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Katarzyna Figura


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Katarzyna Figura (born March 22, 1962) is a Polish actress. She is sometimes billed as "Kasia Figura", as in Prêt-à-Porter (Ready to Wear), Robert Altman's 1994 film.

Figura was born in Warsaw, Poland. She graduated from the former National Higher School of Theater in Warsaw and continued her studies at the Parisian Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique. She is one of the most recognized and popular actresses in the contemporary Polish film industry. Usually cast as blond bombshells, prostitutes, and wives of richmen, she has recently changed her image radically in favor of more mature characters, very often sorrowful and embittered.

She is still appearing in TV shows. For many years, she has been featured in single episodes of popular sitcoms, and she has regularly appeared in the show Witches (since 2005). In 2004, she made her come-back to theater after a long-term absence. Her role in Alina to the West by Pawel Miskiewicz in the Warsaw Drama Theater was highly regarded by the critics. She shaved her head for that role, consequently breaking from her sex symbol image.

Figura posed twice for the Polish edition of Playboy magazine (1994 and 2008).

Katarzyna Figura at the Internet Movie Database

More info: http://en.wikipedia....atarzyna_Figura



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  • 7 months later...

"I totally engross myself in the kitchen"

an interview with Katarzyna Figura

translated by Qball


November 17, 2006

Back in the theater after a long-time break, freed of her bombshell image, beginning a new stage in her career. A mother of three, Katarzyna Figura.

Michał Lenarciński: You said in one interview – to quote you word for word – "I don't give a shit about my image". What did you mean?

Katarzyna Figura: I certainly don't care about my image. My – pardon me – quite radical answer actually amused me later. I'm sorry for those words, but what I said referred to what's happening among us. I'm thinking about this frantic rush for superficial things. We're getting more and more concerned with not what's inside, but sliding on the surface of life and ourselves. And this has little to do with – to put it simply – most humane values that should be presented and talked about.

Do you really not care about your image?

In a sense, but not completely. After all, I meet people and represent something. But this obsession over plastic, the delight over some trendy canons outrages and scares me. And through my acting, at all costs, I would like to reach to more important and serious matters than the ones we see everyday.

But you used to play roles of naive, a little plastic girls and women.

I wasn't given any choice. It was only until two films: Ubu król and Żurek became turning points in my life and career. Thank God it's happened because otherwise, it'd probably be a disaster now [laughs].

Both roles came after a break – we hadn't seen you on screen for quite a while.

When I gave birth to my second child, I was 40 and I thought I'd never come back to acting anymore. That's when Ryszard Brylski called and offered me a part in Żurek. I was surprised and a little scared by the director's boldness – nobody had noticed such abilities in me before.

The film wasn't finished then, but two years later, Brylski made the offer again. And you decided to take it and play a degraded, miserable woman.

I've always had that courage. I've always tried, often vainly, to abandon the routine I fell in, or rather, the routine in which the directors saw me. Fortunately, I have a distance towards life and all that happens. And I think I should play something funny now, maybe even farcical.

Distance and courage made you shave your head. A bald Katarzyna Figura – that was a huge surprise.

A surprise also to Paweł Miśkiewicz and Piotr Uklasiński, people I did it for. Of course I did that for the roles in Alina na Zachód directed by Paweł and for the western called Summer Love directed by Piotr. I played women who became bald for different reasons. A bald woman is a special condition and that experiment was requisite to me.

Looking back, what do you think of your stay in Hollywood?

I've never been an emigrant, even though I had two houses – in Poland and abroad, my longest stay outside the country was six weeks. But I was there and I think I kept struggling with myself. I dare to claim that roles I've been taking recently, the roles I've been been awarded and appreciated for, wouldn't be made without my Hollywood episode. The language barriers and awful lots of shooting days provided some decent training for me. Without that, I would be different now, my acting would be different. I've gotten through decent schooling and those experiences have been paying off.

Getting back on your thoughts about quitting the job...

I thought I didn't want to pretend I was younger than I really was, that I wouldn't wait for the parts of attractive, busty blondes, because it had been my main job for years. I thought that if a child was going to be born and I had the chance to become their mom – since I didn't have that chance with my elder son, Aleksander – I decided to change my life. That's what happened. And I was considering the part in Żurek for a long time. And I think that this conflict between a tragic figure and me – happy like never before – helped me release almost desperate acting with which I created the character of Halina.

It was a brilliant role, but at the Gdynia festival you were awarded not for Halina, but for Ubica in Ubu król (both films were competing that year). I'll admit it was a surprise to me, but how did you take the jury's decision?

I was surprised. I couldn't hide it at the award show, because when it was announced I was getting the leading actress award, I was sure it was Żurek. And I was very surprised when I realized that it was Ubu. To avoid misunderstandings – I value both roles very much and I'm proud of them.

How have your fellow actors and actresses received the new Figura?

There are a few reasons for envy. I think they can definitely envy my courage, which I wish everyone had. I feel great in the Drama Theater team and I'm very happy to be able to work here after such a long break – especially as a full-time actress. I feel appreciated by Krystyna Janda, who offered me a monodrama in her theater. I was also appreciated by Andrzej Wajda (I acted in Zemsta) and Roman Polański, who was pleased with my distinct cameo in The Pianist.

How did your co-operation begin?

When I learned that Roman was going to shoot The Pianist in Poland, I called him and asked if he'd have something for me. Of course, he said ironically and spitefully that there was nothing for me there, because I look what I look like and I am what I am, and he laughed at me. But later, he called and said there was that tiny part, but he wasn't sure if I'd be willing to take it. And I said that in his film, I would take anything. And when I read my part, I was a bit surprised and the acting hurt. Maybe that's why it turned out so well? [Katarzyna Figura played the role of a ruthless antisemite]

You've played beautiful young women, inexperienced and stigmatized women, naturalistic and surrealistic roles – so, you must feel fulfilled as an actress?

Fulfilled. But that doesn't mean "filled to the full" [laughs].

You'll surely have plenty of roles to come. In private, you're a wife and a mother. How's that?

Great. The only thing I miss is sleep. Both girls keep me busy all the time. I've started doing charity work for the I Have a Dream foundation, which is my moral imperative. And I manage my household.

You play great parts in films and theaters, you don't appear in commercials or television shows, and you're dedicated to running your household. Would it be the same if you weren't financially stable?

I don't know. There's an undertone in this question – that Figura has a restaurant. Yes, we do run a restaurant in the Pasta house. This is my big passion – me, my husband and our partners dedicate lots of time and energy in it. We've put all our savings into this business, so it's not like it's only profit. It does give me a sense of stability, but it also tells me to fight for my promised land, as if. This is my future and the future of my family. Now, it's a different matter that I keep getting many acting offers and, for an actress, I get paid very well. I really didn't expect that. And I didn't plan it from the beginning of my 'second career', let's call it like that.

We know what you do in the theater and in the movies, but what do you do in the restaurant? Do you cook, do you do book-keeping? And can you cook?

I don't do book-keeping because I'm cross with numbers, though I know how to count. I cook like a true artist. I totally engross myself in the kitchen and that's fantastic. I actually think that cooking is close to acting – it's an art of cooking, after all, and people here tend to forget about it. There are recipes, of course, but the crucial thing is the final touch, that little bit of improvisation and the skill to swerve from the recipe, to give the thing your own unique shape. In our kitchen, I cook occasionally for marketing purposes.

Your favorite dish?

Chicken soup. For every single reason. I even make it for my babies at the crack of dawn [laughs]. Broth supports the immune system and protects us from all diseases. Well, OK, from many diseases. So I make chicken soup and broth-based soups passionately.

Kingdom for a kitchen?

I really like to let it all out in the kitchen. I like to ponder and I often prepare myself for the role in the kitchen. I always cook on Sundays, that's when we all meet – including my mom – for dinner at my place. We often have guests, too.

I understand these are home dinners, not in the restaurant?

Of course they're made at home, though it can be quite an effort, especially when I have an evening performance.

What did you serve last time?

I made pasta with frutti di mare. And, of course, chicken soup.

What's up in the acting department? Any rehearsals, new movie scripts?

We're beginning theatrical rehearsals for Ibsen's Peer Gynt, directed by Paweł Miśkiewicz. There's going to be a new season of Weather for Friday, I'm also reading scripts looking for interesting parts. And I'm waiting for a farce play.

At what moment in life are you currently?

At a wonderful one.


Katarzyna Figura doesn't conceal her age and admits in public of her 44 years of age. It's been 21 years since her theatrical debut and 30 years since her film debut. At the age of 14, she played an episode in Zginął pies by Zofia Ołdak. Before appearing in her most famous movie – A Train to Hollywood by Radosław Piwowarski – she appeared in Kingsajz by Juliusz Machulski, Piggate, Panny i wdowy, Wrzeciono czasu, Ajlawju and other films. She also played parts in a few foreign films, such as Pret-a-Porter or Voices in the Garden.

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