In an exclusive interview with ifilm, Iranian actress Elnaz Shakerdoust talks about her acting career.
Below is a rough translation of selected parts from the interview conducted by ifilm in Persian:
ifilm: One of the wonders of the 35th Fajr Film Festival was your different and astonishing performance in Fereydoun Jeirani’s ‘Asphyxia’. Your perfect and confident performance was very different from your previous roles; it appears that the course of your acting has changed. How did this change happen?
Shakerdoust: Yes, you are right! The course of my acting career changed because of what happened to me. In fact, the course of my life has changed a lot and anybody else in this situation would change as much.
ifilm: It would be better if we talked about this more clearly… the event that you are referring to must have been very important to have such great impact on your personal and professional life…
Shakerdoust: It is very important… what happened to me during a shooting session was a near-death experience. Not everyone has a near-death experience! I died for while. People thought that I would not come back to life. But God was merciful and gave me a second chance. It was a very strange experience for me and it transformed and changed me. I did not work for two or three years and went abroad to study where I took various acting lessons. I studied a lot and did my best to work on my inner-self and discover myself… I still do it.
I read many script since I returned to Iran but I did not like them until Mr. Fereydoun Jeirani offered me a role in ‘Asphyxia’. It is true that it was a different role. However, when the script is written they never write in the script how you should perform or how you should use your body to portray the character. This is the art of the actor to give life to written sentences and an actor who arrives at a precise understanding of the role will remain in memories.
ifilm: Human beings yearn for immortality, some consider acting as a way of becoming immortal; it seems that you are focused on becoming immortal in the minds of viewers.
Shakerdoust: Maybe! I would like to say something to those who are interested in acting; if you want to be an actor you need to acquire its knowledge. Part of this knowledge is formed by participating in acting courses and part of it by studying different acting styles. Of course, at this point each actor chooses their favorite style but once you are in front of the camera and you are close to cinema’s camera, your breaths are recorded and the styles and methods are no longer applicable and this is only you and your performance; and this performance is becomes immortal. For me, the joy of acting begins here; my joy stems from the fact that after many years that you not in this world anymore, your performance could forever remain.
ifilm: Why did you choose to act in “Asphyxia’?
Shakerdoust: I have had many offers since I returned to Iran but what made this movie different was the loneliness of the character; a deep, strange and real loneliness. She carried with her a scar from childhood; the scar of living with a stepfather among others. She and I were very different and tapping into her feelings was an important challenge for me. Now that I think about it, I am certain that I made the right choice to play in this movie.
ifilm: You have mostly appeared in commercial movies where you portray rich, beautiful and fun-loving girls which are not considered as critically significant. Apart from what you earlier said you had experienced in your life, are you tired of those roles and want to completely change course?
Shakerdoust: Basically acting becomes interesting with these experiences but I believe that each actor needs to have a thorough knowledge of the society and has a clear understanding of their surroundings and each decade has its different demands.
ifilm: Many actors have also worked as producer or director; have you thought about doing the same thing?
Shakerdoust: No, my priority at the moment is acting and performing roles that are compatible to my feelings; maybe some other time…
Interview Conducted By: Ghazal Nahani
To read more about Elnaz Shakerdoust click here.