Film

Close-Up: An Interview With Eliška Krenkova

Renowned actress Eliška Krenkova joins us on Close-Up Culture to discuss her upcoming projects.


Jan Foukal’s ‘Two Ships’ has been described as a delicate and lyrical film. What drew you to this romantic adventure?

This project was the whole package for me. The script was beautifully written and it is based on a true story.

The topic of psychosomatic diseases is really important, but it’s sadly not really discussed among people and I felt that this could be the opportunity to start the discussion. Martin Kyšpeský, the main actor, is a wonderful person who actually lived this story. I felt honoured that he wanted me to be a part of this important chapter of his life. And, of course, the director and the producers are such creative and goodhearted people, with whom you want and love to work. 

Your character is a psychologist. Can you tell us more about her and your experience playing her?

The plot is based on a true story and so is my character. The fact that she is a psychologist unable to help her own mental health and doesn’t know how to be happy in her life for a long period of time, was quite interesting for me. She gets totally lost in herself despite helping people as a psychologist. The more she tries to ground and understand herself, the more she gets lost. My experience with this type of person is that they are all totally different in every situation, which makes them unique and impressive. But you can always feel some kind of melancholy inside them. It was very challenging to present it to people. 

Eliška Krenkova in Winter Flies (2008)

How do you prepare for roles? Do you have any techniques for approaching the characters you play?

I don’t think I have any special techniques. I just have to know the script and the character very well. I need to know their motivations, their minds and I need to truly understand them. Everything else will come naturally. I need to stay calm and trust myself that the character will appear when it’s the right time. I just have to stay open. If the character requires some special skills and certain preparations it’s always a joy for me to learn something new.

For alchemist Amelia in Princess Cursed In Time (fantasy-fairytale), I had to learn how to shoot with a bow, ride a horse and also learn some new stunt performances.

Another upcoming film you star in is Olmo Omerzu’s ‘The Bird Atlas’. What can audiences expect from this story?  

I’ll try to put it in my words. From my perspective, it’s about a woman who’s approaching her sixties – disappointed and frustrated by relationships with men. She is desperately trying to catch her last chance for true romantic love. She ceases to perceive reality and rather lives in illusion which has devastating consequences. 

The film is said to hinge on persuasive character acting. What was it like working with this cast and being a part of this project?

I always love to work with Olmo Omerzu. It is always somehow challenging and very exciting. I’ve never gotten bored from working with him. Surrounded by this amazing cast, I felt like we grew up (with Olmo) and now we are shooting with real actors. It was a pleasure to watch them work. On the other hand, it felt very safe to have Olmo by my side, because of the previous films we did together. I understand his creative thinking. 

Eliška Krenkova in The Tempest © AGENTURA SCHOK, photo by Pavel Hejný

You are also playing Miranda in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. How are you finding that experience, and what do you love about the stage?

The huge stage of Shakespeare theatre company was a totally new experience. I devote myself to natural acting and I’ve been developing it for almost my entire whole career. This was probably one of the reasons I decided to try something totally different and learn a new skill. I have to say that I am really enjoying it and overall I now feel more comfortable in acting in general. The fact that I beat something I was afraid of, makes me more confident. 

You studied at the Duncan Center dance conservatory before taking on acting. When did you realise this was the profession you wanted to pursue?

The summer before my first year in conservatory I got a part in one Czech movie by accident. I quickly realised that I really enjoy acting and the whole atmosphere on set. But, at that time, I’d already been accepted to the dancing conservatory. So I stuck with it and tried to learn as much as possible and then I applied to an acting university – and I was accepted. However, a combination of dance and acting is very useful, so in the end I was very lucky. 

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I have a lot of upcoming projects. One of the most interesting films is named Unnatural (for now). The plot takes place in 1937 in Jan Antonín Bata’s period. I am playing the leading character Helena, who is a wife of the director of the new shoes factory. She was supposed to be the trophy wife and a model mother. But the dead child found in her husband’s utopia factory quickly destroyed the perfect world they were trying to build. I really look forward to working on that.

But in general, I really don’t plan too much ahead. Man proposes, God disposes. But I know for sure that I don’t want to get fed up with it all!


Title photo by Eliška Slováková

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