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The dream of making it big in film is my most fervent desire

For most TV viewers, actor Pavel Shuvaev is, above all, Maj. Sergey Mayskiy of the MID (Main Intelligence Directorate) on the show Track, but what many don’t know is that, besides that, Pavel is a rock musician and the leader of the band «OddisS». In spite of his very busy schedule, the actor-musician delightfully chatted with journalist Evgeniy Kudryats and had the time to talk about his many interests.

– Pavel, We’ll start with the most burning question. The question that’s got everybody worried. Will Maj. Mayskiy be in the new season of Track?

– Hello, Evgeniy! Yes, as everyone has already noticed by now, Sergey Mikhailovich Mayskiy will once again appear in the new season (in the beginning, at least) to please and capture viewers with his attention-grabbing antics. Along with his colleagues on the project, of course. There’s been some good scenarios lately … so, I think there will be a lot of interesting things. We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but until New Years, I think Mayskiy will be in Track.

– The last time we talked, you admitted that because of being so busy with Track, OddisS had practically broken up. What’s going on today? And if you can, be more specific about your musical work in particular.

– Yeah, it was kind of like that…but, somehow I’ve managed to collect myself physically and spiritually and practically start from the beginning. I now clearly know the kind of band I want OddisS to be and now we have a completely new lineup. It was hard, of course, to find like-minded people, or even just dependable people I could trust, but with God’s help, it all worked out and for that I am infinitely grateful. Now we’ve got a really friendly group of guys and moreover, from a professional standpoint, a group of some highly skilled musicians. Our keyboardist only has to pick up a few more things. Throughout the winter and fall we played a string of shows around Russia; namely, Samara, St. Petersburg and Moscow, and all summer (and even now) we are getting ready to record our second album, under the working title «Star». So, the second album is to be named modestly and tastefully. (OddisS’ first album was titled «Young Gods») Working on new songs always brings the group together and builds up energy and that’s very important for us right now. Well, we’re preparing for our fall concerts also, of course. So, everything is going entirely smoothly for the group.

– One of the sites I read said that at one time you were kicked out of one of the theatrical institutes. You don’t want to say the name, but can you nevertheless tell me the reason of your expulsion?

- Well, they write a lot of things on these sites! I don’t want to, excuse me, make things worse all over again, but about the Institute…uh…how could I say this a little more precisely without being wrong? It just didn’t work out somehow…I’ll just add that there were no criminal incidents or scandals of any kind. Just like my dad says, «A troublemaker is what you are, Pavel!» But everything with the Institute ended in a good way. No worries. Although not having an acting degree…now, this sometimes saddens me. It would be sitting on the mantle…if only some of those babblers would keep their mouths shut from time to time! 

- As it says on one of those sites, you graduated from Oleg Bozhenko’s private acting school and were one of the leading actors of the New Drama theater. That happened in the 2000’s. Are you able to recall that time and those roles that you played?

- I’ll correct you right away- The acting school of Alena Alekseevna Rozhenko. The theater was the New Adam. And I was there from 1999 to 2002-2003. The teaching there was very much in the style of Art house. The leading actors were taught the metropolitan styles of theater (as in the theatrical style of Roman Viktyuk) and we practiced a lot of these consecutively. Everything was mixed up together. This experiment went on constantly and was never at a standstill like repertory theaters. The viewers liked it, we performed solidly and, on the whole, everything went great. Having become the leading actor of New Adam after the training course, and simultaneously its’ art director, I then developed a serious profession for myself. I would say one of my biggest accomplishments was performing at the rock-festival «Wings» with the group «Crematorium», since we were the first in Russia to put on a theatrical rock show on such a level. The costumes were provided by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich and Egor Zaitsevy. The cast of NewAdam was made up predominately of men, but the act itself was often structured around one beautiful, young actress. We invited various girls for each spectacle, although some of them collaborated with us for a long time. It was all fun and romantic. We were also drinking together, of course…

- Other than «Track», the following films are also in your filmography: House of Fools (2002), Advocate 2 (2005), The Silent Witness (2007), Game (2008) and Cruise (2010) (the last of which hasn’t come out yet). How did Pavel Shuvaev become a movie actor? Please tell us a little about your film roles.

- How did I become a movie actor? Hmm … «Really how did I? And have I become one?» – I sometimes think, looking back in those rare moments of enlightenment. «If you really wanted to, you could fly in space!» – I think so! But there’s still much, much, much more work needed…and strength…faith…and searching… disappointment and even depression…but, all in all, you got to be true to yourself. I haven’t had any big roles in the ‘big time’ theater yet, so it’s kind of a stretch to call me a «movie actor». Although the format of filmmaking has shifted much more to the style of TV shows, thanks to the quality Western examples of this genre, I’m beginning to think that this could make sense. But, the dream of making it big in film is my most fervent desire! So, it’s really meaningless for me to talk about the roles, because really I’ve held myself accountable for all of them and will continue to do so as much as possible.

 - What kind of literature do you prefer?

- Basically, I prefer to read periodicals, on the subway, on the way to the set or back from it. And literature? Lately now, I have been interested in philosophical-religious books. And historical documentaries. I have a lot to master when it comes to technical literature in relation to loving my car and fixing it up to my own liking. Fiction – sometimes Hunter S. Thompson at bedtime, and sometimes Eduard Limonov. I leaf through poetry from time to time. But I pretty much don’t have neither the time nor the strength to get caught up in reading something. My job and my band take up all my time. But books have always had a big place in my life and as soon as I get the chance to lie down with a good book on my favorite couch, I’ll do so with enormous pleasure. I won’t even go outside!

- Which recent movies have strongly impressed you?

- Of the recent movies that I’ve seen, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and kind of more recently, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The former is an awesome adventure movie, wonderfully shot, to watch it is to enjoy yourself. The latter I just liked it a whole lot, so to say that it made a strong impression on me…Well, here’s the deal, just like with books, I don’t have any time. And really I’m not much of a moviegoer. Cinema now interests me more as a process, one in which I, in some way or another, participate. I’m always curious to see and guess how this or that scene was shot. I watch all the film crews abroad on the set and this I find it really interesting to see this process of how people work over there. One of the recent Russian movies I really enjoyed was We are from the Future 2. I haven’t seen such good battle scenes in a long time, even from Hollywood, well, maybe except for the ones in Rambo 4. There is, by the way, one more film I incredibly enjoyed and watched 5 times. Being that I can clearly tell when it’s CGI and when it’s difficult stuntman work, the graphics and the all the other fancy 3D tricks don’t impress me at all, so I didn’t go crazy over Avatar and I really didn’t even watch it. But my most favorite movie of all at the moment would have to be Taras Bulba directed by Vladimir Bortko. (NOTE: Not to be confused with the 1962 American adaptation of the novel, which featured Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis) And again, because of work, I haven’t had time to go see The Expendables. I’ll buy the DVD and I’m sure it will be just as cool to watch it at home. Stallone knows what he’s doing!

- Do you prefer to vacation in Russia or outside the country?

- I like to vacation wherever it’s nice, I guess, if I would have the time and a lot of money. I still have not ever vacationed outside the country; those trips to Turkey or Egypt and everything’s included do not interest me. I can’t lay drunk on the beach like a vegetable. In three days, I would be as dark as black man. Besides, I absolutely love to be surrounded by the Slavic-European community. Without knowing the language in Europe, there’s no use trying to understand anything, so I vacation in Crimea and Ukraine. A little backpack with my gentlemen’s kit: a pair of ripped jeans, some money, condoms, a bottle opener, cigarettes, a bottle of beer, a can of sprats, my sneakers, shorts, a straw hat and we’re off! A couple days here, a few days there and 2 weeks have flown by in a breeze. And what are you gonna see, lying there on the beach? Although, using my time off from filming here in this summer, I unexpectedly did find myself right on the beach at a film festival at Tuapse on the Black Sea, where, yeah, we drank some beer and ate some crawfish. You wouldn’t ever leave that festival. As it was ending and everybody was leaving, a few friends and I hung out on the shore for nearly another week. Now that there was a vacation!

- In your opinion, do you feel that the economic crisis is over?

- Ha-ha! On Track, it started from the first day of the show and, most likely, it will go on until the end. Ha-ha…As far as my family is concerned: we never got fat until the crisis. My mom and dad are a long way from retirement and my brother has his own family and works alone, so we just get by however we can. For example, I have not been able to put the finishing touches on my little UAZ for four months because of a little money. But, on the whole, it’s really difficult to form an opinion about the crisis while spending the past four years sitting here in Moscow, filming for weeks on end. There has always been a lot of money here, but the Muscovites don’t have it, of course…Beer has gone up in price, obviously. Yeah. When we drove around Russia on our Winter-Spring tour, all of these negative processes could be seen more clearly. But in Ukraine, it was real bad, even in Kiev. Maybe now somewhere it’s getting better but as they say, until I see it for myself, I won’t hear it…

- And the last question is the traditional one. What are you plans for the future and for 2011?

- I don’t make plans anymore beyond next week, and if I do, they’re extremely contingent. Nothing works out the way you plan. It seems to me that the older you get, the more you become aware of this. I don’t consider it wise to be screaming for the Earth’s gravitational pull to sway in your favor because your problematic plans are not working out. Something else will curse you. I can only shoot for a few indefinite objectives.
1) To play more shows with OddisS. Maybe, we’ll head out to tour Russia and Ukraine?
2) To finish recording and perform the second album. And again, play some more concerts.
3) To work on a movie with Spielberg. Or with Cameron, maybe? Or at the very least, with Mikhalkov? This will be a difficult decision to make. Ah…
4) To finally buy that expensive, Japanese, high-quality optical scope for my carbine rifle after all.
5) To make a million (Rubles, at least!)
6) To once and for all finish fixing up my UAZ and begin showing it off mercilessly.
7) To quit drinking. Of course, this is to be discussed…
8) Well and also, to wish that you, my dear readers and viewers, will all be alright! I’ll be invoking health and good fortune.
I, henceforth, take my leave.
Glory to us all! Yours truly, Pavel Shuvaev

 Evgeniy Kudryats

(translated by Mikhail Mullin)