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Author Topic: X-Men: Apocalypse interview with Carolina Bartczak  (Read 1682 times)
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« on: May 21, 2016, 11:46:41 PM »

X-Men: Apocalypse sees one of Marvel's merry mutants a married man. I spoke with Carolina Bartczak, who portrays Magneto's wife Magda in the film, to discuss crying corpses, impulsive kisses, and mohawk-envy. Spoilers ahead!

DNWilliams: So, I wanted to ask Ė what was your relationship with X-Men as a franchise like before starring in one of the films?

Carolina Bartczak: Iíve actually been following it from like the very first one, I think in 2000? My best friend worked on Days of Future Past as well, so I got to come visit the set back when I was shooting Brick Mansions in Montreal and they were shooting Days of Future Past, the big Washington president scene. I got to come in and watch them shoot that. Never in my imagination did I ever actually think that I would be a part of it one day. I mean, if someone had said - because I was watching Michael do his Magneto thing, and Michaelís my favourite actor on the planet, hands down - if someone hadíve been like ďin two years youíre going to be working with him on this X-Men filmĒ I would have NOT believed them.

DNW: The fact that you got to work with Fassbender as closely as you did as well, because of what your characterís relationship was, it mustíve been incredible. What was your working relationship like?

CB: They had us come together one day on set and actually do a formal introduction, which was lovely. Then I only really got to meet him on our first day of shooting, which was so nerve-racking because heís so comfortable on set, and heís so used to meeting new actors and jumping into the work. I didnít know what he was going to be like in person, and of course I was imagining you know, the whole high school idea of you show up to school on the first day and you donít have pants and everyoneís laughing at youÖ Thatís what I was imagining was going to happen on the first day. Thank god it didnít, Iíd put on my pants. It was really intense, we jumped into that scene where Iím convincing him to stay, and heís convincing me to leave, itís such an intimate scene to jump into not knowing anyone.

DNW: That was the very first thing that you shot?

CB: Yeah, that was the first thing that we shot. Heís such a kind and generous Ė not only person, but also a generous actor. As soon as I walked on said he said ďhey, how about me and Carolina just sit and talk for a few minutes?Ē Everyone left us alone and he was like ďso, what do you think this scene is about?Ē Iíd done my homework, Iíd read the scene a thousand times forward and backward and I had my ideas on how I wanted to go, how I wanted to do it, and a person who had just come off of a movie like Steve Jobs is asking me my opinion. I mean, how humble do you have to be to do that? What an amazing person to work with.

DNW: Would you say that that scene, the one that you started with, was one of the most intense experiences?

CB: I think that was a really, really great scene because that moment shows the difference between Magneto and Magda. Magda believes that the world is good, and she has so much faith that he is a good man, and sheís right, he is a good man, but she makes the mistake in believing that everyone else will side with her. You can see Magneto, his experience has been completely different, people have always been prejudiced against him, and he doesnít think that this moment is going to be any different. So that was a really, really intense scene to shoot.

I think the most intense scene was actually the death scene, the moment where me and Nina go down and he runs over there. It took two days to shoot that scene, and I remember on that day we came on to set and there was no one talking. No one. Usually on film sets thereís always idle chatter, people getting coffee, people fidgeting with their final positions, but this day we came and you couldíve heard a pin drop. They just wanted to give Michael his moment. I donít know how he prepared for that moment, but obviously itís full of anguish and it required so much focus, so we were all ready for that moment where he runs and grabs us and hugs us for the last time, and he was sobbing, I could feel it as Iím lying there. I was so afraid that I would start crying too, because the camera would pan down and see a dead person crying.

DNW: That would have been unfortunate, yeah!

CB: That wouldnít have made a lot of sense!

DNW: When we jump into the story, your character is already in this relationship, and this is not the position that we saw Magneto in last, itís a completely new situation. I wondered if there were any scenarios that you built up in your head before shooting that gave you a little bit more background information or motivation.

CB: Yeah, I did all the research that I possibly could on Magda, and like you said there isnít that much. Also the comic book Magda and Magneto donít have a healthy relationship towards the end, whereas the Magda and Magneto in the script have a beautiful, warm, loving relationship. I had to fill in the blanks, and one of Michaelís lines was "I told you who I was the first night we met,Ē and thatís the line that I had the most struggle with. I was like, in what situation would a man say to a woman ďhey, I just met you - by the way, Iím the most wanted person on the planet - do you wanna date?Ē Like, in what situation would that ever happen? I had to make up a scenario in my mind where he had to be in a vulnerable enough state that she took pity on him, and she saw something beautiful in him. So I had a mental exercise as to how that would have come about. Itís funny, because Michael asked me the same thing: how do you think that first meeting went? And I told him my ideas and he was like, yeah, thatís cool.

DNW: For that to be the foundation of a relationship seems bizarre, to know what she knows about him, and that to be the foundation of the relationship.

CB: But also maybe thatís the foundation of the relationship, itís honesty. Like how much integrity does a human being have to have. In more modern terms, if you went on a Tinder date with someone and they were like, just so you know I was convicted of this crime, how much integrity does that person have to have to be like listen, Iím gonna be honest with you from the very first moment that we meet, this was my past? Thatís not who I am, but thatís my past.

DNW: Was there anything in particular that stood out to you as memorable, a particularly fun moment on set that youíll never forget?

CB: Oh god, I feel like that entire experience was just full of memorable moments. For example, in that scene that we were just discussing, that kiss wasnít actually scripted in the scene. We did the scene probably, I donít know, fifteen times without that kiss, and there was a moment, I guess I started getting a bit more comfortable, and we were doing the scene again and I had this impulse to kiss him but I censored myself immediately because I was too scared. Then when Bryan Singer yelled cut, Michael just looks and me and goes ďhey, I think a kiss in that moment is perfect, if that impulse comes, go ahead and do itĒ and I was like oh my god, I mean thatís what kind of an artist he is, heís so present in that moment that he saw my impulse to kiss him and then you know, I thought to myself yeeeeeaaah, Iím pretty sure that impulse is going to be there. That was all we said about it, we didnít tell anyone it was happening, and on the next take I grabbed him and I kissed him, and when they yelled cut everyone was like ďWhat was that?! Oh my god!Ē That moment solidified that scene. It was such a great end to that moment.

DNW: Iím guessing that youíve been able to see the film a couple of times now, were there scenes you werenít able to be a part of that you would have liked to have been? Is there anything in particular that you saw where you were jealous of the other actors that got to take part in those scenes?

CB: Oh yeah, yes, there were so many things to be jealous of. How about Stormís mohawk? I wanted that. I also wanted to do some really cool stunts, I know that Alex Shipp who plays Storm, she got to be hung in so many different ways and fly up and I mean I would have loved to do any kind of stunt work. My biggest stunt was falling over! So that was less exciting. I would have loved to do any kind of fighting, any weapon work. Iíll just have to wait for the next project, I guess.

DNW: I wanted to ask as well, how Bryan singer was as a director, how he compares maybe with other directors that youíve worked with or what his approach was like on the film in terms of drawing a performance out of you.

CB: The beauty of Bryan Singer is that heís so obsessed with these projects. He loves them so much, and knows them inside and out. His vision is so clear, but also he lets us try new things, which is so beautiful. Like, there was a moment where, in the scene in the forest, where the police officers ask Michael to give himself up, and Michael turns around and looks at me, and just impulsively I nodded, giving him the permission to give himself up. That wasnít scripted either, and as soon as we cut Bryan ran over and heís so generous heís like ďthat was the moment that turned you guys into a couple that have been married for 15 years or for 10 years. All of a sudden I saw the connection between you and that you guys are equal partners,Ē and that was so lovely. He didnít have to tell us to do anything, he just let us find that ourselves, which was so, I mean, thatís all you can ask for from a director.
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