Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Canadian actress Carolina Bartczak, known for her work in Smurfs 2 and Brick Mansions. In X-Men: Apocalypse, opening this week in North America, Carolina plays the small, yet pivotal role of Magda, Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender) wife. Meet me after the jump for the interview.
Andy Burns: Hi Carolina – thanks for talking to Biff Bam Pop! We’re just a few days away from the release of X-Men: Apocalypse in North America, and the film has already opened to great numbers overseas. How are you feeling? Excited? Nervous?
Carolina Bartczak: I feel so RELIEVED!!! I shot this scene a year ago and was sworn to secrecy with the threat of various forms of torture that I was not to reveal to anyone the nature of my part in the film because it is such an important plot point-And I love to tell secrets! So it was a triumph of the will that I was able to keep it a secret. I mean, I get to kiss FASSBENDER!
Burns: You play the role of Magda in the film. Comic book fans know there’s a significant relationship between her and Magneto in the books – what can you tell us about the character you’re playing?
Carolina Bartczak: The Magda that fans are familiar with in the comics is slightly different than her presentation in this film. Magda and Eric meet after that slight debacle when he tries to kill the US President. They meet, and Eric right away tells her who he is and what he’s done. Magda sees through his hurt and pain, and she seems something good and kind in him – probably the same thing that Charles Xavier sees. They end up falling in love and living in the countryside together and having a wonderful home and family and they live happily ever after… well maybe not…
Burns: What sort of research, if any, did you do to prepare for the role?
Carolina Bartczak: I researched as much as I could in the comics to see what info I could get on Magda even though there was a deviation from the comics. I mostly had to deduce from my script what the history of Magda and Eric’s relationship was and fill in the blanks myself. Michael and discussed some ideas before we started shooting as to how they met and what kind of relationship the two of them have.
Burns: Obviously X-Men: Apocalypse is a huge blockbuster movie with so much money behind it – what was the experience like being on set for something that is so big?
Carolina Bartczak: At first I will confess it was crazy intimidating. I kept having that high school nightmare that I would arrive on the first day and forget to put on pants and everyone would laugh at me. So I guess that nightmare doesn’t go away with age. But my actual experience was so different; I wore pants, and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. By the end, it felt like a big family.
Burns: Could you tell us a little bit about your experience working with Michael Fassbender – he’s really come to embody Magneto, honouring what came before while still finding new ground to cover?
Carolina Bartczak: Michael was one of my favourite actors ever, so when I found out I got the part i was beyond excited which was quickly followed by a minor panic attack. I was very very nervous and for the first day I had to pee every twenty minutes because of my nervousness. But as it turns out, he is one of the most caring and generous people and actors. He made me feel so comfortable and asked for my opinion on how we should work the scene and made the space to playful and creative.
I think the genius of Michael Fassbender is that his Magneto carries so much hurt and anger from the horrible events that have transpired in his life. On the other hand, there is also something so pure and caring in his eyes- you can see that there is goodness in his interpretation of Magneto. I don’t know how many actors could pull that off.
Burns: Bryan Singer is one of the great directors of his generation – how did you find working with him?
Carolina Bartczak: Working with Brian was such a cool experience. The Usual Suspects is one of my favourite films of all time and I think I told him that within the first 4.3 seconds of meeting him. He gave Michael and I so much room to experiment with the scenes and to take liberties and try different versions of the scene until we were able to find what worked best. It’s so amazing to have a director that will let you play around like that.
Burns: Since we’re talking mutants, we’ve got to ask, if you could have any mutant power, what would it be?
Carolina Bartczak: 100000% Magneto’s power to manipulate metal. I would rob banks of all their loonies and toonies and live on St Bart’s for the rest of my life. Hey, I didn’t say that I was responsible!
Burns: Do you have anything upcoming that you’d like to share with Biff Bam Pop!?
Carolina Bartczak: Right now I am submitting a film that I produced with some friends to festivals called Fox Trouble. It would be a dream come true if it made it into TIFF. I’m also trying to get my first feature off the ground!
Thanks again to Carolina taking the time to talk and share with us, and check out her performance as Magda in X-Men: Apocalypse.