"He doesn’t just say what he wants, he listens to what you think."

 

The first time you worked with Dolph Lundgren was on THE MECHANIK?
Yes it was THE MECHANIK.

How did Dolph approach you to work on COMMAND PERFORMANCE?
You know I’m usually doing all the casting at Nu Image, I’m the casting director over there, I mean aside from being an actress. So he just came and we started to work and discuss everything that we need, everything that he wants and trying to work it out. It’s always tricky, you always have to find the best character for each and every part because it’s mainly starting from the character and not from the face, it is a typecasting but also it has to be covered with good acting.

Was there any part difficult part to find?
Well, we worked a lot on Mikhail, we were wondering exactly how and what because he‘s the second lead part after Dolph. So we were working on and we were thinking exactly what to do, and he also did a casting session in London. So more or less we did parallel casting on some stuff, then Dolph saw this Bulgarian guy and he loved him and said “that’s him”. And for the first time in a film Dolph is not the tallest guy, he [Mikhail] is taller than Dolph!

Dolph wanted to do something different here, did he ask you for some advice?
Yeah we thought a lot about the characters, especially his character: how to be light how to be more internal, to go through the processes, we were discussing what’s going on. We did a lot of theater prep work on the scenes, because you know in the theater you rehearse and you go through a lot and you built a character, and bit by bit it becomes real. This is the best appearance that Dolph has on screen so far and that he’s doing a very good part and he’s completely different form everything he’s done before, he’s still the action hero but not the typical one, one with much more background and much more layers.

That must be difficult for him being the director and acting as well it can be tricky…
That’s why he’s got the whole crew to watch him, be very critical.

And the timing and schedule are tight, one the cast was there, did you help rehearse with them?
With some of them yes, when they wanted, just because you cannot ask an actor to work with unless he approaches you. You cannot say “you need to work with me”, no, the actor says “can you work with me on this?” and try to help me to think out loud what ‘s going on in the scene then you can do it, otherwise you just stay aside. And sometimes say a word here and there if you see you can help the actor on something. Usually Bulgarian actors, all of them, have the Bulgarian academy background, which is four years, theater and film at the same time, so they have quite a solid preparation on how to work on scenes on characters, on everything. Most of the Americans are few people because they don’t have enough experience they just need an eye from aside. But you know it’s experience, it’s time, it’s everything, especially about the young ones.

Young ones might work instinctively?
Oh absolutely. Everyone does, you know the first approach is the instinctive approach and then you fill it in with consistence.

How was the shoot?
It was exhausting, it’s action, it’s very physical, it needs a lot of physical work but it’s nice when you see the result it’s nice, when you have good people to work with it’s nice.

What do you think of Dolph as a director?
He’s good, he’s very thinking guy sometimes he even thinks too much and he’s very good in this, he’s very good. Also he’s interested in the people so it’s very good as director. He doesn’t just say what he wants, he listens to what you think.

Some actors said what’s great with him is that he let them come up with their own approach…
Yes, but he also manages this, he doesn’t let them do everything, unless it’s the right thing.

Sometimes directors who don’t have the acting background listens less…
You know you do when what you want be dealt with you when you’re in front of the camera, when you have the acting background.

Because you know the language of acting, especially nowadays some directors are more visual don’t necessarily know how to talk to the actors…
To lead them through the story, they have to make story alive…

Did you work with Dolph’s daughter Ida, who makes her first film?
A bit, but she’s so natural and she’s very good, she has a great future in front of her, I really believe so. Really, she’s got incredible instincts and an incredible face in the sense of expression, and not trying to make it, just comes naturally.

As if she didn’t need to do anything…
Yeah yeah, you know in film less is more.

As opposed to theater I supposed?
Hum yeah it’s almost the same but the dimensions are different.

Was the concert and music made the film more challenging?
In films many times we have different things, music dancing, everything. So it’s always a challenge, you never know how exactly it’s gonna happen, every project is a new challenge in a different way and it’s nice when you have challenges otherwise it‘s boring…

So you didn’t get bored on this one I guess!
No for sure, not time to get bored!

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