Close-up: An Interview with Nadja Bobyleva

Q: You play a lead role in Aaron B Koontz horror film Camera Obscura. How did you get involved in the project?

A: I WENT for an audition for a different film with Matthew Lessall, a great casting director. I did not get the part, but Matthew secretly pitched me to Aaron for Camera Obscura.

One day I got the script sent to me. I read it, had a skype session with Aaron and two days later I was on the plane to Louisiana, ready to shoot.

It was a lot of pressure as I have never had so little time to prepare. But it helped me get the right intensity for the character.

Q: How did you enjoy working in the horror genre compared to the dramatic work you have done?

A: I LOVED it, especially filming the bloody scenes. I love to explore extremes – the more outrageous the better. As it was the first time I had done this genre, it was a complete new challenge and a lot of fun.

Q: You were a part of Steven Spielberg’s 2015 thriller Bridge of Spies. How was that experience? Did you get to interact much with Spielberg?

A: HONESTLY, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We all grew up with his films and they influenced all of us in lots of ways, even if we were not aware of it. When I watched Jurassic Park I wanted to become an archaeologist.

For Bridge of Spies, we shot in Poland in November. It was so cold and we got to sit with Spielberg in the tent to warm up. We got to talk a lot and he took care of us as if we were his kids. Watching him direct was like watching a great conductor leading an orchestra. He is one of my favourite people.

Q: You spent time in LA doing theatre work with an experimental group. Can you tell us about this time in your life and what you learnt as an actor and a person?

A: THIS time in my life was special. Doing that kind of theatre work – which had a lot to do with clowning and Commedia dell’arte – gave me a lot of opportunity to jump into different characters and act in a way that is hardly possible in movies – which are rather realistic. That is, unless you do roles like Jim Carrey does.

I had a hard time keeping friends though. As most people move to LA to work and mingle in the industry, a majority of encounters are based on wanting to move forward and use the connections you get to find work. It is hard to find real friendships that way.

Q: I know playing different characters was part of this learning process. With the busy film and television schedule you have, how do you prepare and get into the mind-set for each character you play?

A: I HAVE a technique which is based on the teachings of Michael Tschechow – and a teacher of mine from Berlin, Sigrid Andersson. She created a strict schedule which enables me to observe a story with the facts that are presented.

I used to work with the Strasberg method, but I discovered that for me it became vague. With Sigrid’s technique I structure a story like a detective while Tschechow has little helpers that spark your imagination and help to get into a tune right away – especially if I have to redo a scene over and over again.

Q: You wrote and directed a short film called Herbstzeit some 10 years ago. Do you have any plans to work behind the camera again? If so, what kind of stories would you like to tell?

A: DEFINITELY. As a result of concentrating on my acting I stepped back from creating stories myself. But a wish to write and direct has been with me since I was little and now I am trying to get back on this path.

I made a documentary about a journey through Russia a few years ago seeking out my father whom I had never met. I am also writing scripts and have started getting back shooting short films. I think though that my tendency is more towards comedy. A mixture between fun and melancholy, I guess.

nadja bob
Nadja Bobyleva in Porn Punk Poetry

Q: I know you have a strong passion for tea and recently completed your studies to become a tea-sommelier. Do you have any tea recommendations for our readers? Do you enjoy British tea?

A: I HAVE not had the chance yet to taste much British tea as I have hardly spent much time in the country. But I discovered some tea lately which I loved. It is called Amacha. It is a Japanese herbal tea which is made from fermented flower leaves. It has a very sweet taste even though it is not sweetened. It is delicious.

Q: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about? We are excited for Ashes in the Snow.

A: I HAVE a show coming out at the beginning of next year. It is on a new internet network called Blackpills. Its title is: ‘The Show’. It is about how we are controlled by the internet and allow it to take over our lives voluntarily.

It is directed by amazing French director Jan Kounen. I think it will be quite awesome and freaky. It is worth watching.

Photo credit: Bjoern Kommerell

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