San­jar Madi: Ac­tors must do what di­rec­tors say

The UB Post - - Front Page - By R.UNDARIYA

San­jar Madi was born on Au­gust 4, 1986 in Al­maty Kaza­khstan. His mother is a teacher and fa­ther is a writer. Though he was in­ter­ested in singing, danc­ing and draw­ing from an early age, af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, he de­cided to study eco­nomics. At uni­ver­sity, he worked as a busi­ness re­la­tion­ship man­ager at a Nether­land bank in Kaza­khstan.

Soon, he re­al­ized that art is his main as­pi­ra­tion and en­tered the theater of the lo­cal Academy of Arts. For a long time, there was no work, and from time to time, he did com­mer­cials, but it was not enough for liv­ing. A year later, a pro­duc­tion stu­dio in­vited him for a cast­ing, and he landed a lead­ing role in a movie.

This boosted his ca­reer off the ground and he got his next high-pro­file role in the movie “The Tale of a Pink Bunny” (Zkaz o Ro­zovom Zaitse), where he played a ty­coon’s spoilt son. At the same time, San­jar was study­ing film­mak­ing on his own.

In 2010, he di­rected a New Year’s show for the Kazakh na­tional TV; the show was done in the style of the Os­car‘s award cer­e­mony. Ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous sources, the show topped the charts.

In 2011, Kazakh film stu­dios sent him to New York Film Academy in Los An­ge­les to study film di­rect­ing. In 2016, he won the Hol­ly­wood Im­mer­sive Pro­gram con­test. Cur­rently, he is a mem­ber of an in­ter­na­tional stunt team named No­mad Stunts

San­jar has also played in the 2014 Net­flix series “Marco Polo” along­side Mon­go­lian ac­tor B.Amar­saikhan. They also worked to­gether in the IFI pro­duc­tions piece “The Mon­go­lian Con­nec­tion”.

You have de­liv­ered “The Mon­go­lian Con­nec­tion” to the au­di­ence. How do you feel about this?

Last win­ter, when I came to Mon­go­lia for the shoot­ing of the movie, my friends in Kaza­khstan were very jeal­ous. I am in­ter­ested in work­ing with in­ter­na­tional artists. In or­der to be here dur­ing the open­ing, I flew from New York to Al­maty, Al­maty to Bei­jing and Bei­jing to Ulaan­baatar.

How do you think the Mon­go­lian au­di­ence would rate your work?

I did not pay at­ten­tion to how the view­ers would re­ceive it at the open­ing. I was more fo­cused on how I per­formed and the cin­e­matog­ra­phy. How­ever, re­cently, I went to the Cine­plex of Zaisan Hill Theater and re-watched it from the au­di­ence seat. As I have no­ticed, our part­ner­ship re­ally touched peo­ple, and peo­ple un­der­stood what we were try­ing to say.

Start­ing Jan­uary next year, the movie will reach the Kazakh au­di­ence. How do you think they would per­ceive it? Do the Kazakh peo­ple like ac­tion movies?

When­ever I gave an in­ter­view for Kazakh press and me­dia, I al­ways talked about “The Mon­go­lian Con­nec­tion”, so the au­di­ence must be wait­ing for it. Film pro­ducer S.Uran and ac­tor B.Amar­saikhan have con­tracts with large the­aters in Kaza­khstan.

Our au­di­ence re­ally loves movies like that. They would like it even more be­cause it is an in­ter­na­tional film with the lead role be­ing a Kazakh per­son.

You played in many in­ter­na­tional films as the lead or the sup­port­ing role. What was it like work with Mon­go­lian artists?

I met B.Amar­saikhan in 2014 when I was play­ing in “Marco Polo” series, so we know about how the other works. We make a great team too. There were no dif­fi­cul­ties in work­ing to­gether and shoot­ing the film with Mon­go­lian artists. The food and the weather were also nice.

Dur­ing the time where they are work­ing on a film, artists form a very close bond. I was a bit sad when I

was re­turn­ing to Kaza­khstan af­ter the shoot­ing was over. I am glad that I can see them all again at the pre­miere of the film.

Dur­ing dif­fi­cult scenes of the movie, you act it out your­self as op­posed to us­ing a stunt dou­ble. How long has it been since you learned to fight?

I am part of No­mad Stunts in­ter­na­tional team. Thus, I can do my own stunts in movies, but de­pend­ing on the script of the movie, I like to avoid heights and fire.

Aren’t you scared of get­ting in­jured dur­ing scenes?

I didn’t use a stunt dou­ble for “The Mon­go­lian Con­nec­tion” and for most of the film, I am in hand­cuffs. It was dif­fi­cult to hold weapons and fight while in a hand­cuff. Af­ter the shoot­ing, my hands were bruised, but I didn’t let that stop me. That at­ti­tude is my ad­van­tage.

Have you got­ten in­jured be­fore?

Last year, I played in “Guardians” by Sarik Alexan­der. That was the movie where I be­came the most tired and was in the most dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. I was hang­ing onto a rope on a six story build­ing. While per­form­ing in “The Other Side”, I had fire­works shot at my body. I was re­ally scared that I might get burnt. I have had many in­ter­est­ing scenes as such, but thank­fully, I’ve never been in­jured badly.

You are one of the few ac­tors that stepped into Hol­ly­wood from Kaza­khstan. How did you first get into the in­ter­na­tional film­mak­ing scene?

I felt that it is hard for Asian ac­tors to step into the in­ter­na­tional film­mak­ing scene. Aside from be­ing unique, you have to be much more ta­lented than oth­ers. I was first no­ticed by Rus­sian di­rec­tors and through them, I have got­ten to know in­ter­na­tional artists. I per­formed in movies through them.

Are you bom­barded with movie re­quests now?

It is in­ter­est­ing to learn new things with in­ter­na­tional artists. There­fore, as long as I like the nar­ra­tive, I wouldn’t refuse.

When work­ing with them, you prob­a­bly dis­cov­ered some dif­fer­ences be­tween Asian and Euro­pean di­rec­tors. What is their biggest

...I felt that it is hard for Asian ac­tors to step into the in­ter­na­tional film­mak­ing scene. Aside

from be­ing unique, you have to be much more ta­lented than oth­ers...

dif­fer­ence in your opin­ion?

When it comes to method, there is no dif­fer­ence. I did no­tice that western and Amer­i­can di­rec­tors in par­tic­u­lar are keen on study­ing and pre­par­ing ev­ery­thing be­fore­hand. How­ever, I felt that Asian di­rec­tors fo­cus more on the scenery and the aes­thet­ics of the film.

In or­der to de­velop them­selves and be no­ticed by for­eign di­rec­tors, what skills do ac­tors need to pos­sess?

Aside from the abil­ity to act, the knowl­edge of for­eign lan­guage is the most im­por­tant. Ad­di­tion­ally, the abil­ity to ride horses, mo­tor­cy­cles, drive cars, fight with knives and swords, mar­tial arts and do sports come in handy. I believe that do­ing what the di­rec­tor wants is the role of the ac­tor.

Dur­ing the film­ing of “The Mon­go­lian Con­nec­tion”, pro­ducer S.Uran said that there will be a scene of me driv­ing a car very fast in the ger dis­trict and she asked me if I can drive a car with the steer­ing wheel on the other side. I don’t have the right to say, “I can't” or “I don’t know how”. Since I agreed to play in that movie, I have to do it.

You have played in many types of movies such as ac­tion or his­tor­i­cal. What kind of movies do you want to play in next? What seems the most in­ter­est­ing genre to go into?

I don't want to play sim­i­lar roles in only one genre. I have played in many movies such as ro­man­tic, com­edy, his­tor­i­cal, ad­ven­ture, and etc. I have also played in dystopian fic­tional movies. I al­ways try to play in many dif­fer­ent kinds of movies and chal­lenge my­self be­cause by do­ing that, I learn new things.

What new film are you go­ing to be fea­tured in next?

Last spring, I played in “Scarlet Sails” and “An­gel of Death” with Kazakh artists. I am not sure as to when it will reach the au­di­ence. I also played in a Rus­sian di­rec­tor’s dra­matic and a Kazakh di­rec­tor’s his­tor­i­cal film.

In the last five months, I have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals re­lated to those films. At the end of this month, I will par­tic­i­pate in in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals tak­ing place in Mos­cow and Lon­don. Next week, I am meet­ing a South Korean di­rec­tor and whether we work to­gether or not will be de­cided af­ter the meet­ing.

If a Mon­go­lian di­rec­tor asks you to work for their film, would you ac­cept it?

It does not mat­ter where the di­rec­tor is from. The main thing is that the nar­ra­tive of the film has to be in­ter­est­ing, and if they rec­om­mend me a role that I have never played be­fore, I can­not refuse.

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