It was past midnight when Zuzana Kronerová arrived here in Trenčianske Teplice, straight from the set of her upcoming film with Czech director Alice Nellis. This afternoon at the Bridge of Fame, the brilliant actress will accept the Actor’s Mission Award. Your latest film “The Beloved” was screened at Cannes this year. Why didn’t you attend?
I would have loved to make an appearance at the prestigious festival and meet with Catherine Deneuve, Miloš Forman and the lovely French director Christophe Honoré. I was moved when he and the producer of “The Beloved” invited the Czech film crew and actors. Alice Nellis and the rest of the “Perfect Days” production team did their best to allow me to attend, but the scenes’ demands prevented us from postponing shooting.
How did Honoré discover you?
He saw my previous Czech films and, as he told me, he liked them. I was contacted by Negativ, a company who’ve produced Bohdan Sláma’s films for years, and were now co-producing “The Beloved”. They sent me the script, which struck me as interesting, and invited me to a meeting with the director. Christophe Honoré welcomed me by saying he didn’t so much need a good actress as a good cook. I was told I had to teach my French daughter-in-law how to prepare traditional Czech cuisine, like potato dumplings. And I responded, “You’re in luck, as I happen to be an excellent cook.”
Audiences fell in love with your character in the trilogy “Infidelity, Slovak Style”. What was it like working with Juraj Jakubisko?
Marvellous. We’d even rehearse individual scenes at our accommodations in Brezno, like a theatre performance, and he ended up “inserting” me into shots where originally I wasn’t even supposed to appear. What I didn’t like was the demeaning attitude of certain segments of the film crew towards the director. At that point Jakubisko was shooting his first film after a roughly nine-year ban, and it drove me up the wall when certain people didn’t respect him or appreciate his talent. Naturally, I made myself heard.
Is there a director who you enjoy working with above all others?
With regard to film, my heart belongs to Bohdan Sláma, who I’m also close friends with. I’ve also come to like Alice Nellis, who I worked with on “Perfect Days”.
Fifteen years ago, your father Jozef Kroner received the Actor’s Mission Award. What did you think when you heard you’d won it as well?
I was surprised and greatly pleased. What is a bit sad and paradoxical, however, is that in my case the award is for Czech films, not Slovak ones, at least if you look at the last twenty years. But I still take great joy in the prize, and appreciate it deeply.
What do awards mean to you?
My constant concern is that what I do has a purpose. Certainly as an actor, you enjoy every award you receive. It provides a certain satisfaction and warms the heart. But many of your projects don’t win awards, despite the feeling that they were of high quality, that they resonated with audiences. Working on them had a purpose. And that’s important to me.