After the screening of Love Possibly that I attended a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to speak to the leading lady, Anna Danshina. We had a chat about Love Possibly, how she got into acting and what she’s been up to recently. Anna was born in Siberia in Russia and grew up in St. Petersburg. She is a graduate of Oxford University and was a President of the Oxford University Russian Society. She lives in London with her husband Formula One engineer Paddy Lowe. She’s picked up an armful of awards for her role of Lana in the film.
Firstly, congratulations on winning four awards for your role in Love Possibly. What does it mean to you to get this kind of recognition?
Thank you very much! To be honest, I was really surprised when I won the first award. Actually, I thought it was a joke! When Che our director messaged me from LA, I thought he was just having fun with me! I hadn’t seen the final film and didn’t realise it was so good. We finished it two years ago, and I didn’t have great expectations. When we won the second award, then the third I realised there was something about Love Possibly. When I watched it the first time, I realised that the Directors, the cast, crew and all the team had created a great story.
I’m really really glad that our work has been appreciated by jury members in many countries. It really makes me feel glad because it’s a British film. It has been made in Britain, the cast is international but it’s still a British film. I’m really glad that the audience in Britain, and elsewhere have enjoyed the film. We’ve received lots of awards in the United States, an award in Russia. We’ve been chosen for the main competition in Russia at the Sochi International Film Festival which is a really big and prestigious festival. I’m really glad that the film is successful, it makes me feel really proud!
You should be, it’s a brilliant film!
To be honest, my favourite moment was at the Catalina Film Festival because the whole ceremony was at the Avalon Cinema Theatre which was the first in the world designed for films with sound! It’s a really amazing building, and we were on the stage in the evening with very famous actors. It was like a dream to be called on the stage after Academy Award Winners. I felt like I was in a dream.
So Love Possibly was part-funded by Kickstarter – do you think it’s a good way to fund movies? Do you think it’s something we’ll see more of in the future?
I think it’s a great way to fund a film because sometimes the public knows better about the kind of film they want to see. So it’s already building confidence that you’re creating the film for somebody who really wants to watch it. We had a really modest budget, so I was really grateful to everyone for contributing who had a belief in this film.
I really wish all new filmmakers were as good as our Directors. It was their first feature film – they didn’t give up, they had a great idea and they really wanted to make it work. Because it can be really wonderful if you don’t have much experience or much money. If you have passion and a great team it can work very well. Perhaps even better than if you have lots of money! There are so many examples where you have a hundred million dollar budget and the film isn’t so great. Sometimes just a strong idea and no money can actually be much better!
What was it like working with two Directors?
It was really fun! They are very good friends and I have to say for me, the whole filming process was very smooth. The atmosphere was really great, it was like a big family. Sometimes I had a feeling there was a little bit of tension between them. They are both very creative so the co-operation worked really well.
There were a few moments when I was looking at them and thinking there might be something going on and there could be an argument. It didn’t happen, however, sometimes I thought we were really on the edge! But you know, any team can have tension, but I think it’s great that they kept this partnership throughout the film, through post-production and they are still great friends. It’s really great to be with them.
Did you model your character Lana on anyone in particular?
I have to say that we spent a lot of time developing the characters. We worked hard with the Directors. I think with this film it’s key having well-developed characters – if you really invest in them then everything else runs really smoothly. Because you understand what your character’s story is, and it’s very easy to deliver a believable performance.
It was my first feature film since I graduated from the Drama Centre, London. We had a lot of training in devising your characters and developing them. So I spent a lot of time working with the Directors and on my own to build Lana using the methods that I acquired during my drama training. I’m really grateful to my teachers for actually giving me the skills which I then used for this project.
You were born in Siberia and grew up in St. Petersburg – what was it like coming over to England and studying at Oxford?
Well I came here 7 years ago (I think!) – time really flies! I received a scholarship to study Russian Politics and Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. It was a completely different career that I had before. It was an amazing experience because I always wanted to study at Oxford – it was my dream! I wanted to pursue it.
I graduated and stayed in Britain because I got married and my husband is British. It was after that I decided to change my career completely. I was always passionate about acting but I never imagined it could be my main career. I thought “I need to try it” because I feel so much passion for it. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work but it’s better to have a go. So I went to the Drama Centre London, and I didn’t think they’d accept me – it was just an adventure! But they did! It was such a surprise for me, it felt so strange! And that’s how it all began!
What do you think sets Love Possibly apart from other Rom Coms?
Hmm – that’s very interesting. I mean the genre of ‘Rom Com’ is a quite a specific one. I think in some ways we have tried to follow it. On the other hand because it’s a mockumentary we tried to create drama that is real. So, it’s funny, very light and warm-hearted. At the same time, there are a lot of moments which we tried to create a real story within the relationships where people could believe that it could actually happen. Therefore the audience can relate to it.
I think it’s one of the reasons our film became a success because in this romantic comedy with a real story, which is truly believable. I’m not really a film critic, so it’s hard for me to say, but it’s a unique film!
What’s next for you?
So I’ve just finished shooting another feature film which is called ‘Break’. It’s got a great cast including Rutger Hauer, Luke Mably and Jamie Foreman. It’s going to be released next year and we wrapped a couple of weeks ago – the director is Michael Elkin. I’m really excited about this film it was a strong project. This Sunday we just finished filming a play – it’s a Greek play by Sophocles called Ajax. I was playing Odysseus. We were filming it to participate in a festival in Cyprus and we’re hoping that it will be accepted.
I’m trying to work in both films and theatre because I really enjoy both genres – I can’t say which I enjoy more! I’ve been trained as a screen actress but I still love theatre as well. So I hope the people in Cyprus can see our play!
Thank you, Anna, for your time!.
Thank you so much!
You can read my review of Love Possibly here.