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Actress Michalina Olszańska: "Matilda Kshesinskaya in Poland is unknown. And it is wildly disappointing"


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Michalina Olszańską - about her character, St. Petersburg, Russian friends and unwillingness to focus on career.

Among the stars walking the red carpet at a reception in honor of the Cannes TV market MIPTV - was one - the young Polish actress Michalina Olszańską, who has played the role of ballet dancer Matilda Kshesinskaya in the film and TV series "Matilda" directed by Alexei Uchitel.

- Matilda Kshesinskaya had Polish roots, is she famous today in your homeland?

- No Unfortunately. And it is wildly disappointing – we don't have enough strong female characters in our history. But I myself learned about her only when I started to prepare for the role.

- How did you get this role? We talked about Diana Vishneva, and Natalie Portman, and Kira Knightley. There were 500 actresses from 20 countries, who were tested for the same part.

- I got the part quite accidentally - in the midst of shooting. Keira (Keira Saksaganskaya - producer of studio "Rock") came to the festival in Warsaw and saw me in the film, where I danced. Actually, I did three pictures, where I danced. Although I have nothing to do with the ballet. Keira called me and offered to do these auditions.

- Was it a challenge and the temptation for you? In other words, are you happy, or scared?

- Both. This is a grand role, I never played anything like this.

- Is it your first costume and historical drama?

- In principle, no. But this scale, of course, yes!

- You came to audition and ....

- And I just had a scene with wonderful Lars Eidinger, who plays Nicholas II. He is an incredible partner, helped me a lot ... In general, I have been chosen to be Matilda Kshesinskaya. I came back one day to Warsaw, said goodbye to my boyfriend, and threw myself into work.

- Your boyfriend is also an actor?

- No, he's a lawyer. We met very little, because of the filming during the whole year, and to be honest it was the main challenge for me.

Introducing the show, you said that before filming you had ballet lessons.

- Yes! And I studied Russian language. Before I started, Alexei Uchitel asked me: “Maybe it is easier to play in English? But I just could not imagine how this text can be spoken in another language, not in Russian. I thought it is unnatural. We all - German actors, and I - played in Russian. And we were caught up in articulation. 

You have a very good pronunciation.

- Thank you!

- The preparation for the film took about six months?

- If it were that easy! Filming has already gone! I had to simultaneously deal with Russian, choreography and acting in some scenes.

- Was it your first visit to Russia?

- Yes. And I am quite fascinated by St.Petersburg. One of the most beautiful cities I've seen. Moscow - the capital. All capitals are more or less the same. But St. Petersburg is something very special. These streets, palaces, suburbs, theaters ... In the Mariinsky theater I even saw a mirror of that era - perhaps Kshesinskaya looked into it before going on stage.


- Judging from the photos, Kshesinskaya was not an absolute beauty. What was the secret of her extraordinary furore she was causing among the men, what do you think?

- I believe in the talent and vitality. She was full of life - unlike many subtle, but apathetic ladies. And she knew what she wanted and was able to achieve it. - Starting this project, the Master said that Matilda Kshesinskaya could change the course of Russian history.

If you were in her shoes, would you try to be the Empress?

- If I really loved Nicholas, I would, of course, tried to stay with him. But I think she understood that puts her life in danger- this marriage had too many opponents. And she wanted to dance.

- Kshesinskaya left a very interesting memories.

- Yes, I read. Indeed, very interesting, but it was hard. In these memoirs she is so self-confident, and I'm afraid of self-confident people, they seem to me strange. It is important not to be pushed over the edge. But Kshesinskaya really was a great woman.

- Do you have friends in St. Petersburg, Russia?

- With co-star I have developed a great relationship. Alexey Uchitel - amazing person and the director! I owe a big break in my career to Keira. Alina, my translator and my assistant, became a true friend. And I almost did not leave the set, I was detached to nightclubs. I was too tired and why? I have a boyfriend, I am not in the search.

- Do you have a musical education, you write novels, speak several languages, you are still in your 20s. How do you see your career?

- Well, firstly, I studied music and wrote the book before finally decided on the profession. Now I am an actress first. Of course, I would like to play as many interesting roles as possible, but I'm not ready to put all my life on it. It seems to me, an absolute obsession with career emasculates person. I care about other important aspects of life, too. What a shame it would be to miss them.


- You are already working on the next role?

- After the "Matilda" I played in another movie, and now took a break. I'm exhausted physically, I haven’t seen my boyfriend for a long time, I travel and perform at international festivals, in general, I decided not to make pictures for a while.

- You are the person who writes. Do you have an idea to write a script for yourself?

- I want to write the script, but not for myself. We must be able to share, do not focus on ourselves.


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