In the first half of February of the current year, the TV channel «STB» will premiere the 16-episode thrilling melodrama «Overcoming». The director of the film was Yuri Osipov. One of the male leads in it was played by the well-known actor of theater and cinema Kirill Kuznetsov.
Our journalists were able to meet with him during the filming of the series and talk about his profession and role in the new project.
The details are further in the article.
– Kirill, tell, how did the project «Overcoming» appear in your filmography?
– It all happened in a very conventional way. I learned about the project from my agent, who informed me that a casting director Ira Nenakhova was offering me an audition for the role of Gleb in the series. I received the script for review, read it and realized that it is indeed interesting (in particular, the character itself). After that, went for the audition and soon learned that I had been approved.
– There are several key male characters in the script: your hero and Artyom, played by Alexander Konstantinov. You only auditioned for Gleb’s part?
– Artyom should be a little older according to the script, so I was originally offered to play Gleb.
– What is the first thing you pay attention to when you get acquainted with the script, and what is the crucial factor in a decision to take up the work on the proposed script or not?
– I often laugh such questions off, and say that actors, first of all, look at the number of shifts they have to work (Laughs, – Ed.). There is some truth to this joke, but that is certainly not the point.
First of all, I’m always interested in knowing what kind of person I’m being offered to play, what can I contribute to this job, and whether there will be something new about it for me as an actor. I also pay attention to key scenes involving my character, ways to give them more volume and interest. After all, there are some minor filler episodes in the series and it is important that your character is not just some function of the picture. I always want to build a person out of him who will catch the interest of the audience, whom they empathize with, love or hate.
– What was new for you as an actor in the work on the character of «Overcoming»?
– My character’s line has some pretty ambiguous points. Throughout the whole story, it’s hard to tell if he’s a positive hero or a negative one. And that was the most interesting part of the job. Because you had to think about how to play it in order to meet all the fine edges of the story, to keep his certain degree of mystery and to convey it all to the audience.
– You mentioned the importance of the process of creating a character with his personality and life attitude… In this case, is the actor like clay in the hands of the director, from which he makes this hero or is he a «co-artist» of the image?
– The actor certainly is clay. The sculptor is the director. But I would make a slightly different analogy (a more precise one, in my opinion): the actor is a paint. And the wider his palette (which he can provide as options for acting), the more choice the director has as to how to paint a particular picture.
– How was it like to work with Yuri Osipov – the director of «Overcoming»?
– Great. It was our second project together, and during filming we became, you could say, good buddies. Besides, I got to know the whole film crew before, so it always felt more like visiting friends than going to work. We had a wonderful atmosphere on the set, and I am very thankful to the fate for being so lucky to work with such people.
I would even like to say that Kyivtelefilm for me is a kind of alma mater. The first most successful project in my acting career was filmed by this very film company, after which we also collaborated several times. That’s why working here is always a nice bonus.
– What is this iconic project you mentioned?
– The movie «I will give you the dawn». We shot in it together with Alena Kolomina, Anatoly Kotenev, Alena Khmelnytska and the others. It turned out to be a really good show. So much so that even now, three years after its premiere, every long weekend it is shown on TV. This is a landmark for me, and I am very proud of this work. I have very warm memories of this project.
– If I understand correctly – you watch the pictures in which you shoot and subsequently evaluate your acting work?
– Yes, of course. I always review everything, without exception. Then I mark for myself where I have succeeded and where – failed. What were the gaps in the character’s line, where did I not try hard enough, where, on the contrary, went too over the top, etc. And this, by the way, is one of the most fascinating processes besides shooting itself.
– I am asking about this because sometimes your colleagues say that they have stopped doing so at some stage. Although I always thought it rather was an opportunity to look at yourself from the outside, to draw some conclusions and perhaps to avoid some mistakes in the future…
– That’s what it is. And I’m also genuinely convinced that as soon as an actor starts praising himself somehow and thinking that he can do anything, he needs to quit his profession and start doing something else. Because it’s a very dangerous feeling and a great delusion.
I’m not trying to lecture anyone now, I’m just speaking for myself – for me personally, this process is extremely interesting. In my opinion, in this way you continue to learn… It’s an investment in the future of sorts.
– Today, considering the presence of quite a professional experience, is every new project for you a routine or still a new challenge?
– I’ll lie you if I say that it’s never a routine or a job. We actors are just as human as everyone else and just as passionate. So, of course, there are times when it comes to gloom and fatigue – we are not saints, after all. We too have a personal life and a host of other possible distractions. But at times like this, the key is to catch yourself in the thought, the emotion and the energy, and get yourself out of there. To say to yourself: «No, why don’t you play the scene with your visor raised and your eyes on fire». Even if you think you’ve played it a million times and you understand it all. In my opinion, this is the right way. We still have a big responsibility – to create another world. And why would you make it a poor one?..
– What, in your opinion, is the measure of an artist’s success: the total number of projects, the number of landmark pictures in the filmography or some other indicators?
– Today, probably the number of projects and their success. But I would like it to be different. That success depends not on the quantity, but on the quality of these pictures, the artist’s approach to work and, I would even say, on his human qualities.
I look back, remembering the legendary Soviet actors (dozens of them can be recalled) and realize that, in addition to their talent and acting skills, each of them, above all, was a man with a capital M. And I would really like that to matter in our time, too. To ensure that popularity is not defined by how flamboyant and scandalous the artist is, so that the saying that black PR is the best PR is not confirmed time and time again, but is a derivative of the artist’s work quality. For the person to be important, and not the wrapper.
Actors are moralists in a sense. We take it upon ourselves to tell the audience about other people and their lives. But if we do not grow as individuals ourselves, then perhaps we should not have such rights. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a theater where we use classical language to talk about eternal themes, or melodramas. The only important thing is to have some sense in it all. So we can answer the question – for what reason?..
– The mention of classics reminded me of one very interesting thought of your colleague – actor Evgeny Mironov. Not so long ago in his own page on one of the social networks (on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birthday of F.M. Dostoyevsky) he wrote about his work on the image of the writer himself, whom he embodied in the series «Dostoevsky», and also – Prince Myshkin, whose role he played in the picture «The Idiot». In particular, he noted that these works changed him not only as an actor, but also as a person. How relatable is this for you? Do you borrow anything from your characters, change after working on them, or do you have a clear distinction between work and private life?
– I completely agree with Evgeny Mironov. In my opinion, an artist (if he is honest about his business) cannot but absorb the material he is working on in himself. When you read Dostoyevsky’s works, you can’t but change. Moreover, I want to believe that it makes you better, smarter, wiser.
Besides, when working on a character, you, as they say, reproduce the life of the human spirit in form of artistic expression. And it still affects you in some way. Except for maybe the negative characters. Because in this case, you’re starting to work towards the resistance…
– Although, as they say, there’s no such thing as completely bad people…
– Yes, in the history of every man who has slipped in his life, one can find either the crossroads where he turned the wrong way or the circumstances that led him to act like he did. And, by the way, the phrase: «I would never do this» is as false as it can be. None of us know which way we’d go if we were in the same circumstances as this man, in his company, at his age, and with his life experience…
– Speaking of negative characters, I would like to ask you about a role you would never have agreed to play, even if it was a very promising project led by a credible director. Does one exist, or do you not set any professional confines for yourself?
– I probably have no boundaries concerning the creativity and art. The only thing I can say is that I am not a fan of «grisliness» and attempts to achieve some extreme degree of naturalization of certain scenes in cinema just for the sake of spectacle… I’m against that approach. Yes, I also want to surprise the public, but what matters to me above all is reason: for what purpose is it being done?..
Many actors are asked very provocative questions about whether they would play pedophiles or homosexuals. And in this case, I always want to say that movies are made, first of all, about a person: about their pain, their path. Not to excuse them, but to understand them. To show their spirit and how they have become what they are today. So I don’t have any «brakes» in that sense, I guess. But, again, it’s going to depend on the director, the script, the task at hand, etc. I have to be clear about what this is all about. I’ll repeat – for what reason?..
– In continuation of your comment about attempts to naturalize scenes in cinema, I would like to add that indeed, everything can be shown very subtly. In fact, it always looks so much more interesting…
– Absolutely right. I’ll say even more – that’s what our job, and especially the director’s job, is about. We get paid for it. There are lots of patterns and directorial techniques, which do not need to go into the naturalization of some scenes, and on the contrary, can show them in a beautiful, subtle, meaningful way. There are no boundaries beside your imagination and talent…
We will remind you that the production of the series by Kyivtelefilm Film Company is carried out on the order of TV channel «STB». The filming took place during Autumn 2021 in Kyiv and Kyiv region.
Read more about the script and the acting ensemble in the article:
Script author: Nina Abrikosova
Stage Director: Yuri Osipov
Director of photography: Andrey Shkir
Production designer: Vitaliy Shamatienko
Costume designer: Anna Krupnitskaya
Makeup artist: Alena Dubina
Line Producer: Artem Suliga
Executive Producer: Pavel Karvan
Producers of TV channel «STB»: Lyudmila Semchuk, Ekaterina Shemelyuk
General producer: Valentin Opalev