11-04-2012

FNE at Istanbul FF 2012: Q &A with Polish actor Robert Wieckiewicz

By Ceyda Asar

{mosimage}ISTANBUL: Polish actor Robert Wieckiewicz is in Istanbul to present new film Courage which is currently enjoying international festival success.

Q:In Courage, you had to act a man who was in essence a coward, and in In Darkness, your character is quite courageous in contrast. Their inner conflicts are so powerful. But how was the transition from to the other considering the small time between the two shoots?

A: That's my job and I find it more interesting to play various characters. I like to change, that's why I am an actor. I am known in Poland for playing "though" guys. The director of Courage surprised me because he could be able to find something "gentle" in me. Something defensive.

He said to me that he always knew that it was pretending, but deep inside, in my soul, there was something gentle. Both of the films were in the same year, it was 2010. There was a two-three months break. I just like playing interesting characters. Yes of course even comedy but not stupid.

Q: Both you and Gabriela Muskala who plays your wife in Courage tend to tell a lot with only by your eyes. How could you achieve these strong "looks"?

A: I don't know, it just comes out. One of my most favorite sentences about acting and actors is the sentence from Nicole Chiaramonte: She said something like that: "An actor becoming for a small period of time, another person, still remaining the same person" It is a paradox, it is a mystery. I don't know how to explain it. It's me but at the same time it is not me. It is someone inside me. Sometimes you are able to find in your thoughts in your mind situations of behaving like you never imagined that they are inside. When you are shouting at somebody, is that you? Of course it is you, but it is not you. Something from you is shouting. Then you realize that "Oh my god, what am I doing?" But you have to put it out from your mind. You have to cover it with your technique. So you have to feel how this character moves. The timing of this character and then what he would do, what he would say in that situation.

Q: Both flawless, you worked with two directors with a very short time in between. How was it working with these two amazing directors, Greg Zglinski and Agnieszka Holland, and how did this affect your acting?

A: Working with a director must be like a partnership, it is not like he orders me what I should do and I do it. No, no, no! It is always changing emotions, changing emotions. On this level they were the same. Holland of course, she has a bigger experience, older than Zglinski. She let actors have a lot of space. She lets actors put something new, a sentence, a reaction to the scene.

During In Darkness there were a lot of problems, technical problems, lighting problems. Holland wanted complete darkness. She always was saying to the director of photography "darker, darker, darker." She didn't want to use counter light from the back, because it is fake you know, there is no source of light in the sewer. Mostly we used lighters ourselves.

When we were shooting in the real sewers, it was extremely hard. Big crew, 60 people, all the equipment. Working 14-15 hours a day. We were all very tired.

Q: And with Zglinski?

A: It was very funny because sometimes he was afraid of me. (laughing) He needed time to find a solution and to think. And I was saying "Come on Greg, come on, tell me," and he was saying "Give me two minutes." I had to learn how to let him think, give him time and after 2-3 minutes he was able to come to me and say "Ok, Robert, now listen to me..." In both cases we were talking in the same levels and there was a chemistry between us. But there are a lot of similarities between them. They are both very intelligent and intelligence is very important. They know exactly what they want to do.

Q: In Darkness is very powerful with its script as well. What does it take for a script to be able to seduce you?

A: The script must seduce me like a beautiful women, it has to be intelligent. Without it I am not interested in it. Sometimes when I feel that the story could develop and I can add something to the story, to put it in a higher level, I accept it. Because it is a challenge. Harder means better.

Q: Have you taken interest in Turkish cinema lately?

A: Once Upon a time In Anatolia. Perfect! I liked it. He is living in Berlin but Fatih Akın, he is one of my favorite directors.

Q: Can you walk freely on the streets in Poland?

A: No, many people stop me on the streets for autographs or photographs. Even here, if a Pole encounters me, he would stop me. It is quite pleasing to be able to walk freely in İstanbul.

The script must seduce me like a beautiful women, it has to be intelligent. Without it I am not interested in it. Sometimes when I feel that the story could develop and I can add something to the story, to put it in a higher level, I accept it. Because it is a challenge. Harder means better.

This interview is republished in FNE courtesy of Istanbul Film Festival: Festival Daily