Interview with Maruša Majer (Slovenia): “I’m an enthusiast by nature”

by February 20, 2017

Marusa Majer

Maruša Majer (©Ralf Uhler for EFP)

A graduate of the University of Ljubljana’s Academy of Theater, Maruša Majer has worked as a freelance actress for film and theater in her native Slovenia. In 2013, she received the Best Actress Award at the International Festival of Children’s Theaters in Subotica (Serbia) for her performance in Mini Theater’s production of “Little Sleepy Star”. Majer has worked in films by Boris Bežić, Milan Urbajs and Darko Sinko and was cast in the lead female role in Janez Burger’s “Driving School” as well as his latest feature, Ivan.

Marian Wilhelm talked to her about her work as an actress, “Ivan”, being a Shooting Star and what inspires her.

 

In your Shooting Stars description, it says “She gives a fearless, gritty and thoroughly soul-bearing quality to her work that goes under both her and our skins – and refuses to let go. Maruša conveys a female animalism of a rarely seen strength.” Do you think that’s an accurate description of your work?

Maruša Majer: Don’t forget the animalism! It’s quite flattering, I like it very much. I would love to see myself like that. I think it applies especially to my role in the upcoming film “Ivan”. But, I would love to think that it applies to all of the things I do.

Does an actress have to be “fearless” in a certain way?

M.M.: I understand that when thinking about this last film I did. It means just to go really, really far and deep into it, without saying no to anything. This is not me, this is the character and whatever the character needs, I will give it to her. It could be hard for me as a person, but I just do it. I think that’s the fearless part.

When you get a script and you have to decide if you want to do the project, is that also a point where you try to be fearless?

M.M.: I’m kind of an enthusiast by nature, so I always think we can do something with everything, because, for me, it depends on how you do it mostly – not what you do.

 How do you feel about being one of this year’s European Shooting stars? You’ve already done several feature films, so what new opportunities will come from this?

M.M.: I don’t know. It’s a great honor for me. I don’t expect anything to happen actually. I get super projects with super directors right now and I just hope that I can work as I work now and continue with that.

Do you think it puts you more in an international, European film context?

M.M.: It’s a big world out there and I think a lot depends on luck. Of course, I would do a project abroad, who wouldn’t? I would love to see how that’s like. But, it really depends on a lot of factors.

What about Slovenia? It’s a small country, a small industry. How would you describe Slovenian Cinema?

M.M.: We have a very small budget; it got cut in half some years ago… It’s crazy. The cultural politics is getting crazy right now in Slovenia. But, we have some great talents. I truly believe that there are some great directors in Slovenia, some great actors and some great productions. Considering the budget we have, it is a little bit sad. But, the quality of the films is very high.

Can you tell us about “Ivan”, the project that brought you here. What kind of role is it?

M.M.: I had to open many doors to the role because it’s a tough one. It’s a strong female role, already in the script. Everybody would want it, I guess… The actresses I’ve spoken with or those who are also in the film, all said: “What a role!” It was quite hard. I am a mother of a newborn child and everything is happening in the first week of his life and it’s not an easy week for his mother! For example, it starts with giving birth, so I did a lot of research on giving birth because I’m not a mother yet. And then, there is some physical violence and a lot of psychological difficulties for her. I was really going into it – it was quite hard, but also very beautiful, of course. Things that are harder are always more beautiful if you feel you gave the best of you. I think I couldn’t have given more. Maybe, someone else could have done it better or differently, but I gave it what I could.

What roles do you get offered as an actress?

M.M.: I have done everything from comedy and over-exaggeration to really serious drama. A lot of different female types, strong women. I am not the quiet type, that’s true. I usually get strong characters. I am lucky; I think I don’t have a stereotype. I was thinking about that last week, and I couldn’t get more different roles that I am getting. I am very happy about that. It’s so cool for me. People see me from a lot of different angles. I love it. I hope this never ends.

Here at the Berlinale, you are surrounded by many film talents from all over the world. With which international director or actor/actress would you enjoy working?

M.M.: I would work with all these Shooting Stars here. I think they are all great – that’s immediately obvious. And yesterday, I saw Wim Wenders standing ten meters away. I would love to work with him!

What is your inspiration outside of theater and film that you bring to your acting?

M.M.: Other people. People I love in my life. This is my inspiration.

 

By Marian Wilhelm