Hey everyone! Barbarella here hoping you’re staying safe and healthy. I had a lovely, but incredibly brief, chat with Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE). She stars in THE ROOM, which is in no way affiliated with Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 so-bad-it’s-good movie of the same title. THE ROOM will be on VOD, Digital HD, and Blu-Ray tomorrow, June 21. It’s one of those thrillers that rewards those who go into it blind with one mind-blowing moment after another. I was fortunate enough to have seen this film knowing only that it was about a couple who discovers a mysterious room in their new house, so every new surprise elicited some sort of reaction from me. If you’ve seen the trailer, you should already know probably too much of what to expect, but if you haven’t, you’re in for an intriguing experience.
Although this interview includes marginal spoilers - no more than you’d get from the trailer - I’ll move those bits to the end and provide a warning before you reach them. If you’re like me and like to have little to no information ahead of time, you could avoid the bits that would give away anything that happens in THE ROOM by stopping at the warning.
When I spoke with Olga, she was in Los Angeles, California for a brief 48-hour stint. After being discovered in Moscow at a young age, Olga moved from Ukraine to Paris to pursue a modeling career. I asked her about that transition.
“My world just turned upside down. That time was a time of things happening very fast, and me learning even faster than I guess any person could learn. I was just grasping things. I was basically growing and maturing and becoming an adult very, very fast. I went from being a little naïve and a very green kind of girl in a small town to suddenly being completely alone in a different country, a country speaking a language I did not understand. I did not know a word of French before I went there. It was a lot of information to process, but I was young and excited instead of being scared. I remember some girls - when I lived in this modeling apartment - some girls would cry on the phone to their parents because they were as young as me [and scared and wanted to go home]. I was just excited to be able to grasp all of this. I guess I was hungry for learning, and I wanted to have the out in my life, so I wasn’t scared. I think I didn’t realize it then, but I did have a lot of pressure. My conscious feeling was excitement. Now unconsciously, I might have been a little worried, but I was actually so happy to do everything that was happening to me.”
I’d read that Olga learned French in a mere six months. This blew my mind because living in Texas, I periodically attempt to learn Spanish. I have picked up some incredibly valuable phrases that I’ll unlikely ever need, like “tus pantalones están detrás de la cama,” but I am still depressingly far from comprehending the language well enough to get through any meaningful conversation without a translator. I asked her if she had any tricks to learning a foreign language that quickly.
“I didn’t have any particular tricks. I didn’t even go to school. I learned by myself. I’ll tell you, this is the truth, I was isolated. I didn’t know anybody. I was alone in the country. Instead of going out and partying, and I don’t know, having a boyfriend or anything, I would just go home after my castings, and I would just lock myself up in my flat and stay with my book. I brought a book to study French with me when I initially came there, and I just read it and did my exercises that were given in the book. I would just write and write and write and repeat and rehearse and try to learn phrases, and just that’s how I learned. I think if I was more busy or just had more diversions from the outside world, maybe it would’ve been more difficult. I had nothing else to do but study. Now I think, “Thank God that I wasn’t distracted, that I didn’t have people calling me going, “Oh let’s go party.” I would have never achieved everything I achieved. It’s something to be thought about. In a way, it brings me to think of [these times now].
“A lot of people told me that this lock down was very beneficial for them, apart from the fact that people were ill, you know, the fact that everything stopped, and we took it so much slower. People suddenly found time to do all these things that they never had time to do because we’re just going two-hundred miles an hour in our daily lives. It was crazy when I think back. As much as these are horrible times, some people told me it was a blessing for them to stop and be able to recollect, so it could be something to think about.”
What intrigued you the most about the script?
“The fact that it’s all put in a very twisted thriller. When I was reading, every page, I couldn’t wait to get to the end and discover what is behind it. That was a very big sign to me that there was something - it made me think. I couldn’t stop thinking; I was so terrified. The fact that it evokes such a strong feeling was good because whether it’s positive or negative feelings that something provokes, they are feelings, and they are to be taken into account. It was important that it made me so uneasy after having read it. I read it at night and was absolutely terrified.”
The following continuation of her answer, as well as the subsequent questions/answers, may include minor spoilers, but again, nothing more than what the trailer has already given away.
“I was always very interested in how kids interact with the parents of the same gender or the opposite gender. Everyone has stories about that. It’s an interesting thing to explore, and obviously the subject about wealth and abundance and the facility of getting material things. All these subjects were very important and interesting.”
One of the themes in which Writer/Director Christian Volckman was interested in with THE ROOM was the modern-day couple and their confrontation with materialism. How much do you think materialism factors into relationships, and why do you feel that way?
“Well, it factors a lot. It could bring people together or force them apart. It depends. The thing is, it’s a very complicated question. (Laughs) This could be a long conversation. We just seem, in our world today, to pursue material stuff. It’s said to us that we have to consume and consume and consume, and then we over-consume because people think this is where happiness lies. They think that with material things they’ll be happy, and this film shows that the way you get them really changes your way of feeling. If you work hard to get things, the joy when you really get it, you can feel at 100%. But, when you’ve done nothing for things to appear in your life, they just fall in your hand, you just become blasé and everything becomes very bland, and you do not appreciate it anymore.
“To bring it back to the relationship, the most important thing is love and appreciation and communication and to be the best friend to your partner. Obviously, the minimum of comfort we all need, of course, to be happy. As long as people don’t struggle for vital things, I think material things do not bring happiness. They can bring comfort or a certain satisfaction, but if things are not going well in the couple, no diamonds or mountains of gold will fix the relationship. It has nothing to do with the material stuff. As you see the movie, it’s a very good metaphor for the fact that material stuff is volatile. The moment those people take it out of the house, it disappears. It doesn’t last. What lasts is the connection and love and understanding."
What would you wish for in the room?
"If it was a room where I can’t take stuff out, I’ll probably have fun for 24 hours in my lock down, and then I’d be like, “OK I’m done.” What else could I wish for? There’s no point to have it if you can’t have it eternally. I would more wish for things that are attachable, you know, like what I wish for all of us: happiness, health, friends, family. It’s good fun to have that room for a day or two, but it can bring problems in a person’s life. I think having things so easily would probably make me so unmotivated. I would probably just sit on the couch and get depressed because I would realize that there’s nothing I need to do anymore in this world because what do I have to strive for? What do I have to achieve? There’s nothing to achieve. When you can just wish and things appear, there is no sense of gratitude for the fact that you got something.”
You can see Olga Kurylenko in THE ROOM on VOD, Digital HD, and Blu-Ray starting tomorrow, June 21.