“My friend Bill Murray always tells me that my interpretation is much better dubbed into Spanish, so the actress who dubs me should be up here. María Luisa Solá has dubbed me in more than 30 films, starting with Alien. “Mary, I hope you are seeing me tonight, because I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Sigourney Weaver, the International Goya-winning actress, thanked her voice actress in Spain in this way during the awards ceremony. The gesture garnered sympathy and applause.
“I was at home, sitting, and I got up and said it can’t be, and I stared, as if dreaming, excited and surprised,” explained Solá (Barcelona, 85 years old) this Sunday to the Rac1 radio station. It is the first time, as she has stated, that an international star recognizes her work, and she has dubbed many. The Catalan did not attend the gala in Valladolid because she was invited only a day and a half in advance (probably when the organization learned of her mention in Weaver’s speech) and she did not have time to organize the trip.
Upon hearing it, many had to look on Google to find out who the American was talking about. And on Google it came up: Solá is one of the most important dubbing actresses in Spain since the late 1950s and, in addition to Weaver, she has dubbed the top staff of Hollywood female acting. She has been the voice of Susan Sarandon in 61 films, Helen Mirren in 46, Glenn Close in 41, Judi Dench in 35. She has also been the voice of Mia Farrow, Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda. It’s one of those voices that we can instantly recognize here and there when we’re zapping, that we’ve been moved by in the darkness of the cinema, or that we’ve fallen asleep to on so many Sunday afternoons: one of the typical faceless voices. of dubbing. Sometimes they recognize her voice on the street, although they can’t say exactly what it sounds like.
“I have worked a lot, that is why I have been heard so much,” Solá said in an interview with the YouTube channel The geek cave. His beginnings were on the radio, after doing a casting for Radio España, in Barcelona, when she was a student at the Institut del Teatre. Thus she entered the stage, where she learned to speak in front of a microphone, to read dramatic texts, all the rudiments of the profession. She worked making radio soap operas. She frequented poetry recitals, she liked her voice, she appreciated her, her father taught him to recite her poems. That’s how she came to dubbing.
“If you are lucky enough to dub wonderful, fantastic actors, and I have been, that makes it easier: you just have to do what they have done, although they have had more time to rehearse it. What has taken them a while, we do in one morning,” she said in an interview in Patio de Voces from Radio 5 (RTVE). Thus, she has been the voice of iconic characters, such as Sarah Connor from the saga Terminatorto Princess Leia of Star Wars or M, code name of James Bond’s boss in several of the 007 films.
Of course, that of Doña Jimena played by Sofia Loren in El Cid, the famous film starring Charlton Heston. These were her beginnings in dubbing: “When they told me I had to play Sofia Loren, I almost fell to the ground with fright,” Solá recalled. From El Cid, which she tackled when she was in her early twenties, is when she became a voice actor for the best actresses in Hollywood. She gets to dub so much and so many that she claims to know them very well. “I know how long they are going to breathe,” she said in an interview on the occasion of the Take dubbing awards.
“The role of Cruella de Vil left my throat crushed, with those screams at the dogs. But I love dubbing Glenn Close, who does the same thing to Cruella as to a mother of a family,” she recalled on Radio 5. Could it be said that she is a dubbing star? “The stars are the ones who appear on the screen,” she said.
“The voice actress has always been at the same level as her male colleagues, but we would have to go to Hollywood and say that they please put more women in the casts,” said Solá on Radio 5. The mention of Weaver put the cherry on top of a emotional speech of love for the profession, appreciation of Spanish cinema and female empowerment. The gratitude to Solá was taken for what it was: a recognition of one of the most necessary and dedicated unions in the audiovisual industry and one of the most forgotten.
Solá has on occasion had words about the lack of diction of some Spanish actors, whom the public says they do not understand. “Many good productions are made in Spain, but sometimes they put you in a bind, you wonder, ‘Am I going deaf?’, because you don’t understand what is being said,” she told the Take Awards. To get started in diction and dubbing it is necessary to read aloud a lot and with a critical spirit: it helps to record yourself and listen to yourself many times to correct yourself. Patience is essential in this profession, both to act correctly and to progress in the industry, says the Catalan. The future is uncertain, some unions of voice actors (there are nine in Spain), such as the Union of Voice Actors and Voice Talents of Madrid (AVTA), have already warned of the need to regulate artificial intelligence to protect the profession. They call, for example, for the creation of an “AI accent” that allows listeners to differentiate when they hear a synthetic voice.
Curiously, in the case of María Luisa Solá, the lineage continues, whether there is technology or not. Her son, Sergio Zamora, is also a renowned voice actor who has given voice to actors such as Colin Farrell, Joaquin Phoenix, Bradley Cooper and Matthew McConaughey.