Top Slovenia Interview: Sebastian Cavazza

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Sebastian Cavazza is one of Slovenia‘s best known actors, who has appeared in dozens of films (both Slovenian and international) since making his debut in 1991, and is also a frequent presence on the stage in Ljubljana. We recently caught up with him for a short chat about his career, the industry he loves and much more.

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What is the best part of acting? Is it just a job for you?

First of all, acting has to be a true passion for the actor, since it’s also a way of life, not only a job. Schedules are often very tight, there is a lot of travelling and adapting to new creative approaches of various filmmakers. The best part of acting is the storytelling and discovering interesting characters.

What is the hardest part of your job?

It all depends on the project you are working on. Usually, a day on the set lasts for twelve hours, so you are away from your family most of the time, anyhow. But if the shooting takes place in a distant foreign country, the chances of seeing your loved ones on a weekly or even monthly basis are really low. If the budget of the movie allows for costly travel expenses, then you might afford to bring them along with you, or you can fly them over from time to time, but that’s rarely the case. So, yeah – at the end of the day, learning the lines isn’t that hard, compared to the feeling of being homesick.

We can imagine that being an actor is a difficult job at times? How do you relax?

Usually, we relax before we step on stage or in front of the camera lenses. Everybody has his technique of doing it. Whatever works for an individual is good enough.

There are many acting techniques in the world. Which has been the biggest influence on you?

Eventually, all the modern acting techniques were derived from Stanislavsky’s system. So, Strasberg’s, Stella Adler’s, Uta Hagen’s or Ned Manderino’s methods are only the heritage of great Stanislavsky’s work. I combine all of them, therefore I could say I’m using my own technique, which could be compared to MMA in martial arts. I mix them in a way that’s most suitable for me.  

Since your dad, Boris Cavazza, is a huge actor in Slovenia, do you feel extra pressure following in his footsteps?

He’s a huge actor, not only in Slovenia, but also across the Balkans. I never even tried to follow or achieve his enormous acting success, because I have my own path in life, as well as in my acting career.

How many movies and plays have you been in? Is there perhaps one project that sticks out?

By now, I have acted in more than 70 roles on stage and more than 60 on film and TV. There are another 40 titles in the dubbing of animated movies and more than 50 in various radio plays. All the parts I did, find a special place in my memories. I had the chance and privilege to play in 15 different foreign languages, mostly as a native speaker. I was never dubbed for those roles, so these characters might stick out a bit.

Which genre is your favourite to act or perform in?

I don’t care that much about different genres, since I already tried myself in most of them. What I’m always looking forward to is good writing for theatre or a screenplay that gives me goosebumps.

You performed in many classic plays in your career in theatres around the world. Which is your all-time favourite?

Othello, Oedipus, and King Lear.

A similar question perhaps, but which play or performance in Slovenian theatre has inspired you the most?

It was a play called The Pitchfork Disney by Philip Ridley, directed by Bojan Jablanovec, in the Slovenian National Theatre of Ljubljana. It positively shocked me. I envied all the actors that were a part of it. Especially Jernej Šugman, who was my great friend and a great actor. His death shocked us all. He left a huge gap in Slovenian theatre and had an enormous impact on me, as an actor.

Which director have you enjoy working with the most?

There were several, I couldn’t even remotely decide for one name only.

You’ve recently been filming in Serbia. What’s the biggest difference between working in Ljubljana and Belgrade?

There, they are constantly shooting at least 25 different projects at a time, whereas in Ljubljana we are barely fighting to get the government to agree with the financial plan for the past year. In between, we shot only one movie and two TV series.

The Slovenian film industry is currently facing many challenges. What do you see for it in the future?

Honestly? The Slovenian film industry has been struggling to survive for over 30 years. There’s no political stamina to solve this problem. Every government was constantly cutting the finances for the film industry, so it’s hard for me to say what would save it. We can already see the results of big players, such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, which are determining mainstream TV and filmmaking across the world. We cannot cope with the budgets they have. Therefore a strong national film industry, which needs at least some understanding from the political leaders, not to mention the financial support of the country, is a must.

To finish on a more positive note, any new and exciting projects you are currently working on?

I was recently shooting a mystery TV series in Belgrade. I keep my fingers crossed that everything is going to turn out ok, especially with this pandemic situation, so it can be finished on time. Otherwise, I’m also negotiating a few other projects across Europe and waiting for some new challenges in near future.