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The actress about her work, children and relationship to politics

Fast Confession - Lenka Krobotová: I wish to find joy in life

Nela Štefanová
17.Jan 2020
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7 minutes

Lenka Krobotová is a popular Czech actress, holder of the Czech Lion, a member of the Dejvice Theater Ensemble, and also the daughter of director Miroslav Krobot and actress Hana Doulová. She has recently finished filming a new crime series in which, in her own words, she managed to fulfill one of her dreams. Our conversation began quite early in the morning, yet she arrived full of energy, with a smile on her lips. She talked to not only about how she perceives her two sons' growing up, but also about her opinions on gender equality or freedom in our country.

Lenka je krásná žena.
Na filmovém festivalu v Karlových Varech
Lenka během natáčení seriálu Zrádci

Lenka, what did the past year bring you?

First of all, I've been working on a mini-series called Traitors for half a year, where I play a police analyst who gets involved in various unexpected events, including those of an illegal nature. My husband in the series was portrayed by my colleague David Novotný, whom I'd already met during shooting several times in the past and we also know each other well from our rich cooperation in the Dejvice Theater, so it really was a time well spent. In addition, I got to work with Vašek Neužil, and Cyril Dobrý also appears in a big role.

For me as an actress it meant a large scale of various layers of acting, I was very excited about the script by Miro Šifra. Right now, I'm working on an audiobook and in February, I should start rehearsing a new production at the Dejvice Theater. Even though we have only two new inscenations a year, we often go on tours and take part in scenic readings, book launches and so on. But at the moment, I'm doing a lot of postproduction work on Traitors. And naturally, I devote a lot of time to my children. There's always something going on.

Prodej bytu 2+kk (3+kk), Praha 3 Žižkov - 69m2
Prodej bytu 2+kk (3+kk), Praha 3 Žižkov - 69m2, Praha 3

I learned that you like Nordic detective stories…

Yes, very much. And in fact, you could say that the role of the Commissioner in the aforementioned series was, in a way, a dream come true for me. It was a huge reward - to be part of such a project.

In what ways has the role of Commissioner been difficult for you? Did you also have to go through some kind of physical training?

In part, yes, we were talking about how to behave in a critical situation, what to do in particular intervention cases. I've also learned how to handle weapons. But what I liked most was trying out various acting situations. With the director and other actors, we devoted a lot of time to the screenplay, revealing the inner workings of the characters and contemplating about the possibilities of interpreting each situation. This work is always very interesting and for me it is also an entertaining process.

Can you imagine that you're not acting anymore and have a different profession instead?

Yes, I can. Taking into consideration the many years of experience - even in terms of family management - I think I would be a good producer, for example. (laughs) I would also like to work in the journalism sector, or pursue foreign languages.

Do you see big differences in the position of men and women in our society? In which areas?

What I notice above anything else is the fact that the more space women get in society, the more often men "show their true colors" and their behavior comes to light. By this I mean that one can observe more of their character, independence, but also their pain and strength. Sometimes this fact is positive, sometimes it can be very sad.

Are you a perfectionist? How do you deal with criticism?

Depends on the situation. And if I got enough sleep. (laughts) But criticism is an interesting thing, you can learn a lot from it. What matters is who it comes from, and when. And mainly how it is served. I'm learning to use it to my advantage.

How do you relax?

To be honest, I admit that as time goes by, I notice more and more how important the role of sleep is. I like to go for a run or exercise, or I watch a movie.

But you don't get much sleep while in the middle of work, right?

No, not really. But in the middle of work, my body and brain are working in a completely different mode of operation and I simply switch over. (laughs) The same way it's said that some top athletes can function "on air", I can work on a similar basis. Although I miss sleep during filming, my body simply knows it has to go on, and it can handle it. Moreover, when you add to it motivation as huge as the one I've had this time... Then it's actually super easy.

Prodej luxusního rodinného domu, Praha 5 - 214
Prodej luxusního rodinného domu, Praha 5 - 214, Praha 5

When you have a great team of people around you, work with a great script and have room to fine-tune your role, then the fact that you get only four hours of sleep a day becomes unimportant. And you're looking forward to shooting every day. Of course, I try to eat healthy and get as much rest as I can after a busy day at work.

How difficult is it to raise two teenage sons with such a hectic job?

Oh yeah, you are right, puberty might hit them any moment. (laughs) The management can be dramatic from time to time, but fortunately I have great grandmothers to support me and grandfather also helps out with babysitting. In addition, the kids are already capable of going to and from school on their own and can take care of each other. However, I try to spend as much of my free time with them as possible. We do all kinds of activities together – now we've been skiing a lot.

Have you noticed any signs of acting talent in them?

Definitely, I think they both have something in them. Currently, I can see it emerging in my older son, who is also talented in music. He and his father founded the band Sun and Dead, where he plays drums, they organize concerts and tour mini-festivals. I can see also on him that he enjoys theater and is able to perceives the stage and charisma of the actors. He can sense the relationship between the spectator and the performer.

So you'd recommend your son to pursue a career as an actor? Looking back at your work, do you feel that the theater has given you more than it has taken away from you?

I guess both. It's always quid pro quo. In my case, of course, it is obvious that I had a lot of luck and I humbly admit it. In case of my son, the launch of his career would be different, both because he is a guy and because he's growing up at a time when he has a lot more options than we did. He'll be able to attend various workshops and learn how theatre connects with other art forms… I think that in this day and age, it's no longer as important or preferred to be in a permanent engagement as it was before.

Which leads me to the question – in which direction will the theater develop in the future? Our Dejvice Theater merged with La Putyka in the production of Honey, but some fifteen years ago, such a cooperation probably wouldn't have been conceivable. And going back to your question, I would definitely not forbid my son to pursue a career in theater, but I might not recommend it either. (laughs)

Do you think it is an advantage to grow up in a family of actors?

To a certain extent, yes, to a certain extent no. It's interesting in the sense of some specific kind of lifestyle. But when I was a teenager, I perceived many things differently. Sometimes I was even ashamed of my parents, thinking that they were actually a bit awkward. (laughter)

For example, I found it cool that my classmate's father was a dentist and her mother worked at the office, that seemed much better to me. But that was during my puberty. Looking back, I have to admit it was very interesting and my childhood was very colorful. But I didn't grow up in a theatre dressing room, like some other children whose parents were actors. My parents were always very cautious about that. My dad was extra careful not to cause me and my siblings any psychological harm. (laughs) But my biggest theatrical experience that deeply touched me was when my dad directed the production Merlin or Desolate Land at the Realistic Theater in Prague, with Ivan Trojan, who was about twenty at that time, in the main role.

But it's also true that when my father learned that I wanted to try studying at DAMU, he was quite torn about it. Although I applied for the drama field so as to meet my dad at school as little as possible, we still didn't manage to avoid cooperation later on and our paths crossed at the Dejvice Theater. These days it is quite difficult to choose the right path, an actor primarily needs to be charismatic, interesting and have a distinct personality.

Did the others see you as a favored child?

I think my colleagues from the ensemble were aware of the fact that the opposite was true - my dad was pretty strict with me. And if someone saw it differently, they didn't tell me. But I don't remember anyone looking down on me. But at the same time, I felt and sensed that it was up to me to show the others that I really had what it takes and that I was standing on the stage for myself and thanks to myself. The beginnings definitely weren't easy.

Last year we celebrated thirty years since the Velvet Revolution, at which time you were twelve. Did you perceive the coming change here?

Just recently I was telling someone that even though my parents didn't have it easy at the time and had to "fight for freedom", I was envious of the period euphoria and enthusiasm brought about by the emerging democracy that they got to experience.

As far as I'm concerned, what I recall from November 1989 as a child is the atmosphere of fear that prevailed mainly in Prague back then. I remember my father sitting in his chair, saying, "It's gonna happen today, it's all gonna come together today". When my father began to engage in political events, we never knew how it would turn out, if he wouldn't end up in prison. It was a very uncertain time.

You have a Million Moment for Democracy badge pinned on your coat. Are you actively involved in current political affairs?

Yes, I'm trying to. I perceive the division of society and I am more than a little afraid of what will happen next, where my children will be growing up. I've recently attended a demonstration at Letná because I believe these meetings are important. To express our opinion on what we want, what we don't want, to be able to talk about it, to commemorate the horrors of the past regime, as well as the legacy of Masaryk and Havel.

Lenka, what would you like your 2020 to be like?

Of course, I wish all of us were healthy. I would also like to find joy in life, both in the personal and professional spheres. And I wish for the people in our country to finally have a decent and dignified prime minister who doesn't lie. And a president they wouldn't have to be ashamed of and whom they could respect.

Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you much success!

Fast confession:

What did you want to be as a child?

A teacher or a journalist.

How do you prefer to relax?

Mostly through sleep or exercise.

What do you like most about Christmas?

The atmosphere, snow and skiing, because we usually go to the mountains.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do, but rather in some kind of energy and attraction.

What Hollywood actor would you like to have dinner with one day?

Probably with Joaquin Phoenix aka Joker.

What would you talk about?

I hope about acting, about life and maybe about love.

What you find annoying about people?

Arrogance and stupidity.

Angelina Jolie, or Jennifer Aniston?

Jennifer Aniston.

What is your life motto?

Stay a while, you are so beautiful.

What will never be missing in your wardrobe?


What country would you like to visit one day?

Australia or New Zealand.

Which older Czech film always makes you laugh?

I often like to return to Cosy Dens.

Without what three things would you never leave the house?

Wallet, keys and cellphone.

What or who comes first in your life?

Children and family.
Question by he interviewee for the editor:

I would like to ask, how do you combine journalism with acting?

It's not easy, but because I love both, I enjoy it.
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