I don’t know that much about Diana Cavallioti. I remember meeting her a few years ago at Divan Film Festival and she seemed such a happy and positive human being. The first time I saw her acting was in short film “Te mai uiti si la om” where I found a great actress, whose joy of living transcends to her character in such a natural and beautiful way. Diana Cavallioti is not such a popular film actress, and I hope her role in Ana, Mon Amour will bring her into the spotlight, where she belongs.
You play in Calin Peter’s Netzer latest film – Ana, Mon Amour, where you’ve got the leading female role. From what I know, it’s your biggest role so far in a film production. How did you end up working with Netzer – was this role written for you or you had to go through the casting process?
It wasn’t written for me, I was on a long casting list and after a year filled with lots of auditions, Calin decided I’m the right one for this role.
Your character Ana is a neurotic young female, with severe panic attacks which outgrows her condition by the end of the film. Was it hard to get in her shoes and understand her?
I did a lot of meticulous research work: from books to read and movies to see, to psychotherapy classes sometimes even three times a week. I rehearsed for three months with my partner Mircea and director Calin and I think we all strived to give the best performances. It wasn’t an easy character to deal with but I’m sure there are far more challenging ones too.
What kind of actor are you? Do you have to like a character to be able to play it?
As an actor, the most important thing for me when I choose a role is to believe in the director that’s going to work on the project. I don’t judge my characters, as I don’t judge my friends – there’s a fair start point between me and all of my characters and that’s how I like to approach them. So far I wasn’t in the position to be offered a role I didn’t like and I wonder if that’s even possible.
Do Diana and Ana have anything in common?
They both want to do things better for them and they have the power to fight with the prejudice people may have.
What have you learned from your experience on the set of Ana, Mon Amour?
That my limits are much further than I imagined. I also discovered how important courage is when you really want to nail something and nonetheless that most of the time, people aren’t what they seem to be.
What kind of director is Calin Peter Netzer and how was working with him?
Calin is a perfectionist – you can see that in all of his moves. He uses everything he’s got just to make the film and its story shine. He’s fascinating because he’s that type of artist who surprises you throughout the film’s production, to the final cut of the movie, when you finally understand the motivation between each of his actions and decisions.
You became famous at 20, when you were playing the role of Irina Dragan in PRO TV’s series “One step ahead”. How has it all started and how do you feel ten years later?
So much happened in the last ten years that sometimes it’s freaking me out what may happen in the next ten. For the tv series everything started with the first basic steps: an audition and some good luck. I was a whole lot scared back then, I was still a student and TV series weren’t really a priority for me but looking back, I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience and learn what working for television means. I am definitely much more picky now but I can say TV series aren’t as bad as I used to see them ten years ago.
I know you wanted to be an actress since you were a kid and there was nothing else more interesting for you. Have you ever had a moment in your life when you thought of giving up?
Sometimes this thought pops up – every time I find it exhausting to keep fighting with the Romanian system I work in, I’m looking for a way out. I never manage to actually stick to my thought due to the lack of time, but you never know.
Are there any rules that guide you as an actress?
I trust my intuition and common sense when I chose a project and a team to work with. I believe I will never let myself down through hard times, especially because I have a tremendous respect for my profession and I take it very seriously. I was also lucky enough to work so far only with people that taught me great things.
I will definitely go to see Ana, Mon Amour as soon as possible, but I would like to know what other projects do you have in the next months?
Besides Ana, Mon Amour, I send to you all an invitation at the following plays: “Crazy out of Love” (The National Bucharest Theatre), “Twelfth Night” and “Tsar Ivan changes profession” (Metropolis Theatre), “Contracts” (Act Theatre) and “A man for Sara” (Children’s National Palace)
An actress you admire: Lea Seydoux
A film director you would like to work with: Cristian Mungiu (would like to work with him again)
A film that marked you: Scenes from a marriage, Ingmar Bergmann
Editor Dana Bunescu has been awarded the Silver Bear during 2017’s Berlinale Film Fesitval for her work on Ana, Mon Amour.
Ana, Mon Amour is now rolling in Romania’s cinemas. For more information on cinemas timetables, check Cinemagia’s official website.
Interview by Laura Mușat