After success on the Moscow stage the Russian actress Yulia Yudina decided to keep on her career in movies. This young actress has already finished three universities, got her diplomas of the The Mikhail Shchepkin Higher Theatre School in Moscow and the New York Film Academy, she was in a bunch of performances and several movies in Russia which became reliable basis for a new round in career of the actress.
In an exclusive interview to CutInsight magazine Yulia Yudina told about how better to start acting career, what the main differences between Russian and American actor’s schools and also how important to try yourself in the very different positions in film industry.
What a role you had in Kirill Serebrennikov’s performance Machine Müller in Gogol center in Moscow?
About two thousand actors passed through a casting for this performance. It was very courageous actor’s experience. It was one of the biggest and most important shows in our careers. We spoke about fascism, politic games, sex, mock some of the values of others. That show is so critical, my role is so critical for society not only for our own success.
Machine Müller was born from two works by the German playwright Heiner Müller. Initially this project supposed to be staged in the Moscow Art Theatre. Later location changed to Gogol Center because of its provocativeness.
Every time playing my role I found new senses because Serebrennikov`s directing was so ingeniously. During these show I endured regeneration from a divine being who came to the world perfect, to gray civil crowd.
When I was invited to the show Kirill had already worried regarding project Platform. But, despite it, he was very attentive to me, came to me and told me: “I am very happy that now you are one of our team”. I felt his support, he stood behind the scenes and worried about me despite his situation. I infinitely admire Kirill!
Was it difficult to change Moscow theatre for movie world where you plan to act? After all, these are completely different types of acting, different ideology, different formats.
The cinema and theater are a brother and the sister beyond any doubts, however they differ from each other. For example, we actively worked with the audience as with partners in Black Russian Show, but worked as if we did it on camera, very accurate, because viewers were always at arm’s length and it was ridiculous to use grand theatre gestures. Cinema bet on close ups, an exact intention, eyes, movements which is just distinguish from theater and its scale.
What the difference between principles of teaching acting in Moscow and in New York?
Actors study and master their skills four years in Russia. Then they obtain the diploma which grants them the right to be hired to theater. In the USA actors pass auditions to identify their level and that course can last from one month to one year if we do not speak about Julliard School and Yale University. Also students can choose disciplines they want to learn. We were given scripts in class, rehearse and showcase to people from the industry. You can build relationships with your employers this way.
When I studied in NYFA we were also engaged in analysis of scenes from scripts, speech, plastic classes, but most of all to me a practical training in front of the camera on which the student right there can see his mistakes. We were taught both the tecnique and acting skills.
An actor can be called one who is often auditioning and who sign the contract. Then you can be called demanded. Otherwise, you can study decades, master new abilities, but never be on set. I think credit is very important criterion of actor’s success. It is like student`s reputation that works for ages for you.
If a young actor who wants to start your acting career, then from what better to start?
First of all calm down. You will have a desire but you shouldn`t run to actor’s classes hell-for-leather, do very expensive headshots or try to find background job. It doesn`t work. Profession needs patience. Perhaps you will see that these classes doesn`t work for you. A lot of things depend on luck. Networking is very important. For example, I wanted to enter director`s workshop in State University of Theatrical Arts but had a fortune to study in Ex-Imperial Higher State University named after first free actor Michael Shchepkin which is the oldest in Russia. I have never even had a dream to study there. I think that I passed those karmic lessons which tempered my character for future thriving career in this school rather opened doors to interesting projects than school I wanted to be in.
They say that very big competition is in higher education institutions, and then same story to be hired to the theaters. How did you achieve a statement in the most popular theaters of Moscow?
It’s true. My artistic director from the University said: “welcome to club of suicides”. I will agree because the profession will test for durability in direct and figurative meanings.
I wanted so much to work in Electrotheatre. I acted for festival short movie which made success at the Spirit of Fire Film Festival. This movie was shown at cinema club of Electrotheatre and I was written down by the main director of this theater that could not but interest me. I secretly made the way on one of rehearsals of a performance in which later I participated, and saw perfect theatre, theatre I have always dreamed. There were no vacancies, no casting, no independent productions but my wish was so strong that I was hired and I became an actress in my Electrotheatre. Moreover I played so many critical roles such as the lead role of the Dancer in Ballet “Aid” in Orphic Games. Punk-macrame, Just So, Black Swan in flagman show Blue Bird and many others.
Famous foreign actors often play baddies in high budgeted Hollywood movies whereas Americans usually play heroes. Thus an American viewer as if divides characters of the film into “us” and “them” on the subconscious level.
Once a film critic Anton Dolin said that there is no art without politics. We can see it, for example, by the Oscar Award and many other Awards all over the World. I think it is correct because politics, as well as cinematograph, attracts the world. And today Russia can be called an enemy No 1 for the USA. Our cinema theatres show Hollywood movies generally in which the Russian characters entirely baddies. There on the top politics have their own big games and ordinary people live a different friendly live. But it seems to me, it would be more fair, if the Russian spy in a feature movie Red Sparrow, for example, was played by a Russian actress, in spite of Jennifer Lawrence. Unfortunately our cinema theatres screen Hollywood movies where the Russians play bad characters. But I met many Russian actors who actively play heroes in the American movies and I was impressed by that movies.
A few words about Les where you played the lead role.
A have always wanted to play Gurmyzhskaya. I was fascinated by Les in Moscow Art Theatre by Serebrennikov. When I passed a casting, wanted to make the heroine bright, but different to classics. In my Raisa Pavlovna there is a lot of pain, had lack of love, desires to be heard. She attracts me with her imperfection, her strong character and vulnerability, she is a real one. I tried to avoid cliché as a comic character and be more recognizable to each woman. I think she loves and hates her lover Bulanov. She is hiding in business because she understands that he needs only money. We were so inspiried that we shot so many footage but the best was outdoor because the weather, wind, snow attracted the inner condition of my character.
You participated a lot in performances of artists, theatre shows, dancing projects and fashion photoshoots. How important for an actor to take part in such various projects?
It is vital for any actor because you can play a character who is able to do something that luckily you can do. Then it will be much easier to carry out a task. For this purpose it is necessary to be very flexible, opened and ready for new experience. So any actor needs to master as many various skills as possible and never stop. I studied Japanese in my school. This knowledge was so useful to me many years later when I worked on the role in A.I.A. where I needed to say several lines on Japanese. The actor is a person who always has to push his way out of the comfort zone.
«The Forest» (based on liked-name theatre play by Aleksander Ostrovsky) director Anna Chernovich
What movies you saw last year became important for you?
The Hungarian picture On Body and Soul of Ildiko Enyedi is unique because that movies about introverts are like flies in amber our days. Also terrific biographic drama I, Tonya by Craig Gillespie impressed me so much. In my opinion Margo Robbie is one of the brightest actresses nowadays. That her slight madness … Also I was subdued of the new film by Lars von Trier The House That Jack Built. It is great that big stars played in in episodes there. In general movies by this director hold a specific place in my life.
At the same time I liked the Russian film I Am Losing Weight. At first sight it seems a light comedy, but actually it full of interesting implications and fascinating psychological thread which penetrates all script. The main character passes very interesting way and as a result she understands what is true and what is false.