, I don’t know anybody. No, no, no. The thing is that he wanted to get me for the first season. I couldn’t do it because I was doing Money Heist. I joined him in the second one, and when I joined him, he just wrote this role, Haruka, who is a 17-year-old, Japanese girl, and I was like, oh my god, I’m 50. What should I do? It doesn’t matter. You can play whatever you want. And I was like, Oh my God, this guy is so f***ing crazy. He really believed it, because he wanted to play with me and I wanted to play with him. We are from the same time, the same generation. I know his wife. We are from the Basque Country. And then the thing is she’s a thinker. She’s working on the computers and is [operating] between the dark [gothic] world and the town. So we constructed all these outfits that could help you imagine some kind of something, you know? So it was kind of difficult to construct the [character].

You have a pretty substantial stunt towards the end of the season. What can you talk to me a little bit about just the chaos of doing those action-heavy scenes?

Najwa Nimri: [Where] I really got hurt was in the beginning when I had to do the fight, and I really injured my [unintelligible]. That definitely is not my thing. And the thing is that I’m used to doing action. A little bit of a sidebar, but if I don’t do the policewoman, I do something that includes the body in a way. I used to do all my action scenes. I really love to do action. But right now, I’ve grown older, and now helping and saying, Okay, do half of the thing with somebody who can take the risk because I’ve just started to break bones. I’m getting older.

I like to joke with my friends that I’m held together with duct tape. Things pop out of place, and you’re like, oh, that actually hurts now.

Najwa Nimri: [laughs] Yeah. So, it was kind of difficult because as you see all the time [in the show], all the chapters have a lot of action. But definitely, working with him is kind of hard.

Piggying back off of that, what was the most difficult scene for you to shoot during the season?

Najwa Nimri: It was kind of difficult because we were in a construction [site]. We worked on real sets most of the time. This one that is in this big thing, the turret, it was with all the planes, the reactors, they tried for real inside that thing, but it was actually full of dust and it was pretty complicated. I completely got stuff in my eye. There was blood. We had a lot of injuries there. It was kind of difficult and going down there, we did it ourselves. And then, when they broke the window, there was another woman, but I did the first kicks. You get hurt doing that.

Najwa Nimiri as Haruka, Manuel Burque as Jonás l Manolo Pavón for HBO

Well, my concern for you was like, I accidentally pulled my shoulder before doing a similar swinging thing. So I was like, I wonder what happened there behind the scenes.

Najwa Nimri: Everybody gets hurt. The camera got hurt. Everybody gets hurt by what’s happening. [laughs]

I hope he treated you guys to drinks afterward or something.

Najwa Nimri: No, he’s a maniac. He’s like a beast, but he works with you. He puts a lot of hours inside and he’s involved. It’s not for all actors. I mean, it’s pretty hard to work with him. Your tank of energy all morning has to be like this [raises her hand above head]. And, if you are not focused on the energy at high levels, he’s gonna kick you out.

I don’t want to ever meet him and upset him by accident. He sounds scary. I’m like, Oh, dear. So, one of the most rewarding things about Haruka is the relationship she develops with Antonio during the season. As you mentioned before about how Álex says that the people who are idiots are geniuses, what was it like building that relationship between Haruka and Antonio? It ends up sweet towards the end. They’ve developed this really strong bond towards the end.

Najwa Nimri: I really admire that you say that because nobody talks about that. Then I really thought that my work wasn’t like… I’m getting right to the point because I fight really hard to make a love story with him. I am the one who takes the lectures and sees all his filmography focusing on crazy people.

The other day they were asking me like, well, how does he treat mental illness. And I say no, it’s not a mental illness at all for him. He treats the crazy people like geniuses. So we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about the opposite. So that’s why I’m talking about this all the time.

I worked hard because it wasn’t written in a really specific way that we fell in love. Antonio looks at me, like, Oh, why is this crazy girl coming here? But the thing is that I got involved in that, and I really wanted to go through this journey that made me fall in love with this guy who receives all the info without the computer she has because he’s open-minded. The people from the future are in this town and have this look [towards Antonio], this is the guy that is the real entity, the one that is going to save us. This is the channel, direct channel with the ether, with the information, with the Matrix. This is the guy. Then when I discovered that, it was like I fell in love.

It really shows through.

You can catch 30 COINS Season 2 over at MAX, with new episodes premiering on Mondays.

Sarah Musnicky
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