Becoming Mario
Performance and persona adaptation in Mario Casas’s career
in Performance and Spanish film
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This chapter looks at the body of work of one of Spain’s most ubiquitous young stars. Analysing Mario Casas’s on- and offscreen performances of masculinity and the role that his star persona plays in his filmography, it argues that the actor’s career has revolved around his carefully sculpted physique and behaviour—and that Casas is indicative of a new generation of young male stars in Spain. As ‘The Great Hope of Spanish Cinema’, Casas comes to represent a shift in public perceptions of manhood and is evocative of a new type of manufactured, cinematic masculinity. With ties to the work of Susan Bordo and Richard Dyer, this chapter underscores the importance of physicality to Casas’s performance of masculinity, as made evident in his iconic roles in films such as Tres metros sobre el cielo/Three Steps Above Heaven (Fernando González Molina, 2010) and Tengo ganas de ti I Want You (Fernando González Molina, 2012).

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