Romanian actress Ana Ularu began her acting career at the age of nine. However, after graduating with a B.A. and M.F.A. in Acting from Bucharest’s National University of Theater and Film, she has appeared in short films, TV, feature films, and has even made an impact on the stage. She has worked in both local and international productions. After recently appearing as West in the short-lived series Emerald City, she stars alongside Keanu Reeves in the thriller Siberia, coming to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on July 13 from Saban Films.
World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Ularu about her experience on the film.
Thank you so much Ana for taking the time to talk about Siberia. This was actually a really good film that brought out some great performances by you and Keanu Reeves.
Thank you. I’m glad to hear that.
How were you approached to take on the role of Katya?
I got a call from my London agent and he said he had this script that was being directed by Matthew Ross. And I was in France, so there I was sitting in a French café wearing the red beret and I was on this video call with Matthew and we were laughing and we talked about the role and I said I would love to play the role.
There wasn’t much time when I got to L.A. so as soon as I got there I went straight to the audition and I didn’t think I would get it because I was so tired (laughs). But, they ended up giving me the role.
Katya seems to be someone who is both loyal to her family and yet yearns to break away from her life in this small village. Would that be how you would describe the character?
Well, I think Katya already managed to break away from her family by going to Australia. She had a completely different life but she had to go back to her family because of this need to take over the family business, the café. Her father does not trust her brothers so basically, she had to give up her life in Australia. However, she has this repetitive quality of living the reality. And I think this has to do with her dream of escaping.
I think what happens is that she meets Lukas and she gets more than what she bargains for. I think it is the idea of escaping from her world that becomes something she cannot escape or something she seeks.
What was it like working with Keanu Reeves? The chemistry between you two was quite convincing as two troubled souls who help each other get through their troubles.
When it comes to chemistry, you can’t just escape from those characters. You have to sit down and do a lot of talking. You have to create those backstories and understand what makes these people tick. They have to understand each other and find out what attracts them to each other.
It was a great process full of discussions and immense trust when it came to creating those scenes. Keanu was great to work with. He paid attention to detail and was the nicest guy around. He knows about filmmaking and besides being a wonderful human being, he brought this great sense of humor along the way because you can’t make dramatic art without having a sense of humor. It was an absolute honor working with someone so established playing my partner, my lover, and being my comrade-in-arms.
What was your favorite thing about shooting the film?
My favorite thing about shooting the film was well, shooting the film. It was a great experience. I enjoyed all the rehearsal time. I enjoyed the relaxation and all the time we had because we would shoot six-day weeks and on the seventh day, we would discuss the scenes for the next week and try to play them out. It was an intense boot camp for two months. It just felt creative and imaginative and inspired.
That’s great to hear. A lot of people tell me that they always find a difficulty when it comes to shooting a film but this sounded like it was a pretty smooth shoot.
Well, not if you count the cold days (laughs). Sometimes the heat wouldn’t work and you are sitting there in a cold tent and there are so many things that could go wrong with a shoot, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great experience. But, you can choose to treat something in a stressful way or a bad way, or you can look at the bigger picture and make the film you believe in and enjoy making every second of it. So for me, difficult doesn’t mean not amazing.
Is there anything you are working on next that you can talk about?
I’m working on a short film in Bulgaria and then I will be returning home to Romania to work in some theater productions. I’m basically jumping back and forth between film and theater.
Siberia comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on July 13. I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to see a more dramatic side of Keanu Reeves with help from Ana Ularu. Thank you again Ana for talking about the film.
Thank you so much. I’m really glad you liked the film and I hope people will get to see it.
A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Ana Ularu for making this interview possible.