BTA interview

site.btaGeraldine Chaplin on the Joy of Wearing Pafti and Fear of Seeing Fascism in Real Life

Geraldine Chaplin on the Joy of Wearing Pafti and Fear of Seeing Fascism in Real Life
Geraldine Chaplin on the Joy of Wearing Pafti and Fear of Seeing Fascism in Real Life
Geraldine Chaplin (right) sporting her new pafti belt, a gift from Svetla Dionisieva (left), the head of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London (Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London Photo)

Renowned actress Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, was a guest at the 4th London-Sofia Cinema Showcase, organized by the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London. After watching the British premiere of her film The Barefoot Emperor on Sunday, she spoke in an exclusive interview for BTA about her pleasure of working with the filmmakers Jessica Woodworth, Mira Staleva and Stefan Kitanov, the joy of wearing a pafti belt buckle she received as a gift, and her fear of living in a world where fascism is present not just in fiction, but also in real life.


The full interview for BTA follows:

Q: Thank you for making the time to speak with us. You are now in London at the invitation of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute and Ms Svetla Dionissieva in particular. Did you feel welcome?

A: Oh, yes! I was welcomed with a rose at the airport, and it still smells. And then I got this [she stands up]. Look at this belt [she is wearing traditional Bulgarian pafti belt buckle].

Q: In Bulgarian it is called pafti.

A: I'll just wear it and won't pronounce it. I'll show it off.

Q: It looks good on you. On Sunday night you attended the British premiere of The Barefoot Emperor. How did it go?

A: It went really well. It's a funny film, and people caught on, they laughed at all the right moments. It was really good! A lot of Bulgarians. A lot of Belgians and a lot of Bulgarians in the audience.

Q: Tell us about your character. What was she like?

A: Well, it's actually two characters that I play. One is a very strange wild woman, who lives with animals and doesn't like human beings very much. And the other one is Ilse von Stroheim, who is the creator of this Nova Europa, which is a very dangerous place to be in. And it's a very fascist idea. And we're living in rather fascist times.

Q: This film hits a bit too close to our own reality.

A: Yes. But Jessica Woodworth, the director, she is a visionary. We were on this island in Croatia, and it was all happening. We were there, and she was directing the film, and we came off the island. And it was all there - it was all happening. And now we have good old Maloney… Nova Europa is happening.

Q: Any ideas how we can correct this?

A: A bomb? [She laughs] Or a couple of bombs? Or I don't know.

Q: Speaking of anxiety, with your great career and experience, do you still feel any stage fright or any anxiety, before you have a movie of yours screened, or even before you shoot a scene?

A: Yes. Except, you know, it's done, so it's there. And I've usually seen it before. I have huge stage fright and anxiety and fear, when I'm doing it, because you want to get it right. But when it's actually done, it's there, it exists. And one just hopes the audience understand and react. Which they did [on Sunday] night.

Q: You worked with some Bulgarian actors in this movie.

A: Oh, yes! As a matter of fact, I woke up this morning, and I thought, "I have worked with a Bulgarian director. Way back in the 60s. And I remember, his name was Pierre Rouve, but his real name was something else. It was Bulgarian. I remember him telling me about his childhood in Bulgaria and how he had to learn Russian, because the textbooks were all in Russian. He was a good director, I think.

Q: You were starring in his film Stranger in the House. Do you remember what it was like working with him on a professional level?

A: He was lovely!

Q: Was there a language barrier?

A: No, because he spoke every language in the world. He said, "Once you've mastered two…". He was, I think, at the time the boyfriend of the actress Claire Bloom, who was in my father's film Limelight. We got along really, really well. The film was with Bobby Darin, who was a singer way back, and James Mason, who was a friend. It was nice. And I remember James Mason took us to the Albert Hall to see the Rolling Stones.

Q: So you, being a movie star, did you get any preferential treatment? A backstage pass?

A: No, he just bought tickets and took us there. But Pierre Rouve, and his real name was Petar Hristov Uvaliev. And I just remembered this morning – I worked with a Bulgarian! I did! And then, my other contact with Bulgarians, apart from here, was with Valeri Yordanov. His film Sneakers I loved! It was in some festival, and I so wanted to give the prize to it, but I wasn't head of the jury. It went to some other film, I can't remember which one, but I remember Sneakers so well. Great film!

Q: Valeri Yordanov wrote one of the roles with you in mind. He wanted you to star in Sneakers. Did you know this?

A: No! Maybe I could have been Ina, who was so lovely. She's an artist. I wish I had done it.

Q: Valeri should probably keep you in mind for any future projects of his.

A: I would be delighted to work with him. But, the great delight was working with Jessica Woodworth, who is amazing! The best!

Q: Two of the producers were Bulgarian - Mira Staleva and Stefan Kitanov. Tell me about them.

A: They are in the room, so I will tell you that they are fantastic. They helped so much. And they are extras in the film.

Q: Finishing this interview on a positive note, are you planning to visit Bulgaria for any future screenings of your movies?

A: Well, I will be in March in Sofia. That's a fixed date. For the [Sofia Film] Festival.

Q: We look forward to seeing you.

A: Thank you!







By 16:00 on 01.10.2023 Today`s news

This website uses cookies. By accepting cookies you can enjoy a better experience while browsing pages.

Accept More information