The Disease That Javier Botet Lives With, And How It Became His Acting Superpower

Marfan Syndrome, a genetic condition, affects the joints and connective tissues in the human body, causing them to loosen and elongate. Those with the syndrome typically have very long fingers and toes, tend to stand tall and thin, and have curved spines. It’s not a serious condition, and those who have it live ordinarily long lives. Marfan Syndrome can, however, cause complications in one’s vision thanks to a loosening of the ocular connective tissue and, at worst, it can affect the heart. 

The syndrome also leaves one astonishingly flexible, and Botet has, while decked out in monster makeup, been able to contort his body in a way most ordinary contortionists cannot. This was a talent he always possessed, one he recalled using to impress his school friends as a child to the BBC: 

“I have a disease called Marfan syndrome. It makes people skinnier, taller, and very flexible. So I was all my life very flexible, all my life doing weird tricks and things to enjoy with my friends [using] very creepy movement.”

In 2005, when Botet was 29, he landed his first film acting role, playing “humanoid creature” in Brian Yuzna’s “Beneath Still Waters,” a.k.a. “The Vampire’s Stage.” Two years later, he landed a plum role in the first of two “[REC]” movies wherein he played a Portuguese girl named Tristana who was infected with, essentially, a demon virus. While promoting the sequel “[REC]²” at a horror convention in Spain, Botet was approached by Muschietti about the possibility of appearing in a short called “Mama.” He accepted. A year after, Guillermo del Toro was to produce an English-language remake of the short, and Botet was officially on the Hollywood scene.

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