Andrew is lying

Everyone wants to have him. He plays in Niewolski’s “Palimpset”, Koterski’s “Wszyscy jesteśmy Chrystusami”, Adamek’s “[email protected]ść w sieci”, Schlöndorff’s “Forgotten Heroine”, Wajda took him for “Post Mortem. A Katyn Story,” and Borcuch is writing the film “Melancholia” with him.

Andrew is lying

And Chyra is lying around. Or bumming around pubs. Or flying overseas somewhere. Maybe he’s looking for something? Maybe he’s lost something? Maybe his girlfriend left him? What’s Chyra’s problem? He’s a pain in the ass, Michael Cobra Kowalski.

You said you do a lot, you can lose a lot. You’re doing a lot right now. Something’s slipping away?

I lose something from my life, maybe too much, although I don’t always realize what. I’m certainly exhausting my layers of emotionality and the freshness of my imagination. Unfortunately, an actor has to produce artificial emotions and lie, a mask is created for him. I think that phases of complete withdrawal from the profession are useful for an actor. Maybe there will come a time when I will say to myself: okay, that’s enough, now I’m going to take pictures or conduct interviews. But probably not yet.

Or maybe the busier your schedule, the more free time you have?

It’s a matter of individual characteristics. Someone is so constructed that in the midst of a rush they can use their free time extremely effectively, while others have the opposite. There are periods of intense activity, using every moment, but then somewhere this ability is exhausted. I remember my own period of boredom and sloth for a few years. I sometimes miss it and think that it was not unproductive for me.

Tadeusz Łomnicki, when the Stary Theatre in Kraków was in its heyday, told the following anecdote: “Do you know why they are so good in this Kraków? Out of boredom!”. Sometimes it’s good to quit running for your life. If we happen to have time leaner in activities and attractions, it doesn’t mean it’s time lost, because after all, we don’t know what’s good for us and what works for us.

There is talk that there will be a play based on a gay novel by a young writer. Would you mind playing a gay man?

You can play a king, a queen, what more able people can play a chair. It’s the issue, the situation, the conflict that determines whether we are able to play something or not. I played a gay man at the Presentation Theatre over ten years ago, in “The Discreet Charm of the Fauns,” and nine of my colleagues played with me. We had a great time.

Do you sometimes forget to take off your theatrical mask, do you live your role during the break, after the rehearsal?

It is less common to take off the mask, more common to have some emotions and focus on something that you carry in your head. Our mind functions in such a way that you can ask yourself a question and forget about it for a while, and the answer quite unexpectedly appears by itself. So that kind of torment of being stuck in something doesn’t always necessarily have an effect.

Was it hard to return to normalcy after playing an alcoholic in “We Are All Christs”?

I have my experiences and problems, like everyone else. Participating in a movie like this is expensive in a hard to pin down way. I felt something like that while watching the film at the premiere. Those emotions from the period of shooting came back to me involuntarily and after some time I felt how strong they were and how deeply they are still in me. Actually, this work was therapy for me. Just like the meeting with Marek Koterski, an extraordinary man and director.

His films stem from deep experience and self-knowledge. This is unique in our filmmaking because many filmmakers touch on subjects they know only vaguely and are therefore unable to create a complex, rich in meaning and ambiguous picture. Of course imagination is the most important engine of creativity, but if it is not strongly supported by reality, it is difficult to evoke in people the emotions we want to evoke. I saw that this film does not leave the audience indifferent, it moves something in them. And even if they don’t like it, it is still something very valuable and unique on the film market.

Did you play the drunkenness scenes sober or did you have to drink at some moments?

And this is how it looked like? Well, that’s great! The actor is such an instrument who acts consciously and uses technique. But there is something else independent from this technique. It’s something that the director reaches for, activating the actor’s sensitivity and unconscious spheres. What is important is not only the voice or knowing how to stand, but imagination and appealing to some spheres not entirely controlled by him. We all played sober.

Some say that an actor has no personality, that he is shaped only by his individual roles.

Indeed, screen personality is something different from an actor’s private personality. On the other hand, an actor without a personality is not very expressive and not very convincing. One photographs his face, expression, etc. Plus there is a script designed for a particular character. And on top of all this there is the actor’s private personality. The effect is a mixture of all these things, in addition, unpredictable.

However, if the actor doesn’t have a personality, he is missing one important element. Although this personality – not necessarily intelligence or exceptional sensitivity – is the element which complements the other parts, that is, most simply, the vision and what is the dramatic material. Nowadays, actors who, as it were, do not create, and yet give a powerful portion of energy, are in demand. And this is based on charisma. She may be bland in life, but she works hard on screen. It is very important nowadays, people without this element have it much harder.

You start rehearsals for the play “Don Giovanni” by Mozart, directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna.

Don Giovanni is a myth. It is told differently by Mozart and by Molière. This version will be a resultant enriched with our understanding of who this character is and what kind of story it tells. There is definitely some rebellion in him. There is also hunger. He is someone who strives for something very strongly. But I would rather not say what it is, because many things may appear. I like it when art works for itself and does not require any commentary. I don’t like to talk about my roles and analyze them in public.

People complain that Polish cinema speaks little about love. Soon we will see you in the film “Solitude in the Net”, in which love is the main theme.

I hope that this film will tell about this feeling of love – will be able to name it somehow. Without shame or naivety. And it is a pity that for our cinema and literature this is a marginal topic, because it is one of the most important in life and culture. Just as Poles have problems with being different, they also have problems with expressing love. It is most often trivialized and reduced to the level of a topic that does not go down our throats. We are screwed by history and we prove ourselves in tragic situations. This state has been determined by our history. It is high time to break it.

Why do people look for love on the internet?

Out of need and desire. Internet is a tool that allows for some experiences and feelings. Although without a physical meeting, people communicate with words, concepts. However, this is not enough for them. The web is an expression of this desire and need that we are unable to fulfill. Our spiritual world, not to be confused with religious activity, is getting poorer. It’s getting harder and harder for us in this pragmatic world to allow ourselves to have authentic contact with people. I think that this disease of soullessness makes people resort to various other ways to experience something, to establish contact.

Are Poles afraid of feelings, of being exposed?

This complex was created by our upbringing under the pressure of the state, provincial complex, accustomed to a certain opportunism, to something that now resurfaces and surprises us in the issue of this supposedly new IV Polish Republic. There is hypocrisy, which unfortunately deepens, and fear of change. As if it threatened our sovereignty, which proves the complex and lack of self-confidence. And here there is a problem with the reception of complex art, especially that of the higher class, which is strange because only a dozen or so years ago editions of “Ulysses”, “In Search of Lost Time”, “Doctor Faustus” suddenly appeared on our market and disappeared instantly. Books that were complicated, intellectually complex, full of subtleties. Those times of making everyone equal caused people to have a reflex to reach for something more complex. It was the healthiest snobbery, an aspiration. Perhaps the times that are coming will cause the need to reach higher. Many people will turn away from politics, which is currently winning over everything. But a generation is coming that has aspirations and no superstitions. That is why I am calm, the bad times will pass,

and the heroes of today will be forgotten.

If people read more, they could look at many things differently.

The exposure to art opens up pathways in the brain and soul, whatever that means. We are reborn. But the architecture in our country, for example, is one of the most awful in Europe. This form, which surrounds us every day, degrades the already underdeveloped aesthetic sense of Poles. Art is a chance to suddenly see things differently, to see in them a chance for personal enrichment. To not turn your back on yourself, to overcome your fear of your neighbor, to reject this constant antagonizing. No one looks for social, political strength in such concepts as friendship, cooperation, and decency. This concerns us, inside Poland, but also nations and countries, even those with which we border. No one talks about such feelings towards Russians, Ukrainians or Germans, we just keep wondering if this is already a confrontation or not yet. It’s as if history determines us so much that we are unable to see that there are people living out there who are no longer choked by history, who don’t want to be constantly stuck in accounting for the sins of their ancestors. That is why I do not trust what the new authorities say about patriotism in the so-called historical policy. I may be wrong, but unfortunately this speech of aggression accompanied by the language of triumphalism – “Now we are We and everything is in our hands. We will put things in your heads. We will hold everyone accountable.” – makes it hard to trust. Now they are exhorting us to believe them, while doing things that they accused their predecessors of doing. Now the arrogance of power is no less than it once was.

In “The Forgotten Heroine” you play the most famous Pole in the world.

I played a character who is called Elektryk. But it is clearly Lech Walesa. We wondered with the director whether to use characterization at all, but this character signs the August Agreements, so it is difficult to pretend that it is someone else. The most important thing is that such a film was made and it wasn’t made by a Pole. I think it is difficult for us to distance ourselves from this event. Volker Schlöndorff with some purity allowed himself the freedom to tell the story of how a few people once caused their pure, noble intentions and courage to change the world. This is a miraculous event. Not a revolution that involved an incredible amount of casualties, that suddenly someone won and the defeated found themselves at the bottom. That’s not what it was about. It was something in the Christian spirit, although now some people try to disavow those events and the achievements of the Round Table. They forget that the world and themselves are not perfect.

You often travel overseas. Does this result in any proposals?

I go to festivals with films or theater, but I’m not planning an international career. Playing in a foreign language is an insurmountable hurdle for me. You can play at the level of the language you speak, or you can just learn the text to monkey around. But without understanding the essence and subtleties of language involved, one condemns oneself to incomplete control in what one does. I don’t want to provoke such situations. Although I like the risk. That is why I decided to play Walesa.

What did you bring from the last festival in Los Angeles?

This time I was a messenger. I brought the award for Krzysztof Krauze for the film “My Nikifor”. It was the only award at this gala.

You almost played a key role in this film. When you received the award, it must have stung your heart that it didn’t happen.

I was sorry that I didn’t play the part, but somewhere those emotions left me. The fact that this film presents itself so well, mainly at foreign festivals, of which there have already been over a hundred, is the merit of the people who made it. I might have been an unwanted element there. It is symptomatic that this film has not found much recognition in Poland. It has been virtually ignored because it does not fulfill the false postulates that are made for our cinema. That it should tell about and touch upon our reality, touch upon current issues, and be expressive, but in a one-dimensional way. This is a film that is subtle, deep, and not easy to get into. And subtlety is not our Polish trait. It applies to the reception of art, political and social life, culture in general. What is important about this film is that it also speaks of otherness, gift, and sacrifice. Poles have an ingrained fear of otherness, which can be seen, for example, in the way politicians behave. We are also on the periphery of the great flow of people in the world. Just go to Germany and there the crowd is already diverse. In terms of skin color, opinions, and clothing, trivially speaking.

Your private life consists on the one hand of a house, a woman, a collection of analog records, an epoch-making gramophone and warm jazz. On the other hand, clubbing, pubs.

It all depends on my mood and the moment. Besides, my profession requires me to be constantly attentive and up-to-date with what’s going on. I don’t go clubbing as much, but I still go to different places, because for me acting is all about modifying the language we use to communicate. To listen, to communicate and to refer to the sensibility that is there, that is valid and in which we live. It seems to me that such participation in life, walking in the streets, going to parties, listening to new music, is a normal renewal. A doctor reads professional magazines to educate himself, while I hang out in pubs, philharmonics, take the bus or ride my bike. And then there’s jazz.

Do you do anything in jazz?

I would love to. In this case I am just a consumer. I regret it, but this is not an area where I would be effective. I leave that to the professionals.

It is said that your split with Magdalena Cielecka is a form of marketing gimmick.

No, I don’t bring up this subject at all!

Because it is my business. Let others say and think what they want. I see no reason to talk about everything. As a rule, I don’t talk about my private life. I understand that for many people this is good stuff, tempting, because there is a context for conversation. If someone combines this way, that’s their business. However, I am not going to explain myself. I don’t care about dementing anything, I just don’t give a damn.

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