Fast Confession - Actress from the show Anatomie života Barbora Černá: Schwarzenegger told me I was lovely
Although Barbora Černá has been involved in acting since primary school and has a number of roles under her belt, viewers have only now taken notice of her thanks to the recently finished TV Nova series Anatomie života (Anatomy of Life), where she plays the role of a withdrawn nurse, Emma Zárubová. In an interview for LP-Life.com, however, the young actress talked about her career as an actress in commercials, where she stood alongside not only Brad Pitt, but also Arnold Schwarzenegger, her twin Lucie and the dark and bright aspects of Czech fame.
What is it like to watch yourself on TV every Tuesday?
It's true that this is the biggest part I have been given so far. In fact, I'm not too hyped about it when I'm watching myself, I do it mainly to know what to do differently, what works and what doesn't. I prefer to be alone and take notes in my head. Overall, I approach this with gratitude and humility. Suddenly getting into such a team was a form of pressure, the role was difficult and interesting, also because of the prostitution scenes. All of it was a really great experience.
What was the reaction of your family and people around you? The series had really high viewership.
It does. Of course, I'm glad that in the north in Lovosice, where I come from, I received a nice support. My mom is a popular hairdresser with the largest salon in the city, which sees many clients, often from more distant cities too. So she knows about everything that's going on in the city. Through her, I often get beautiful feedback, which I really appreciate. But I don't resist criticism either, when it's constructive and doesn't come from anonymous people on the internet. At the same time, it's a pity that we are not continuing when the viewership has just started to pick up. But maybe it's the way it should be. After all, endless shows are a bit out of fashion now.
You played the role of a single mother who was earning extra money by prostitution. Many people often have the impression that it's like this in reality too. Do you have such feedback too?
I do. A lot of men message me that they would like to support me financially. There is definitely a tendency for people to confuse fiction with reality, but one has to move past it with a smile.
With a big role, the door to new roles opens...
Yeah, it works that way, and I'm grateful for any new opportunities. Although I really enjoyed playing Emma, I'm looking forward to new characters, a new grasp on roles. But I won't talk about anything specific now, because it's bad luck, and nothing has been confirmed one hundred percent yet anyway.
You worked with great actresses like Jitka Schneiderová, Martina Preissová. Did they give you any acting advice, did they have that tendency at all?
They both had a very kind approach to me. I was a young girl who came to an interesting team. I asked them myself to mentor me when they needed to. Strictly and without any reservation. Later I found out that they liked this attitude and somehow it overall worked out well. But the point is that a series generally is shot at a very fast pace, and there's not much room to learn anything in depth. I'm happy for the hands-on experience, which I might be drawing from forever, and continue to build on it.
Can you be more specific?
It's mostly things that the actor somehow knows instinctively, but only with better practice will one finally start polishing them more precisely, which is very important for a film production. You need to really act out everything for the camera, and get rid of the tendency to act it in a huddled way just for yourself. Dozens of different techniques are used for this. For this role, it was sometimes a challenge to listen not only to the staff, but also to the professional doctors, who advised us on how to correctly hold a syringe or the individual tools so that we would also look as authentic as possible. When there is a lot of information at once, you're happy when someone reminds you even of a basic thing, such as turning your head to the camera, which is sometimes what matters the most.
You studied at a school abroad, you also acted there. Have you ever thought of staying there? And maybe meeting Brad Pitt again?
I wasn't sure for a while. All these moments when I met Brad Pitt or Arnold Schwarzenegger...
You met Arnold too?
Yes, I shot an ad with him too.
What did you shoot?
An advertising project that went to Asia for a video game. I've been playing all sorts of video games since I was a child, so it was great. I acted in the scene with my sister again, we were the twin "bodyguards" of Arnold, which is a very funny idea. We had fake machine guns, things exploded there, really a giant sci-fi advertisement.
It didn't air here all?
No, not at all, it only aired in Asia. When I was in Japan, I saw it, but I think they cut us out of the ad in the end. There were an awful lot of people and stories. Although they may have used it in the end, I don't know. I only saw one version of the ad where I didn't see myself.
When was it filmed?
About five years ago.
You were already twenty.
Yes, at nineteen or twenty. I think I was already twenty.
So you already had to know who Schwarzenegger was, unlike with Brad Pitt, when you had no idea how famous he was...
Yes, I knew it.
What did you ask him?
It was really insane at the time. They never say in advance that there is going to be such a star until the morning of the shoot. Everyone had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, no photos were allowed. The producers were insanely nervous that Arnold would be there and if everything would go well. The extras were told that they were forbidden to address him or photograph him. They stressed them so much, I witnessed that when Arnold passed them and greeted them, they didn't even greet him back because they were afraid to do anything at all. This is the dark side of such a big shoot, where the whole process is really unnecessarily intense.
But it was a fun shoot. My sister and I ran from one trench to another, firing a fake machine gun until we always got to a station near him. He then looked at the shots and said we were lovely. So Arnold actually said about me that I was lovely (laughs).
Did you want to stay there?
Both commercials were shot in Prague, afterwards I traveled only because of my studies. But England was too rainy for me. I just wanted to finish my studies there and then possibly move on to somewhere else. During my studies, however, I quickly realized the values we have here in the Czech Republic. Although I'm an adventure seeker and I will always like travelling, during the trips one also becomes more and more aware of the quality of life we have here in the Czech Republic.
And your sister?
She is now in the Erasmus Programme in Switzerland. She's at the stage I was in during my first year of studies in England, which was amazing. It's said that when you go abroad, you are ecstatic for the first six to eight months before it returns to normal. Now I can exactly feel it from my sister that she has this sort of travel fever in Switzerland. God knows how it's going to turn out for her, but I think she'll be coming back.
Does she still act, too?
Is she doing as well as you, such big roles?
I think she's doing well. Two years ago, she played the lead role in the fairy tale The True Knight. Last year, she made the film Prvok, Šampon, Tečka a Karel, where she played a rather significant supporting role alongside Hynek Čermák.
You are twins. Would you like to star together in a movie?
I don't know if I can talk about it yet. But maybe something like that is in the works. I hope it works out, because it's always been our dream. But even if it doesn't work out now, I still firmly hope that sometime in the future it will, that we will act somewhere together and it will be mainly about us, about our personal concept of the twin phenomenon.
But it already became quite easy to tell you apart.
We are very easy to tell apart. It's weird, once you change the environment, the change is suddenly in everything. One starts to have different grimaces, gestures, it even manifests in some strange way on the outside. One changes their path, and becomes a little different. But we still have the connection, we always call each other, we still have similar dreams. But at the same time, we both learned how to be apart. Somehow there is also less time now too, so I hope that if this project gets realized, we'll be together again a bit more.
In an interview, you said that you were a split personality when it came to acting, writing. Have you settled down now, do you know what you will do in life as your main occupation?
Because, now that you had the role in Anatomy, you're getting new offers. I believe that it can at least settle a person mentally.
In fact, it probably really settled me a bit. I say I'm split in the sense that I like more things at once. But I think a lot of people have it like this, it's not just me and it's nothing particularly interesting. I know that acting is my passion, in a way I believe that it is also my mission, or let's just say what I feel best while doing. Then there's writing that I really enjoy. At the same time, I believe that writing and acting are more related than they may seem. From a storytelling point of view, writing can push an actor to an even more interesting development. So probably yes, being decided is fine, but at the same time, I hope that any resolute decision won't cause me to lose things that make me feel good.
Are there any other things besides writing?
Travelling, pottery, singing…
Speaking of travelling, how did you spend the past covid year? In addition to shooting.
I have to admit that it was a very difficult year for me. Overall, I feel very claustrophobic now and I'm looking forward to being able to fly somewhere, when I have the opportunity. This big job, for which I am, of course, grateful, because a lot of people have lost their jobs, and the inability to travel, has made me focus only on a certain mix of responsibilities, which caused me to feel sort of stressed over time. And sometimes I don't even realize that I can switch off for a while, maybe go to the forest or to the sea and take a breath. And in the midst of it all my grandfather died at the end of August. It's been a tough year.
You come from Lovosice, how long have you lived in Prague?
I was here for three years before I went to England. I came back from England in March, so I've been here for a little over a year now.