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INTERVIEW: Vlad Pavlov on his directing debut, Karen Shakhnazarov and Humanitarianism

Making it in the acting world is not only depending on talent, but also on personality. Vlad Pavlov, who is currently playing one of the lead characters in the Russian version of an American television police procedural, The Closer, has plenty of that.
Pavlov talks about his most difficult role, working with Karen Shakhnazarov, and his first directing experience.

Vlad Pavlov by Katia Rekho

Katia Rekho: Vlad, currently you are working in the second season of Russian version of The Closer. How similar is your character to Corey Reynolds from the original TV series?

Vlad Pavlov: Yes, we have recently started to shoot the second season. I’ve watched all seasons of the original series to make my performance look the way it had been created by the author. However, the Russian version has been adjusted to local circumstances, and we have added our traditional demeanor. The trait, which is definitely integrated by Corey’s character, is a dedication to work. The deference is the infatuation of my character to his boss.

Rekho: What was your most difficult role and why?

Vlad Pavlov: It’s not a surprise that comedy is significantly harder to perform than drama. It’s easier to disappoint people then make them laugh. One of my most difficult roles, and one of the favorite ones, though, is a cultist Nikolay from the Russian TV-series “The Floor”. He was meant to be purely happy 24/7, completely committed to his boss. Nikolay is well-read, quite witty but simultaneously blind to things that his boss has been doing. Nikolay lets his boss to manipulate him the way he wants. He justifies all of his weird actions. It was quite difficult for me, because I have a strong sense of fairness.

Rekho: What could you say about your experience working with Karen Shakhnazarov?

Vlad Pavlov: Well, it was rather interesting. It was a movie about tough time in the USSR. I was born a bit after, so I haven’t experienced most of those bizarre things. I read about the period, asked my mother and mature friends, to understand what had been going on in Soviet people’s heads. By the way, I was auditioned to the leading role but looked a bit older than it meant to be. I had an appointment with Shakhnazarov in his office (he personally met each actor, which is not so common), and he promised to give me another role. And he kept his word. I eventually played a felicitous man, who was a symbol of that time.

Rekho: Did you ever doubt that you chosen a right career?

Vlad Pavlov: Luckily, I never had any doubt of my future profession. I have dreamt to be an actor ever since I remember. Anyway, there are some days or even months or years when your agent doesn’t call you. By that time, you usually feel yourself abandoned. And dark thoughts of giving up all your dreams might occur. However it’s ok. I bet that these times are given us to work on yourself, to learn new things, to try something you’ve never done before. This new experience will ultimately help your professional growth. Life is not only about your job. It’s about new experiences and learning from them.

Rekho: How do you motivate yourself?

Vlad Pavlov: Variously. I’m a cinephile. Some good movie always motivates me to work harder. It’s like when your neighbor has a better house. I don’t want his house. I want a better one. Sometimes I encounter interesting or really curious people. My brains captures their behavior and keeps it for the right occasion. I like extraordinary people who can defeat their fears.

Rekho: In your opinion, how in today’s world does the success of a creative person depend on the level of education received?

Vlad Pavlov: There’s a direct relationship between the life quality and education. I think we are here to study. Every day. No matter how long anyone’s life is. Humanity has made so many discoveries. And I’m not even able to imagine how many of them are ahead. So if you keep learning, you are never bored. In my career, there were some situations when I was chosen because I knew a bit more than my competitors.

Rekho: I know you’ve recently got behind the camera experience, how does it feel to be on the other side? What did you gain as an actor from directing experience?

Vlad Pavlov: Yes, we have recently wrapped up a short movie. It was my first experience as a director. The main thing I gain as an actor is that I’m not the center/core of the movie. The filmmaking is a hard and meticulous job. As an actor I have to understand that there is a no place for my ego on set.

Rekho: Are you planning to direct more projects in a future?

Vlad Pavlov: Directing was a fantastic experience. Not because you have authority per se, but it’s because you are able to create your own world based off of a script. You may share your own experiences with others. It’s a sort of therapy. You ask questions and look for the answers. Yes, that’s what I plan to do in the future.

Rekho: What qualities in directors do you appreciate the most as an actor?

Vlad Pavlov: Humanitarianism. Generally, The director has to love his actors and his crew. He may make fun of people’s imperfections, dislike or even hate some crimes that people have done. However he has to believe in our species. Otherwise he’s dead alive.

Rekho: Finally, is there a director who you would agree working with without even reading the script?

Vlad Pavlov: We’ll, depends. However my favorite directors don’t obviously work with weak scripts, I’d rather read it by myself first.

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I am an LA based Russian born entertainment journalist. Growing up in Siberia I always had a passion for Theatre Arts and Film, but at the same time I have always truly loved writing. From the time I was just 14 years old I became the editor of the school news paper, and never stopped writing ever since.