Close-up: An Interview with Aia Kruse

Q: You star as Maria in Aitor Arregi and Jon Garano’s film Giant. Can you tell us about your character and the film?

A: THE film is about a man who was over 8 feet tall, a true giant who lived in the Basque Country during the 19th century. It looks at the sometimes complex relationship between him and his brother. The two of them travelled through Spain and Europe together for many years.

The character I play in the movie – Maria – is a young village girl, a neighbour that lives next to the two brothers. You will have to see the movie to know the rest.

Q: What was it like working with two directors? Did they have different approaches?

A: IT is so easy to work with Jon and Aitor. The two of them have different minds and thinking processes, but they respect each other. They always work as a team and above all listen, not just to one another but to the actors as well.

There were some funny moments though. Occasionally one would give you a certain direction, kind of on the sly without the other knowing because he wanted to try something different.

Invariably, whenever the day started they both knew just what they wanted from each scene and actor and created an amazing atmosphere on set. I think you can see that in the movie.

I think that if you have a project in common, and you always put the project first, two or more people directing or writing together can join to become a positive force.

Q: The film looks fantastic and has had good reviews. What drew you to the story when you read the script?

A: WHEN I went in for the casting I had not been given the entire script of course, but I knew what it was about. When I was a child my grandmother used to tell us the story of The Giant of Altzo which is what we call him in the Basque Country.

For us, there has always been a kind of mythological aura around this man and his story. He is larger than life.

I was familiar with Aitor and Jon’s work in their film Loreak which was Spain’s offering to the Oscars. So I did not need to see the script to know they were going to do a great job at recreating this deeply human and wonderful story.


Q: Giant takes place in 19th century Spain. What did you enjoy and what were the challenges of acting in a period piece?

A: THE original version of Giant was done in the Basque language. It is my native tongue so, as would be normal, I felt I was an expert in it, right?

Well, no. To my surprise Basque has changed a great deal over the years. Because of the era, the dialect and the changes that have occurred in the language, getting that right proved to be a real challenge.

I think another thing that while not challenging proved fascinating about acting in this movie was the realization that these people actually existed – that they were flesh and blood and far more than a bedtime story my grandmother used to tell us. That in its way was a humbling experience.

Q: You have upcoming roles in short films Mi Soledad and Ane. Can you tell us anything about these projects?

A: MI Soledad is a unique story about wanting to be alone when you have spent your whole life with the same partner. I have worked together with the director Ignacio Arrue and the actor and producer Kiko Rossi before and this is a role they wrote specifically for me. So I was kind of indirectly involved in the creation process.

Ane is a short film that I am working on right now with Amania Films – almost as a kind of teaser for a full length version they are planning for next year.

Q: You come from a family of actors and artists. Was it your destiny to be a performer?

A: I AM not sure destiny is the right word. When I was younger I worked in television and film and I liked that. But I had no grand plan to be an actress until at 18 I began studying Dramatic Arts.

I remember seeing my mother and cousin working so long and hard every day – it seemed so difficult. As you get older you realize that hard things, difficult things, can often be a interesting game.

Q: Do you have any creative inspirations for your work, whether it comes from art or music?

A: I HAVE always played the guitar and composed songs which I performed on stage when I was a teenager. I have not been playing for a while though.

I read constantly. I watch and study films and theatre voraciously – the internet has been so useful to actors in that way. It is the first real international public library of images.

I think as an artist you need to be curious and find things interesting all the time. You never know where the inspiration can come from.

Q: If I am right, you are bilingual. Do you have interest in doing any English-language work?

A: TRILINGUAL! Yes my father is American and I would love to work in English. Most of the castings I audition for are English-speaking series or films.

Q: What are your ambitions for the future? Is there anyone you would love to work with?

A: THE directors and crew of Giant created such a healthy and creative atmosphere on set that the whole thing became one wonderful experience.

Perhaps more than any short list of preferred directors I might dream up, I would have to say it is that world, that atmosphere, with people who love what they do and really believe in the story they want to tell, that would be my highest ambition just now. To be surrounded and inspired by that is what I think all actors hope for.

Q: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

A: WELL, apart from the short film Ane, I am working on my own theatre project. Writing has always been a strong interest for me.

I will be co-writing and co-directing it with a good friend. It is a project I have been thinking about for years and it is coming together now which is very exciting.

1 comment

Leave a Reply