Cannes rising star: 'Lost in the Night' actress Ester Expósito talks about her childhood obsession with horror films

Cannes rising star: ‘Lost in the Night’ actress Ester Expósito talks about her childhood obsession with horror films

When Ester Expósito walked the red carpet at Cannes two years ago, she swore she’d be back.

“I was here for a brand, to show off some jewelry,” says the actress, who has become a fashion trendsetter and online influencer — with 28 million Instagram followers — after playing the cold and manipulative Carla Rosón Caleruega in the Netflix’s Spanish teenager dramatic hit Elite. “But when I was up there on those steps, I thought, ‘I’ll be back soon, not a brand with a movie.”

Keeping its word, Expósito returned to the Croisette this year as one of the stars of Lost in the nightthe new crime drama by Mexican director Amat Escalante, which premiered at Cannes in Un Certain Regard and was sold worldwide by The Match Factory.

Related stories

Escalante seems a far cry from the soapy prep school world of Elite. The Mexican director, a regular at Cannes, put his own stamp on extreme arthouse cinema and won the Best Director award at Cannes with the 2013 film Eli, a brutal look at drug violence that included an almost unwatchable scene in which a boy has his genitals doused in gasoline and then set on fire.

“I didn’t know Amat movies before, but after reading the script (to Lost in the night), I went to look at them”, says Expósito, “and yes, they are rough. But I really like them. You have a very personal, very sensitive vision. I knew I wanted to make this film with him.

Despite its audience, Elite image Expósito is actually a big fan of horror. Since he left the Netflix show in 2018, he has starred in Venus, a horror thriller by (registration) director Jaume Balagueró, and his next feature film will be Pedro Martín Calero’s supernatural chiller Cry.

“I love thrillers, I love horror movies since I was 8 years old. That’s when I saw 1408 with John Cusack. My parents were a little surprised. They tried to make me stop, or wait until I was older, but they couldn’t.

After EliteExpósito says she was a typewriter as the Carla-esque mean girl and was offered “a lot of roles of the same kind, a bit clichéd,” which is one of the reasons she decided to work with Escalante.

“This is the most personal film, the most independent film I’ve ever done,” she says, “it was difficult because we shot very fast and at the end I felt very tired, even emotionally, but it was also good because I learned a a lot and I think I’ve evolved, I’ve progressed as an actress. I love cinema and I want to do more”.

Walking the red carpet at Cannes this year — as an actress, not a brand ambassador — was “very magical and very emotional,” she says, “especially to be here with Amat, at this festival that has given him so much.”

But ever ambitious, Expósito already has plans to take its Cannes experience to the next level.

“In two years, who knows? Maybe I could come up with a film in competition. I know (Pedro) Almodovar, maybe I should talk to him”.