Daniil Strakhov at the on-line conference, November 10, 2007

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Daniil Strakhov at the on-line conference, November 10, 2007

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Question (by Natasha Suvorina): Good Evening, Daniil!
I’m looking forward for you upcoming project: "Soudebnaya Kolonka" (The Court Reports). You happened to work with not one, but numerous directors on this project, didn’t you? Did they differ in the way they worked and in their demands?

Daniil Strakhov: The power of this project is that every single director was contributing to, well, the trivial plots his own style, vision, his soul, if you wish (pardon me being too pathetic). I still didn’t have a chance to look at the complete and dubbed version, and can only evaluate the overall result judging from my feelings when at the shooting spot. However, I’m quite sure that the part directed by, say, Andrei Proshkin, will drastically differ from that mastered by Lesha Popogrebskiy.

Q (by Natasha Suvorina): Are you still taking those master classes of film directing? How do you envision yourself as a director? How do you feel about the study process now that you’re not a freshman?

Daniil: I’d like to state that the story of me-soon-to-be-the-director turned out to be a sort of unintentional provocation. I’ve dropped A. Akopov classes long ago. Last year I indeed used to take his classes as a free student and with great pleasure. Well, it’s not that I was enjoying such subjects as economics and management, but trying to skip them frequently. I realized that that was not my cup of tea, while simply stealing my time. However, when it came to basics of the film-making and editing or dramaturgy, I found those classes to be extremely useful. Two weeks ago I ran into Anton Makarsky at the shooting spot of Mika and Alfred movie. He surprised me with the “funny” fact that I was rumored to turn into the movie producing at the expense of acting. I’d like to make a statement that these are nothing but rumors. And I’m not out of my mind. The last remark was much due to not only Mosfilm, but AMEDIA spreading out such bullshit. The funniest part is that it was AMEDIA whose project (Soubnaya Kolonka) I’ve been working for during the year.

Q (by Natasha Suvorina): What’s going on with the theater project “Lubov’ pod Viazamie” (The Love under the Elms)? Are you up to go further into the TV and movies or are there still plans to return to the theater? Frankly, we badly miss you on the stage.

Daniil: I did get an offer from Valeriy Barinov, who was supposed not only star, but produce the movie. And I was happy to accept such an offer. However, because of lack of time (speaking of Valeriy Barinov in the first place) the hearings haven’t started yet. I do hope we’ll be able to match our schedules in the coming year and finish the project, I’m really interested in and, to certain extent, I feel a need for it.

Q (by Natasha Suvorina): How do you feel about dubbing Andrei Bolkonskyi in the international project “Voina I Mir” (The War and Peace)?

Daniil: It’s been the first time I was dubbing another actor and, whatsomore, the foreign one. It’s been a really interesting and exciting experience for me. During three shifts of the dubbing process I’ve been trying to live the whole role of Andrei Bolkonskiy. And, to be honest, I didn’t quite, I mean, almost never, like what I saw on the screen.

Q. (by Rinata) Dear Daniil, I am looking forward for your upcoming movie, Mika and Alfred. Speaking of which, can you describe how it was working on the same shooting spot with Michael York? Did you notice any difference between the Russian and foreign movie-making art?

Daniil: On my way to Munich, the thought of sharing the shooting spot with Michael York did bother me. However, the actors tend to get along quite well when it comes to the professional issues, and the difference in the language they speak does not matter. I found working with Michael York to be easy and funny. He’s a really intelligent, clever, and delicate person.

Q (by Rinata): What decides you on any particular role: the director, interesting plot, your partners, or else?

Daniil: I guess all the variables mentioned above contribute to the deciding factor. The movie in fact depends on a bunch of people, I mean, the final result of the movie-making process. Honestly, apart from the right director, good screenplay, and interesting partners, what may help me decide include even the make-up tests. You may intuitively feel that this particular make-up master will be able to genially create the right image, and you’d better not miss such a chance. Well, on the other hand, if the screenplay is bullshit, you’d better tell this before showing up on the shooting spot. When a good director challenges a bad screenplay, there’s a reason behind that. And if he keeps hiding such reason, there’s something wrong in here.

Q (by Sveta K): Daniil, where do you feel you belong: a theater stage or a movie shooting spot? And which process are you mostly interested in?

Daniil: I will be relentlessly repeating myself: being on stage or under the shooting spotlights is two radically different types of work, two different ways of life, after all. I’ve been working in the theater long enough to finally come to understand that I don’t belong to the Russian theater as it is. I simply can’t, when there’re too many interested parties, too many envious persons, if you want, around. And it doesn’t matter if you’re achieved a lot or not. In the theater, you may face the envy in any case, even if you’re in deep sh*t.
On the other hand, running short of good actors, the theater may eventually lose its inner self, so speaking. That’s why I feel the need for occasional come-backs. After all, all that matters is not to stuck in the swamp, exactly where the Russian professional theater is these days.

Q (by Izolenta): Daniil, here’s the question for you as the TV veteran. Why even talented and popular actors sometimes fail to save boring and foolish TV series? What’s missing in making good authentic drama series?

Daniil: The old good TV has ceased to exist once the term “a multi-episode movie” disappeared not only from use by the audience, but the movie industry itself. Imagine that, all the good multi-episode movies we love so much are now called simply the TV series! If you ask me, this is terribly wrong. While letting in the term “TV series”, the TV industry is gradually losing all sense of shame. That’s why the following statements: “Who are we to educate people, to teach them how to live their lives, to call them for something better?” along with the thesis “Let him eat and die” contributed so much to the gradual corruption of the Russian TV audience. The 90’s witnessed many talented screenwriters and directors coming undone. Today many claim to be able to make movies by merely shouting out: “Shot!” or typing “The Finale” at the end of some bullshit. Moreover, many claim to be able to make this “bullshit” as far as good money comes in. Today’s demand for actors is overwhelming and attracts thousands. The funny thing is that this bunch of fresh-coming actors manages to make it not to one, but two, three, or even four movies.

You may ask me: How can you be a part of this? And my answer is: With any role I take, I try to contribute the maximum of what I’m capable of. To jump into any coming money project will lead you nowhere but to destitution of the actor’s soul, pardon me being pathetic. As far as I remember, Bednaya Nastya (talking of which I’m honestly sick of) came up five years ago. Watching any episode of it makes you be amazed at how naïve and romantic it was. The movie-making technology, first tested on BN, was completely new back then, whereas today a lot of movie companies (including AMEDIA, LEAN-M and Sony) widely use it. Since we’re talking of my projects now, let’s look at Talisman Lubvie as the pioneer in the computer graphics technologies massively used on TV. Unfortunately, due to a lack of computer capacities, my hero could no more run on the top of the computer-generated train, but ended up in the romantic affairs with my beloved Lubov Tolkalina. However, the initial idea was rather intriguing.

Q (by Teuta): Dear Daniil, ever since watching Bednaya Nastya, I’ve been admiring you: That’s the man for the role of Stavrogin! Imagine my amusement at the fact that you’re much fond of Besy (The Devils by Dostoyevsky). That’s why it hurts so much that you didn’t get this role. You were equally hurt, I reckon? Is there any hope out there for you to finally get it, at least on the theater stage?
Please pardon my Russian. A few words I know are much due to Fyodor Dostoyevsky and yourself.

Daniil: Teuta, your Russian is amazing! Speaking to Stavrogin. I was hurt indeed to lose the role. However, all the things coming are for the best, sorry for the cliché. I take it, the roles I’ve lost were simply not meant for me. At that given moment of time, at least. Stavrogin is in no way a simple character, but dangerous, I dare add. You see, there’s a couple of roles in the worldwide theater society that actors should be aware of. Stavrogin’s is one of them. Sometimes I think heavens didn’t want me to take it. There’s this actor I know who played Stavrogin on the stage and, unfortunately, couldn’t get out.

Q (by Anita): Daniil, I’ve got three questions inspired by the show “Nochnoi Polet” starring Albert Philozov. During the show, Albert Philozov expressed his worries that the Russian psychological theater is dead. Instead, the show theater is taking over. What is your opinion? Do you really think the psychological theater has passed away, for real and for good?

Daniil: It’s really hard to answer the questions that are coming not from you, but Albert Philozov (whom I admire a lot, by the way). Amazing, but he managed to keep the purity, decency, even some kind of naivety in the profession that’s famous for producing a lot of cynics. Speaking of the so-called death of the psychological, while the reign of the show theater, I consider these issues to be rather theoretical, therefore senseless. I believe that neither exists in its pure state and never has.

Honestly, the theatrical theories are not my strongest point, and I fear to sound stupid. I’m perfectly aware that at today’s on-line conference there are a lot of well-educated persons, and I simply can’t take this subject lightly. What I really fear is the rise of the “technological” theater or the wide use of modern techniques and entourage that risk the play to turn into some spectacular show. The show full of many different accents the audience can hardly pay its attention to or think over, because more spectacular moments are pouring through. This is to blame on a new generation of young director who are capable to direct anything. Each has his/her own “style”, once found and never dared step away from. However, these fake shows bear a little sense. Well, no one searches for it, anyway. That’s what I think of the modern theater.

Q (by Anita): Addressing the question regarding the meaning of the actor profession for himself, Albert Philozov said that the actor profession was “the escape from the reality”. What about you? Well, I guess, you’re still far away from the point when your profession could help escaping the reality, but still: What does your profession mean to you right now?

Daniil: I wouldn’t say the profession of acting is my escape from anything. It’s rather a spiritual path, if you want. I view the profession of acting, more than any other, to be much like clusters of challenges and temptations the life bears. Well, it’s a hard question, and I fear to sound false.

Q (by Anita): And one more question: According to Philozov, as strange as it seems, many could master the art of the psychological theater through simple studying. A person may play his role if not genius, but at least fairly well. However, only a few are blessed with the gift of the real ACTING. Philozov said he never considered himself a real actor, but he was only studying to become. What do you think? Can a person learn to become an actor?

Daniil: I agree, even a monkey may play the drums if properly taught to. The share of good workers and talented masters in the acting profession is equal to that of the real life. I guess.

Q (by Julechka20): Daniil, do you like extreme sports? Say, would you try the parachute jump?

Daniil: I did like taking risks before. I used to ask the director not to replace me with stunt men when it comes to hazardous scenes. But now I grew clever, realizing that what ay be a simple whim for me, could’ve as well turned into the tragedy for those who care for me, who love me, after all. I do realize these are not the words of the real “macho” who should cherish his fearlessness. However, I prefer to be honest rather than fooling around my audience pretending to be someone that I’m not. Well, I can’t really control what others think of me, that’s why I don’t really believe to have persuaded someone in something anyway. I bet no later than tomorrow AMEDIA still will be reassuring others of my further producer career at the expense of acting.

Q (by Naphanya): Danya, why do you make fun of such projects as “Dancing with the Stars” or “Skating with the Stars”? I do think that “The Stars in Boxing” is too much, but when it comes to the skate rink or ball room, wouldn’t you watch your colleagues’ progress, wouldn’t you care?

Daniil: As far as I do respect all the artists, musicians, actors and others challenging the skate rink, boxing ring, or else, I can’t think of these shows as of something worth capturing attention of the whole country. I’d say that these new projects of the modern television belong to the money-earning area that completely lacks the sense of shame. I once got a call from representatives of the similar project to be shot somewhere abroad. And the answer to my question: How much will I get? was (quite surprised): Wouldn’t you stand for the honor of your country? The funniest thing was that this person was not mocking me, but was pretty sure of honesty of his words. This only proves that the dullness of the moment has reached its maximum as producers on themselves believe in the importance of the bullshit they produce. And sometimes this bullshit is indeed dangerous; as there are some artists I know who got seriously injured for the sake of “entertaining the audience” (some actress got a crack in the spine, while another actor got his nose broken). I feel somehow that actors more belong to the theater than hospital.

Q (by Marusevich): Do you really rehearse the play “Opasnye Sviazie” (The Dangerous Liaisons) in Stanislavsky theater along with Vladimir Korenev. If true, can you tell anything of these rehearsals? How do you get alone with your colleagues? When will the premier be?

Daniil: I indeed got an offer from Tatiana Akhramkova to rehearse the role of Valmont for The Dangerous Liaison. However, with just two weeks passed, I realized I couldn’t go on not because of some organizational problems, but simply due to the lack of time. I felt really sorry, because I consider Tatiana Akhramkova as one of the best directors in Moscow.

Q (by Alsu119) : Daniil, how do you feel about the character you played in Sudebnaya Kolonka? Do you like him?

Daniil: Right, let’s end our conference with my upcoming project Sudebnaya Kolonka. Honestly, since I haven’t seen all the episodes in full, it’s rather hard to evaluate my performance. All in all, apart from any interesting directors I was working with, I did enjoy my partners. My basic, main, my chief partner in the project was my “fiancée” played by Olga Pavlovets. Olga is a really sensitive and talented actress and terrific person. As St,-Petersburg actress, Olga tops all the Moscow actresses with her sincerity and clearness.
The detective Anton Nikitin is my first role as a policeman. I noticed many actors have their moments of the “cop” roles, and I proved not to be an exception. Honestly, I don’t regret it, but happy. First of all, there have to be movies that show the dark side of our cops, which is a sad reality. On the other side, there should be a room for the movies showing the best side of the cops, which is a reality also. And last, but not least, there have to be fairy tales with the good forces taking over the bad ones, which happens in reality as well.

I’m heading for dubbing of the last episodes of Sudebnaya Kolonka. As such, I would like to say good-bye to all of you. Sorry for not answering all the questions. I promise to hold another on-line conference, should it be of any demand! Bye!

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