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Sergei Polunin opens up about "Murder on the Orient Express", Johnny Depp and dreams of playing Spider-Man

    In the Kenneth Branagh's film "Murder on the Orient Express" one of the roles - Count Ruldoph Andrenyi - was performed by the 27-year-old dancer Sergei Polunin, former premier of the Royal Ballet in London and the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater, guest soloist of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater and the Bavarian Ballet. Polunin opens up about his debut in the feature film, dreams of playing Spiderman and popularizing the ballet.

    - Your first scene in the "Murder on the Orient Express" - is a fight scene, and very spectacular. Did you take martial arts lessons specifically for filming?

    - No, the dance helped. Not everyone knows, but in fact, Bruce Lee was a champion in ballroom dancing before he started kung fu. Therefore, if you want to study martial arts, it would be good to be able to dance. It was very easy for me: the movements were staged, and I invented a turn in miidair. The difficulty was that there was not enough space on the set - and i had to think how to miss hitting someone..

    - In this scene, by the way, you are a dancer, who is being bothered by people with cameras. If people come up to you on the streets, what do you do?

    "On the contrary, I perceive it very well, it's very pleasant." It is an exchange of good energy - when people come up to talk, take a picture. Not with a flash.

    - There is a feeling that some details of your role are written off from tabloid articles about you: a closed, gloomy hero, with hobbies on the edge.

    - I based it on myself, because I did not know any other way to create a character, except to go deeper into my relationship, my feelings. And when we built the character, Kenneth Branagh (the director of the film "Murder on the Orient Express") asked questions, and I got this character out of myself.

    - You often said in an interview that good should be as aggressive as evil. In this film, good takes revenge on evil and literally kills it. Do you represent this aggressive good?

    - Yes, and in fact, I always fight with myself, [to understand] how much it must be aggressive. Because evil - for example, terrorist attacks, war - it is so strong now that the world is in imbalance, it is more bad than good. And if the good will passively sit and smile, it will never restore balance. And I think it must be aggressive - as much as it takes to restore balance.

    - This is a question how to determine it

    - Yes, therefore, you see, in all films, superheroes never kill [the villains], but put them in jail.  

    - In the "Murder on the Orient Express" villain are killed. This, in your opinion, you can justify?

    "Still, I would not kill." I would scare him and put him in jail.

    - Did you take acting classes for a role in the film? Or only on the stage with the director?

    - Well, you either have acting [abilities] or you don't. I think this is very difficult to study. Still, it's easy to understand if there's your presence in the picture or not. I can very quickly adapt to the costume, to what's around, to the characters, so I did not have to learn acting skills. But speech is something that I still need to know. For many years I was just silent, it was difficult for me to say something. Well, you are not talking, you are dancing. They say something to you, and you reproduce it with your body. So it was difficult to start talking, to start using these muscles also.

    Dancer Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Sergei Polunin Documentary Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films

    - It seems that you are one of the most talkative and sociable dancers, and this happened before the movie.

    - A documentary film (the film "The Dancer" by Steven Cantor about Sergei Polunin came out in 2016) helped, because I needed to communicate with the public, to promote, and it started the process. When I went to America [to present the film], I had three shows every day for two weeks, and before each - or after - it was necessary to speak and answer questions. And in just three weeks I became more confident.

    - And it came in handy on the set?

    - Yes, everything comes in handy. I generally began to engage in acting before the cameras in photo shoots. I already knew that I was using it to play movies. [In photo shoots] there were times when you are given small tasks to portray emotions - sad, funny, and I used the fashion industry for practice. Then clips and some commercials. After this many years of practice, you are already understand that you can not without a camera, you are used to it.

    - By the way, you also acted in parallel in another film - "The Red Sparrow". And you also played a dancer there?

    - Yes, and not a very good person. And the agents and people I work with are not sure that this is good for my career.

    Red Sparrow | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX 20th Century Fox

    - Who would you like to play again?

    - Honestly, I would have missed something if I had not been involved in the motion in the film. That is, just playing me would not be so interesting: when there is a fight or a dance, when you use two very powerful tools, it adds something. And just [acting] - I do not know.

    - It is clear that physically ballet is a thousand times more complicated than an acting game, but what is the emotional load? What is harder?

    - Emotionally more difficult, I think, a film. In the movie, the emotional concentration must be very strong, because 12-15 hours you have to be all the time in one moment. You at this time can shoot from different angles, and you must always be in the moment. Dance is more meditation, you can get lost in it. The body itself works, the memory stays in the muscles, not in the head, and then you do not think about anything. Sometimes you can even forget the movements if you thought. [Acting and dance] - two different extreme. Now if they were combined in one, then it would be a balance suitable for me.

    - That is, maybe you are a militant hero, if you like fights so much?

    - A superhero, maybe? I like Spiderman and Batman very much.

    - What was it like to be in the same movie with Johnny Depp? You called him one of your favorite actors.

    - Yes, that's how you always put a bar and grow up, you want to be some kind of person or something like him. Johnny Depp was one of those heroes, I had posters in my room. When I met him, of course, I wanted to learn from him, I always looked at him, wanted to be there, peeped as he played his scenes.

    Murder on the Orient Express | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX 20th Century Fox -

    Such a star composition - Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer and others - helped you learn some new secrets of acting?

    - All the actors behave differently, prepare differently. Someone can joke-joke, and then - bang and played a scene! And someone is constantly immersed in yourself, preparing. Someone is talking to you, joking, but still it is clear that he is all in his character.

    - Have you chosen any strategy for yourself?

    "I do not know yet." I really enjoy being in the movies, so sometimes I maybe relax too. Then I think if it's worth it, you need to be more organized. For example, in "Red Sparrow" I was more concentrated, but there I was alone on the set, and there was more dancing. Here [in "Murder on the Orient Express"] everyone was together, joked, told stories, it was interesting, and at some point I began to feel very relaxed.

    - In recent years, you are moving quite consistently towards pop culture: a clip, an advertisement, a documentary and now a feature film. This, in your opinion, somehow helps to popularize the ballet?

    - Yes, and this is the main function that I want to do - popularize. Do not aggravate [the ballet] while doing it, but pour a good product into a wide culture. To people who can not buy a ticket to the theater, they could see it at home on TV or watch a performance at the stadium. That is, so that such high art as ballet could see everything. Why only "elite" can enjoy such art?

    Dance is an important language that you do not always know, but you understand it, you feel it. This conversation is not a brain, but a soul, and this communication is at some very high level, that words can not be explained. I danced before I went, I think, many children are dancing. The dance is always in us - we dance in clubs, we dance at a wedding, we dance at home. Dance is always present in our life, and ballet is simply a more refined, spent dance.

    - Do you think the situation is changing? At the same clip Take Me to Church got 20 million views.

    - In fact, ballet has always been popular, but it is very closed. It's unhealthy. it's important to bring it to TV, to cinemas, you need to use it. And in the films, I believe there is a future for the dance, because virtual reality is our next step, and the dance in it works best. I believe that Disney and other big corporations will soon start using dance, because it works. And the children understand it best.

    - You said several years ago that there is not enough respect for the dancer as a profession in the theatrical industry 

    - I would not say yet that the situation is changing. Dancers are always ready for anything. Because they really believe in the profession, they are so learned. But they need protection - they are agents, they are managers, they do not have it.

    - How could you find this protection in the person of agents if you had problems with reputation after the Royal Royal Ballet (in 2012 Polunin left the Royal Ballet because of a conflict with the leadership, while working in the theater, the dancer opened a tattoo parlor, English tabloids wrote about his enthusiasm for parties and drugs")?

    - Yes, there were obvious problems, but I had agents who are interested in cinema. And I assembled the team with the potential for the cinema, but this team works for the ballet as well.

    - You were compared to Mikhail Baryshnikov more than once: a dancer who also started moving towards cinema in the same way after his success abroad. And in a dramatic theater, like Baryshnikov, would you like to play?

    - I wanted to, and I see this combination of dance and theater. I would really like to try, there are already ideas, there are projects - one soon I would like to organize with [the actor and director] Grigory Dobrygin. This is my dream.

    "Will this happen in Russia?"

    "I do not know yet, but it certainly will." It is the combination of two arts, and this will give new opportunities for dancers, because they can do both dance and theater. Everyone has a dream to play.

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