Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, Goran Stolevski ‘s YOU WON’T BE ALONE follows a young girl who is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit. Curious about life as a human, the young witch accidentally kills a peasant in the nearby village and then takes her victim’s shape to live life in her skin. Her curiosity ignited, she continues to wield this horrific power in order to understand what it means to be human.
Ahead of the theatrical release of YOU WON’T BE ALONE, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew spoke with Sara Klimoska, where they discussed the intimacy of YOU WON’T BE ALONE‘s story, fulfilling the dream of working with Anamaria Marinca, and where she looked to develop the physicality of her character.
When you found out you got the role, what excited you the most about playing this character?
Sara Klimoska: Well, I read the script maybe two years before he got funded, and then it’s preparing. So Goran [Stolevski] sent me the script and I was super in love with it, because it was really my first time reading something in genre but, at the same time, a very intimate story that is very touching and amazing. He even asked me like, “What do you think? Which character would you like to play?” And I said, okay, they’re all one character. So, wherever you put me, I’m happy with it. I would play everything because it’s just [an] amazing script. So, so I just couldn’t stop reading and was so happy to work on it.
This is your second time working with Goran. You went from a short film to now his first feature film. So. how was it working with him again, but switching from a short to a feature?
Sara Klimoska: I have a super bond with Goran. Even in the first film. I knew that this film would be the same or better, and it was better because we already knew each other and somehow the bond became stronger. It was amazing. I mean, there is no such word that I can use to describe this relationship I have with him somehow. Sometimes we don’t even discuss about things but we understand each other. It’s like a bond on a deeper level that I haven’t had before with different directors. So, it’s amazing.
One of the things that I love so much about your character is the physicality and the fact that you don’t really speak at all because it relies all on your face and your eyes. So how was it getting those beats down, especially in the physicality? Because when we first see you in the cave situation, you have interesting movements. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Sara Klimoska: Well, it was really difficult for me to create a character that isn’t seen, but also is a witch and a person. So there are many elements in it. And before going on set, we didn’t have a lot of discussion with Goran. Goran sent me one video of a report about a girl, Genie. An American story about a girl who has been kept isolated by her parents for 13 years, and there is a report of Genie going out for the first time, and her posture, how she was looking at stuff, how she felt, her curiosity; that was the key for my character and that was my biggest inspiration. But I also love that kind of challenge, having to play a character without having words, because you can express yourself just emotionally and it’s pure. It’s not, how to say…not to sound weird, but not being intellectualized, you know?
And how was it wearing those nails?
Sara Klimoska: Ah, technically awful. They were falling constantly. So I was constantly asking for help from people, like please would you pass me that. Would you give me a smoke? But I remember, the second assistant was just helping me with the cigarettes, and I was just taking some puffs. So it was technically awful, but also at the same time, it gave me a lot to the character because I could play with them creating a little bit more complex person or witch.
Was there a particular scene you found that was particularly difficult to execute?
Sara Klimoska: Uh-huh. Well, there were more scenes of me going into the river. In the movie, some of them are there. Some of them they’re not, and it was an extremely difficult process. Like, first of all, keeping your nail on. Not losing them somewhere and there was something in the water and it was too cold, and it was technically problematic and everything. But in a technical way, those were more the difficult scenes to be shot. But from an emotional standpoint, everything was going with the flow and everything had the same importance and difficulties.
Going back to the river, you have a lot of scenes with Anamaria and there’s some in the river. So how was it working so closely with her and her character?
Sara Klimoska: I was so happy. When Goran told me that Anamaria Marinca would play the witch, I was so excited because I watched her work before and she was one of my favorite actresses of all time, really. And meeting her and having to work with her and also I became a friend with her. She’s so good as a person, as an actress, as a whole, and was super amazing. And yeah, the scenes in the river, we had a double. But, in the end, we did it ourselves, because we realized that it would be more authentic and more real. But anyway, having to work with Anamaria is one of my dreams come true.
What are you excited for people to experience with this film and what do you hope people take away from your character?
Sara Klimoska: Well, I hope as I experienced it that, as I said in the beginning, even if this is a genre film, it is very emotional and very delicate, and I think that everyone could find themselves and identify with the main character, which is played by many actresses. So I hope that as I saw it, the people will experience it like that.
YOU WON’T BE ALONE is now available in theaters.
Editor’s Note: This interview was edited for clarity and length. All photos courtesy credited to Branko Starcevic / Focus Features.
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