On this edition of the EMExclusives, come with me on a journey to the world of You Won’t Be Alone – coming to theatres this Friday! An beautiful film to watch, features magical performances by its actors, and is profoundly poetic. The film is in Macedonian but has English subtitles. Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, the film follows a young girl who is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit. Curious about life as a human, the young witch accidentally kills a peasant in a nearby village and then takes her victim’s shape to live life in her skin. Her curiosity ignited; she continues to wield this horrific power to understand what it means to be human.
In the first of three interviews, I will talking with actress Anamaria Marinca, who plays Maria – a two hundred year old witch in the movie.
I enjoyed the film and you did such an amazing performance. Tell us about Maria, the two-century year old witch in this tale and what attracted you to the role?
I think the script the story, draw me and also being written by my friend. It plays an important part. I had known Goran for a few years, and we always wanted to work together. I was very happy when this story came my way and that he thought about me.
Now, I understand that you two have been friends for nearly a decade. You always want to work on a film together. And now that you have accomplished that, how does it feel to accomplish that very goal?
It’s wonderful. I mean, it’s always good to know to see someone especially when I met Goran, he was just starting. I saw his shorts films. I was very lucky to be following his career and to be part of his first feature. I’m incredibly happy for him and for this trajectory. To be to be witnessing this, I think, you know, only can make me happy. We plan on doing more together. It’s just the beginning of this beautiful friendship.
You had to wear a full body prosthetic skin nearly the entire time. I know for some actors, it can be comfortable. For others, it can’t. What was the experience like for you?
Well, I think it was comfortable when I forgot about it. And there were times when the very conscious about wearing a suit that was sometimes tight. In Germany, it depends on your mood and on the weather outside because of that kind suit made of latex. I think it kind of borrowed the temperature outside.
I wasn’t sure if I was too hot or too cold. It was never something in the middle. The minute the camera was on, it didn’t matter anymore. It was finally became my own skin you know, and the makeup on my face and the glue and everything. All the elements made sense and made Maria come to life. I forgot that I was wearing makeup when I was filming.
I think the process which took about four or five hours every day to get there and it was difficult on the day. I always remember the most beautiful parts and their results, which was incredible. When I first saw myself as Maria, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve never been through such a transformation as an actor before. sort of made that exciting. I had amazing makeup artists and the team around us was incredibly patient with me & very, very helpful.
Did you have to wake up like at 4am or 5pm to get into the makeup – a process that you mentioned, it took four to five hours?
It was 330 a.m. It was earlier than any other project I’ve been connected to but it was lovely. It was it gave us meaning and a sense of being important and being there before everyone else. It never feels difficult. You know what you’re aiming at and it’s all done. For that moment in front of the camera, we’re going on the director says, proceed or action, whatever the word every director they choose. It’s all for that moment and the rest becomes easy.
Were you a fan of the horror genre before taking on the role?
Yes, I’ve had a few encounters with the genre as an actor, but also when my favorite film is “The Trouble Every Day” by Claire Denis which is very gory. It just happened that this is one of my favorite films. I’ve never stated my preference, you know, for horror movies. I just encountered that. I think they can be incredible vehicles for very important ideas. So I am I think I am drawn to this genre.
Although, it just all these films just came my way. And the stories has had an impact on me. I am not sure I believe in the genre. I don’t want to label our movie, I just want to see them as stories. And if they move me, they get to me. I think for me, it’s not so important how I defined or label them.
You worked with have Goran & made your first film together, what was it like to work with both Sarah and Noomi?
It was beautiful. I had only two scenes with Noomi. I’m very happy I met her on the set. With Sarah, I spend most of the time. I stole Sarah Nevena and wanted her to be my daughter. I seen the film and we became we became great friends. And also with Alice. She was wonderful to work with. And the ending with the homage is so important. It was all her and I was there to witness that. I was in that scene as well. They’re all incredible actresses.
When did you realize that you wanted to become an actress and take on the craft yourself? Who were your influences?
I didn’t know I wanted to become an actor. I was always on stage. I was trained as a classical musician since I was six. My mother is a violinist. My father is an actor. And I think I was kept away theater because I think my dad knew that I had the temperament. I might exhibit the signs. The calling was there. I think I think he knew that when I told them that I actually would like to try this.
It was difficult to change for them. I think more than for me because I had prepared for such a long time to become a violinist but I made the step. And I embraced this other profession. Since then, I was on a stage or on a film set and I never regretted it. The ones that inspiring me, I’m sure we talked when we came from age and from our conversations together. He also was my teacher in Uni. I had for years learned and studied under protection of and guidance of my father. He was very, very helpful to me and I I’m very happy that he was the one to show me the first steps.
What do you hope audiences will take away from watching your film coming out on April 1st here in the States?
I hope they will be entertained. But I also hope that it will provoke them to look into themselves, to see all the nuances, the story and to cherish it for its depth. And these ideas that we tried to convey these portraits of womanhood. They’re so important, and they were so important to us. And the transformation and the shadows that are there are haunting this story that in the past, in the present of the story itself. How the past and the present are connected, and the causality the what society can inflict on one individual and how rejection can influence one’s life. There are all kinds of ideas and stories that kind of flow in this genre film, but it’s so much more that I hope.
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Well, Anamaria, thank you so much for doing such a great favor with this film coming out on April 1 and we hope to see more of you in the near future.
Stay tuned for more interviews with the cast and crew of You Won’t Be Alone including Sara Klimoska & director Goran Stovelsk