“I am lucky – I get as much pleasure from my work as if it was my hobby. “-Aziz Beyshenaliev

Aziz Beyshenaliev by Ilya Nazarenko
Aziz Beyshenaliev by Ilya Nazarenko

Aziz Beyshenaliev – Born in 1971 in Bishkek (former Frunze), Kyrgyz Republic, Soviet Union. First starred in a film at 24 y.o.  In 1997 moved to live in Moscow, Russia. The last 4 years he has been living mostly in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Took part in more than 70 films and series.

Exclusive interview with Aziz Beyshenaliev – Actor

NY Glam: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.

I spent my childhood at my grandmother’s home. My father was a famous actor, he starred in Andrei Konchalovsky’s “The First Teacher”, in Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev”, but it didn’t matter to me because I practically didn’t know him because my parents divorced, and besides he lived in another city, far from me. Our real contact happened when I was twenty, and we immediately became friends, which rarely happens even with the family members who live together. I think this meeting influenced somehow my decision to become an actor. A couple years later I left my studies at the Faculty of Chinese Philology of the Institute of Oriental Studies, without completing it, and entered the theater studio. And the next year I received the first offer to take part in the filming of a big movie project in one of the main roles.

NY Glam: What are you currently working on?  

I just finished my year of work on the series in Moscow. Other projects have been stopped for the moment due to the pandemic. So I use this free time thinking of my role in the next film by Victoria Yakubov “Cinecittà”. I will play a cinema teacher lost in Rome. Victoria has a very inspiring way of working with the actor. Actually, from the first moment she decided to write this story where she wanted me to appear, she started to talk with me about it. We have been speaking daily sometimes, despite the fact that she is living in Europe and that I was between Moscow and Almaty, very busy with a crazy shooting schedule. This way I actually inspire the character, and he inspires me. Our lives mixe and create something very interesting and true. It was the same for “Olma Djon”. When I got on set, I already was Bolot, my character. Now I am preparing Farkhat. I am like a creating filter for Victoria. This is a wonderful experience. I find sometimes details from myself in the script, this touches me deeply. Because Victoria and I come from the same places, our ideas about life and art coincide. We look at the world with the same eyes and we want to speak about the same themes. We are both strangers everywhere, our home is in our shoes. And we are crazy cinephiles. So hopefully, “Cinecittà”!

NY Glam: What made you take this role?

If you are talking about Olma Djon – Victoria invited me to work on “Olma Djon” when, some time after we met, she realized that we had a very similar outlook on life and a great lot in common in our biography. At that moment I had some free time after a film, and Victoria decided that she could trust me in her new work, which was very important for her. And it was interesting for me to take part in a picture in which the internal events in the psychological life of the character are more important for the story than the plot. Victoria is inspired by communication with the actors long before the start of the shooting, and for the same reason, she involves her actors in the work on the plot of the script even before the script is finished. Besides I like to be involved and help new talented directors, who so often are short on budget.

NY Glam: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?

My character saves his family from corrosion of non-love, finding himself and his feelings for the family again in the magical and mysterious garden of his memory. A very beautiful picture, similar to a shamanic dream. It has very few words and even fewer actions, but a lot of feelings and images. In my opinion, this is a real poetry of images and feelings, told with the help of cinema.

Aziz beyshenaliev by Ilya Nazarenko

NY Glam: Tell us a little bit more about this film, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director, producer, writer? 

It is called “Olma Djon,” which can be approximatly translated as “Love-Apple”. This is my first experience in an arthouse movie, where the atmosphere makes sense no less important than the plot. The author of the film is Victoria Yakubova herself, the producer of the film is Herve Schneid, the well-known and constant director of editing of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films (“Amélie”, “Alien Resurrection”, “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet”, “Delicatessen” etc.), award winner Cesar. My partners were the stunning French actress Natasha Mashkevich and an incredibly talented child, a girl from Almaty, Kazakhstan, Aisha Berik-kyzy.

NY Glam: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?

As more difficult and deep is the character, as more difficult and interesting it is to act. When I had the role of a Japanese officer in the series “Red Mountains”, learning and speaking lines in Japanese was not the only what I needed to do – I had to learn a lot about the psychology of my character in order to be convincing in this role. When I acted a SOF soldier in the “Paragraph 78” sci-fi action, I had to learn many new things for me, even a new gait type. Now I have been acting a doctor in the “Ambulance” TVseries for two seasons, and I have to learn how to do different medical manipulations in a right way. And I like these difficulties. They allow not only to learn a lot of new things, but also to feel like someone new.

NY Glam: And the most fun one?

Same. The more difficult is the role, the more new impressions you get from it. It’s like a trip for which it’s not necessary to go somewhere.

NY Glam: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?

My son. He is seventeen. When I look at him, I see inside him an ancient warrior and a modern artist. I hope that these two his inner sides will help each other.

NY Glam: What other hobbies do you have? Have you ever considered branching out into directing or screenwriting?

I am lucky – I get as much pleasure from my work as if it was my hobby. And once I wrote a script with the help of my producer from France, Virginia Vosgimorukian, and after that we made the TVseries “Play off” in Kazakhstan with this script. I was also the director of this project and acted one of the main roles in it. It was a story about how orphans who do not have family support look for it in themselves and their friends, the same orphans, with the help of sports and of the people who believe in them.

NY Glam: Where have you played a lead role? What was the character about?

Of all the main roles that I had, two are the most close to me. In two very different films – arthouse and biopic. The first is the film “Olma Djon” by Victoria Yakubova, which I already mentioned above. And the second is the film “Mustafa Shokay” directed by Saken Narymbetov from Kazakhstan. About a man who during the Second World War saved up to 180 thousand people from German concentration camps by sacrificing his own life. This great humanistic act of bravery and exploit of the 20th century is comparable to what Fridtjof Nansen and Raul Wallenberg did the same century.

NY Glam: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

Have no idea. Perhaps I would be a mediocre philologist.

NY Glam: What’s your goal for this year?

After the end of pandemic to see all my loved ones healthy and to return to a set.

NY Glam: What is your advice for aspiring actors?

Prepare for the fact that you need to get more pleasure from the process than to expect it from the result.


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