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Romuald Andrzej Klos - actor

Interview

Prior to the release of The Passion, Italian audiences will be given the opportunity to see Klos in Claudio Bondi’s historical De reditu

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by Federico Greco and Miriam Tola

With his scull-like features and staring eyes, Romuald Klos had no problem in being cast by Mel Gibson as the Flagellator in The Passion, the epic that the Australian-American actor is directing in Cinecittà right now. For the Polish-born Klos, a practising Catholic, this film represents a major stepping stone to what he hopes will be the fulfilment of a life-long dream: to play Jesus Christ.
The 46-year-old former architect who became an actor was discovered by Peter Del Monte (La ballata dei lavavetri). He came to Italy where he played the blind abbot in Pupi Avati’s I Cavalieri Che Fecero L’Impresa. Andrea Porporati cast him in Il Sole Negli Occhi and Nina di Majo in Inverno.
Prior to the release of The Passion, Italian audiences will be given the opportunity to see Klos in Claudio Bondi’s historical De reditu (The Return), about a pagan pilgrimage made by a man called Rutlilius in Imperial Rome. Klos also stars in Radio West (FM 97), the directorial debut by Alessandro Valori and co-starring Pier Giorgio Bellocchio.

Your arrival in Italy coincides with the start of your film career...
“It does. In the eighties, I spent time in Italy and started getting small parts in major films like Liliana Cavani’s Francesco. I then joined my family in Canada. I date my debut proper to Peter Del Monte’s La ballata dei lavavetri. He discovered me by chance in a discotheque and his crew encouraged me every step of the way: they liked my spontaneity which is every actor’s best secret weapon. Filmmaking is an art, a God-given talent. It is also a way of expressing my faith and I bear witness to the Lord’s message to as many people as I can after his miraculous discovery of me seven years ago.”

The auditions for The Passion were packed out. How on earth did you manage to convince Mel Gibson?
“I learned of the auditions from Deodato, my agent. I presented myself without having a prior appointment but I was the last in the queue and was seriously scared of not getting to meet Gibson. So I knelt down and started to pray. Right there in front of everyone. And my prayers were answered. Mel Gibson went so far as to mention my resemblance to John Malkovich.”

Tell us about the characters you play in De Reditu (The Return) and Radio West (FM 97).
"I play a crude and greedy man in Claudio Bondi. I am the captain of the ship that is carrying Rutilius, the star of the film who is played by Elia Schilton. Compared to him, a man who lives in a world of his own, I am a realist and very venal with it. In Radio West (FM) I appear in the opening scene as an old Serb whom the star of the film, an Italian soldier on a humanitarian mission to the country, tries to convince to leave his home. The old man is so desperate that he attacks the soldier without any warning. "

What is new in the Polish film panorama?
"We have lots of coming new directors in Poland but the market is opening up, as demonstrated by Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Quo Vadis. This film cost Euros18m, an impossibly high amount of money for Poland a few short years ago. Another new phenomenon is that of actors who work abroad. Aside from myself, we have Kasia Smutniak, the young actress in Radio West (FM 97). We are also getting higher salaries: a few years ago, a Warsaw agency told me I’d earn 70 per cent of what I am earning in Italy. Good news. "

Have you had many offers from Poland
"I have. Krzysztof Zanussi called me about his forthcoming film. I haven’t seen the script yet but I know that one of the producers is Italian. "