A MEETING WITH ROMAN KOLINKA - CRASH Magazine
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A MEETING WITH ROMAN KOLINKA

By Armelle Leturcq

Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Garance Marillier, Kacey Mottet-Klein and Roman Kolinka form the vanguard of a portfolio dedicated to the new faces of French film, whose charismatic performances have electrified the big screen in recent years. Roman Kolinka is an inconspicuous figure in French cinema, but he has won a place in every cinephile’s heart by playing several roles in films by Mia Hansen-Løve. The director noticed him in Olivier Assayas’s Something in the Air and started collaborating with him on her film Eden, which retraces the life of her brother, the DJ Sven Løve, set to a soundtrack of French electronic music of the 1990s – from underground raves to the rise of Daft Punk. Roman Kolinka appeared next in Things to Come alongside Isabelle Huppert, before landing a lead role in Maya

Can you tell me about your background?

I got my start in a TV movie that my grandmother directed when I was eight. I appeared in two or three TV movies of hers until I was twelve. Then I went to drama school from sixteen to eighteen. I didn’t shoot much afterwards, but I don’t shoot a lot in general. I’ve acted in a total of four films.

Is it by choice?

No, I just receive so few offers that I like. 

So it’s a choice…

Yes, but I’m not getting hundreds of offers either! It’s a choice made in spite of myself. (laughs) 

How did you meet Mia Hansen-Love?

I had a small part in an Olivier Assayas film, and they work with the same casting director. At the casting for Eden, there were a lot of the same people from Olivier’s film. That’s how we ended up working together on Eden. I’ve acted in three of her films: Eden, Things to Come and Maya.

Those films gradually focused more on your character, no?

Yes, in Eden I had only a small part, while in Things to Come I had a slightly larger role, and then in Maya I played the lead role. So I have no idea what the future holds in store… There is nowhere else to go so maybe our collaboration will end there. (laughs) I get along extremely well with Mia, so it’s a lot of fun to be on set with her.

How does she direct a film? Is there a lot of improvisation?

No, not at all. Everything is written out. She writes beautifully, so there is never a problem. You have so much respect for the script right away.

I imagine there is a lot of advance preparation.

Yes, we talk a lot and then we start working soon afterwards. Mia does a lot of takes to get exactly what she wants, so to keep actors from burning out, we don’t do many rehearsals. She prefers to capture things in the moment, while we’re on set.

Was it your first time working with Isabelle Huppert on Things to Come?

Yes, but she was absolutely incredible with me. Being on set with an actress like her – especially when you haven’t acted in many films – it helps a lot. Everything she conveys is so powerful that acting becomes so much easier.

Isn’t it overwhelming?

Yes, but only for the first two hours. She doesn’t create tension around her to the point where everyone is terrorized. (laughs) She’s also very funny off set. Before you know her, you don’t expect her to be so open and hilarious.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

I have several projects in the works, including two films and a play. But nothing is signed yet…

Can you tell me about your latest film with Mia Hansen-Love?

Yes, Maya came out in December. We shot in India, which is a country I had never visited. It was already a wonderful experience for that reason. Filming abroad makes it feel like summer camp. The cast and crew spend the whole time together and it’s fun. Mia is loyal to her teams, so it was mostly people I knew from the set of Eden

The entire film was shot in India?

We did most of it in India and some in Paris. We also filmed in Jordan.

How was the film received?

It went over well with the critics. We presented it at the Toronto Film Festival.

Have you won any awards?

No. I was preselected twice for Most Promising Actor at the César Awards for Mia’s last two films, but I didn’t win either time…

Do you think awards are important?

It’s always an ego boost, but I don’t think people get into this business just for awards. But it’s always nice to receive an award and get recognition. If it can lead to new projects, it’s wonderful.

You have stayed fairly reserved. You are known in the industry, but less so by audiences.

At the same time, I don’t do films for the general public. And since I don’t live in Paris, I’m not in the film circles. But I decided to move back to Paris. It will make it easier to work and go to castings.

Can you tell me about your project on stage?

It’s scheduled for Fall 2020, and it’s by a playwright named Gabor Rassov. He’s a long-time family friend and he offered me a part in the play. It’s still a long way off, but it’s a funny play with a great story.

Interview by Armelle Leturcq.

Prada – Wool jacket, wool pants, leather shoes

Prada – Embroidered cotton shirt

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Photographer : Bertrand Jeannot
Stylist : Armelle Leturcq
Make up & Hair : Sacha Giraudeau
Stylist assistant : Pauline Grosjean

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