I haven’t had many chances to speak with actors that are in an upcoming blockbuster. Carolina Bartczak is a fellow Canadian that studied Biochemistry in Toronto, Ontario before she decided to try her hand a t acting. For those that don’t know her name it’s not truly a surprise, she is taking her time playing important roles in movies like Brick Mansions with the late Paul Walker and now as Magda, the wife of Erik Lehsherr. Long-time comic fans will recognize the character’s name but most modern fans might not know the true importance behind the character.
In comics Magda gives birth to Wanda and Pietro, or as most know them The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. She also leaves Magneto when his powers are first truly unleashed. As I have yet to see the movie I’m not fully sure if this is the Magda that Ms. Bartczak is playing but I will soon find out.
Comics Bulletin: I’ve been trying to get some information on you and there’s not a lot yet but that’s ok. I read that you studied Biochemistry in college, did you graduate with a degree or get out once you found your passion for acting?
Carolina Bartczak – I graduated with a bachelor of science, and then I was kind of in no man’s land for a few years, I worked for a subsidiary of the U.N. and then I was working as a travel writer in Croatia so I was kind of testing the waters to finding out what I wanted to do as a career. Then I got this great Idea to work in the film and television world. So I got a job as a production assistant and I watched others auditioning and I thought damn they’re having way more fun than I am. So I signed up for theatre school and it was like well that’s done now I have to go and that’s kind of been the trajectory.
Comics Bulletin: Well in that kind of mentality I saw that there were quite a few television shows and shorts that you worked on as well as Brick Mansions where you played kind of a hard ass that gives the late Paul Walker some difficulty.
Carolina Bartczak – I play a nurse that Paul Walkers character keeps hitting on but I keep shutting him down because I’m too responsible and won’t go for a wild child like him, but it’s nice because we wind up together at the end.
Comics – I think the actual description was ball buster…
Carolina Bartczak – I think she’s just a grounded person that knows what she wants and doesn’t get swayed by his beautiful face.
Comics – That being said you’ve moved on to a much larger production with X-Men: Apocalypse in a role where you might not have a huge amount of time but it’s still one of the most pivotal roles in the movie.
Carolina Bartczak – It is a huge movie and I feel like everyone gets like 15 minutes then they move to the next character. I have maybe 8 or 9 minutes in the film but I guess my role helps to decide the future of Eric or Magneto, or his change from Eric into Magneto.
Comics – In this one you’re not the mother of Wanda or Pietro?
Carolina Bartczak – No they deviated from that story, but I do play the mother of another mutant. Not the love child of Eric and another woman.
Comics – That’s the departure from the comics which most might not know is that originally Magda was in the escape from Auschwitz in 1944. I was thinking wow she’s going to be really old. But it’s good that they don’t have to put a lot of makeup on you to make you look aged.
Carolina Bartczak – No my story takes place in the 80’s with Eric which is how the story deviates from the comics.
Comics – which has pretty much been the entire history of the films really, they don’t stick to any specific comic order but find what they like and take from that. Did you film in Canada or did you go elsewhere.
Carolina Bartczak – It was filmed mostly in Montreal, and we filmed in Studio
Comics – Some of the details say that your character was based out of Poland so I obviously didn’t think they were going to actually film there.
Carolina Bartczak – I know but why not they could have flown me out, I would have gone, ha ha.
Comics – So did you do research on the character at all?
Carolina Bartczak – I did actually before I got the script I was able to go back and see the origins of the character, but once I read the script I realized they had deviated from the previous Magda character. The original didn’t have such a great relationship with the Magneto character near the end while my version and Magneto actually have a pretty wonderful and loving relationship, so I actually had to develop how they met and such and develop ideas from the writers. Eventually Michael (Fassbender) and I mapped out how everything works between us.
Comics – How was he, I mean I’ve never met him, is Michael as interesting as he seems?
Carolina Bartczak- Oh yes, he is all that, he is so interesting and curious, and also very gentle and generous person, on set her was kind to me when I was nervous with him at first. He would ask me questions about how I thought the story happened and what the story of the relationship was, and really put me at ease and when you’re at ease some really wonderful things can happen on set. Like we had an improved a kiss that wasn’t in the script because he gave me the freedom to take control and go with how I felt the moment should be. He told me if I wanted to kiss him at any point if I had the impulse that I should go ahead and do it and that’s what made that scene work.
Comics – I truly have to try and become an actor someday, ha ha. He’s always played really intense roles. So I can understand why it would be intimidating because you truly don’t know how much of that intensity is him and how much is his acting ability.
Carolina Bartczak – He does have a very jovial side to him, the kind that cracks a lot of jokes or says inappropriate things right before they say action, he makes the whole process really fun. He is a really focussed human being, he so interested in the human condition which is why I think he takes some pretty challenging roles.
Comic – So did you have a chance to meet any of the other actors like James Macavoy or any of the others?
Carolina Bartczak – Not in the terms of shooting but James McAvoy came on set while we about to shoot and said “hey I think you guys make a really cute couple” and then they called action. Then after they were done I had to go to the makeup truck and that’s the day that they were shaving his head. They did in in the same trailer and they skyped Patrick Stewart while they were doing it so I was watching out of the corner of my eye. My makeup artist was like “can you look forward” and I was like no way I’m witnessing a very interesting moment. It was nice to be a fly on the wall.
Comic – Which is funny since he had such great hair and they actually commented on it in First Class where they tell him that Cerebro would work better if he shaved his head and he was like “don’t touch my hair”.
You got to do that and you got to enjoy the acting, but how was the directing?
Carolina Bartczak – I have to say for such a huge film it was a very relaxed set. I don’t know if that was Bryan Singer or Michaels presence that did it but Bryan really let us get in there and figure out the scenes by ourselves which was amazing.
Comic – He’s always been one of my favourite directors all the ways from The Usual Suspects and I think I’m one of the few people that thought that Superman Returns was awesome. So anyone that gets to work with him I always want to talk to.
Carolina Bartczak – He’s just great, and one night we all went to dinner and I got to sit next to him. So three glasses of wine in I was asking if he could tell me about The Usual Suspects and he said sure! He talks about it with the zeal of a 16 year old and he was so fun, there was a moment when I realized I was amazed that I got to talk to Bryan Singer about The Usual Suspects.
Comics – That would be awesome. So in the movie you die (spoiler alert)
Carolina – Oh you’ve seen it?
Comics – No but it’s the only way I can figure the story works so you have to die, at least that’s how I see it (I’m right). After filming what did you move on to?
Carolina – Actually I was still in Montreal working on the Just For Laughs festival, and Bryan Singer told me that if I got him tickets for the festival he’d bring me back in the next movie (joking). He said it’s X-Men anything can happen, so here’s hoping. (Just for laughs is a huge comedy festival that takes place in Montreal).
Comics – So what’s next for you?
Carolina – I want to keep working in the background and the forground, acting is tricky where one month you could be busy all the time and the next you could be doing nothing, and I have a few projects I’d like to get off the ground. There’s so many more characters that I would like to play. There are so many people that are not being represented in film yet and I would love to do that.
Comics – Do you have a dream project, like something you’ve always wanted to bring to screen?
Carolina – Oh there are so many but I think “A Tree grows in Brooklyn” which is just a beautiful story (written in 1943 by Betty Smith), it has a wonderful mother character that I would love to play.
Comics – The other thing I was surprised by was your height you’re 5’9” which is actually pretty tall for a woman, does that effect any of the roles you’ve been offered? Because a lot of male actors aren’t as big as tall as you would think they are.
Carolina – They actually called me and asked me how tall I was for this film, and I was like how tall do I need to be (laughing). It’s insane that women can lose roles just based on their heights when really it shouldn’t matter.
Comics – I only ask because I have two daughters, a 10 year old and a 3 year old, and my oldest is 6 inches taller than the average height of a 10 year old. So I know she’s going to be a tall girl so height actually plays a role in women’s lives. It’s nice to see strong tall dominant women in roles that she can have as a role model.
Carolina – That’s actually very important for me to portray in film, I don’t mean like Angelina Jolie superhero characters, because that’s not real I don’t want to see that either. I want to see real female characters that are flawed and vulnerable but are strong. That’s more like the women I know in life, but it’s hard to find in film nowadays. Then there’s also the problem that there can never be two strong women characters in a movie, if there are then they have to be pitted against each other. That’s why I loved Jessica Jones because they had two strong women that support each other throughout.
Comics – It has truly been a pleasure talking to you, if you have a chance to come to any of the shows in Canada like Fan Expo it would be amazing to meet you in person.
Carolina – I’d love to come, when and where is it?
Comics – Fan Expo is in Toronto, September 1st til 4th and I’m certain they’d love to have you there.
Carolina – I’d love to be there and I hope you have a great day. Bye for now
Comics – Bye for now.
I don’t know if that provides any real information for readers but I know that it was my first over the phone interview with a very lovely and down to earth actress. I look forward to seeing her in X-Men Apolalypse due this weekend and in any other roles she might play in the future.