Interview with Tudor Aaron Istodor (Romania): “I want to work all over the world”

Interview with Tudor Aaron Istodor (Romania): “I want to work all over the world”

by February 20, 2017

Tudor Aaron Istodor

Tudor Aaron Istodor (©Ralf Uhler for EFP)

Tudor Aaron Istodor worked with such Romanian directors as Lucian Pintilie, Paul Negoescu and Radu Muntean before graduating from the National University of Drama and Cinematography (UNATC) in 2009. He has since appeared in three features directed by the French actress Fanny Ardent as well as Alexandru Maftei’s “Miss Cristina” and Adrian Sitaru’s “The Fixer”, among others. Apart from extensive work on the stage at the Godot Café Theater and the Jewish State Theater in Bucharest, Istodor was also cast as Edward II in BBC Two’s TV series “The Plantagenets.”

Marian Wilhelm talked to him about his career both in film and theater, how he chooses his roles, Romanian Cinema, and what being a 2017 Shooting Star means to him, among many other topics.



Let’s talk about your career so far. You’ve done several films in France already…

Tudor Aaron Istodor: Yes, I’ve worked with Fanny Ardant on three films and I’ve worked with Romanian directors such as Lucian Pintilie, Radu Muntean, Adrian Sitaru… But, no matter who I work with, I always try to give my best.

You do a lot of theater acting as well. What do you enjoy about the different worlds of theater and film?

T.A.I.: Actually, I like both equally and I think the basis is the same. You can be truthful in theater as well as in film. Sometimes, you have to do less in film because it’s a close-up, but if you’re truthful, sincere and vulnerable in some way, you can achieve great things in theater and in film. And, of course, theater is one big long take and you have everything, and in film you always have to stop and do it all over again… But, there are great things about acting in films that I love.

What do you take for your acting in front of a camera from doing a play by Shakespeare or Chekhov on stage?

T.A.I.: I think you can take anything from anything. It’s like Keith Jarrett responded when asked: “What inspires you besides Jazz? Well, besides Jazz, everything!” But, for an actor, one of the most important things is to do all sort of different stuff. You don’t have to do anything, but it is good to do classical plays like Chekhov and Shakespeare, have contemporary plays and do avant-garde; do a bit of everything. This builds up your inner life and that expands in everything you do.

Can you tell us a little bit about the preparation work you do and about your latest role?

T.A.I.: My latest role was in the film Le Fixeur (The Fixer) which will have its premiere in Paris in March. I play in French. I play a fixer who helps the foreign journalists in his own country – French journalists in Romania – do a report about an underage prostitute. The co-writer was a fixer for the French press in Bucharest and he told me all about it. I had to prepare myself and learn how to do this and what kind of situations you are facing as a journalist.

What kind of projects do you refuse to do? What does not interest you?

T.A.I.: I try not to say no, but when there is something that really doesn’t suit me or it’s not for me, by my heart, by my soul, I try not to get involved! Because, when I get involved, I want to be 100% there and give everything I’ve got to that project.

What does being one of this year’s European Shooting Stars mean to you?

T.A.I.: I think it’s the best prize for an actor to be in Shooting Stars, because you meet all these people from the industry, the casting directors, agents, producers… So you have the chance to meet them face-to-face. Because it’s one thing to have a picture taken or have a show reel and it’s another thing when you meet the person face-to-face; there’s energy and chemistry. I hope to work in other countries… I’m glad I’ve worked in France. I have a French agent and I work in Romania, but I do want to work all over the world. I really want to be a European actor, honestly.

Romanian Cinema has become quite successful in the last couple of years. In your opinion, what’s interesting about it?

T.A.I.: I’m going to start with the bad thing: we don’t have genre films in Romanian Cinema; we don’t have romantic comedies, for example, or good commercial films. Sometimes, you feel like you want to wash your brains and just watch a good commercial film like a good horror or a good romantic comedy. But then again, we have very, very good auteur films – mainly auteur films. I see a lot of films that I like. They are very truthful, very sincere with the problems that we are facing. The authors really tell stories they believe in and they are interested in. I think this is what’s most important: telling stories about things you know, you experienced, that hurt you or you thought about. And, you want all the people to find out about them or pose questions about your stories.

You did a theater adaptation of the famous film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. What did you like about it?

T.A.I.: I adore the project because it’s so contemporary and it tells the story of us, the story of show business and about the plastic world we live in – how much further we are willing to go just to entertain and forget about our souls, about being human beings. This is actually such an emotional subject.

You worked with Fanny Ardant, an actress turned director. Have you thought about directing yourself sometime in the future?

T.A.I.: No, so far I have not thought about it. If it happens, it happens… Things that have to happen, will just happen…

By Marian Wilhelm