Alyssa Lozovskaya is a Russian actress and model who first broke onto the acting scene with a role in the RU TV series, Shameless.
Following our interview with director Jessica Oreck, Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Alyssa to learn more about her experience working on One Man Dies A Million Times.
Q: Your character in ‘One Man Dies A Million Times’, Alyssa, is a mix of historical, fictional and personal. How did you approach this character and understanding the different forces behind her?
A: To prepare myself, I read a lot about the scientists of Vavilov Institute. It really helped me a lot to understand my character, whose name is also Alyssa. It was Jessica’s idea to rename main characters and of course that made this story much more personal to me.
Alyssa is a strong willed person and well-educated scientist. Somewhat a role model. In the movie, she’s forced to make a choice: to save her beloved one or to stay dedicated to her profession. And it’s very hard decision to make, to be fair. And I still don’t know if there can be the right answer.
Q: The film brings the Siege of Leningrad into the future. What interested you about this story and bringing new meaning to this historical Russian event?
A: I was born and raised in Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). My grandmother survived the Siege of Leningrad when she was a little girl. She was only 4 years old, ocked in the besieged Leningrad with her family. Despite her age, she remembered everything that happened to her dear ones and world around her. I learned from her that war is always dreadful and merciless – it doesn’t matter when or where it takes place. And, with Jessica, we wanted to tell a story about the war without a particular time nor place.
Since the story is about love and sacrifice, my goal was to understand how one gets to stay human in inhuman circumstances. I tried to be true to myself and find out whether I personally was able to die for a better future. I hope after watching this movie you’ll find your answer too.
Q: What was it like working with Jessica Oreck and Sean Price Williams? How did it differ from working with Russian-speaking directors and DPs?
A: Oh, I loved working with Jessica and Sean. They really know what’s up when it comes to making movies. The whole team was highly professional so working on this movie was nothing but pure pleasure.
Also, for me, it was amazing to witness how Jessica got deeply involved in this story. As a person of completely different culture, she undertook impressive research and you can tell she has really put this story through herself and felt every aspect of it. Despite the language barrier, I understood them as if they were Russians. We were speaking a cinema language we all are fluent in.
Q: What was the most challenging and the most rewarding part of working on this project for you?
A: When you say “challenging” the first thing that comes to mind is shooting outside in early March. It was pretty rough. I survived thanks to crew members who always waited for me with a few coats and hot tea.
The most rewarding part is witnessing this movie coming out exactly how I expected — powerful and intense. This movie is one of my favourite works because I’ve been dreaming of such a great script and such an inspiring character to play for a long time.
Q: Can you tell us about your passion for acting and what led you down this career path?
A: I think being an actress has always been the only option for me. You see, people usually have one life to live. With this job I can afford quite a few.
Q: What are your plans for the future? Do you hope to work on more American films?
A: I continue working no matter what (laughs). There is a couple of projects coming out this year that I’m part of, so I hope this interview won’t be the last time you hear about me.
The previous movie I finished working on is Ron Hopper’s Misfortune, with Vinnie Jones as my partner in crime. And yes! I loved working with American production so I’m always open for new scripts in my mailbox (laughs).