Ana Geislerová's rise to national fame began at the early age of fourteen when she debuted in Filip Renc's Requiem for a Doll (1991). Since then, the country has followed her career closely, watching her metamorphose into the Czech Republic's most recognized celebrity on the small and silver screen. Her numerous acting credits include Academy Award winner Jan Sverak's Ride (1994) as well as the film adaptation of Michael Viewegh's internationally acclaimed novel Bringing up Girls in Bohemia (1997). Most recently, she starred in Zelary, a film dealing with human tragedy and identity during the Second World War. Not only a success domestically with a staggering 400,000 tickets sold, it also managed to garner a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Academy Awards. Last month, at the Czech film awards, Ana Geislerova won a lion for her role in Zelary in the best actress category.
PRAGUE COMPASS: Imagination is an essential part of an actor's stock-in-trade. What do you see when you imagine yourself ten years from now? I don't mean just physically, but your general situation.
ANA GEISLEROVÁ: I can see myself with beautiful silicon-filled lips and the whole package, a pool, a Martini and my adorable daughter who is maintaining my lifestyle by starring in children's commercials...
PC: What do you think an actor needs to be successful at an international level?
ANA: I have no idea, but you have to be able to speak foreign languages, or languages.
PC: And do you?
ANA: I can speak Czech and English and I'm very good at pretending to speak German. It definitely gives me an advantage, and I want to communicate, which is also essential.
PC: Which of the international stars do you think has the most acting talent?
ANA: I think Johnny Depp has a special status. He's popular both in Europe and the States. He can make independent and intellectual movies while the same time he was the Walt Disney Studios biggest box office draw ever in "Pirates of the Caribbean". That's quite an exceptional position to be in. He's not really my type, he's too short, but I admire his qualities.
PC: Which actor or actress have you enjoyed working with the most? Why?
ANA: I had a wonderful experience recently, working with the Hungarian, Czerhalmi because we didn't talk at all, we were like two Indians in the wilderness, which was great for our work, but that was an exceptional situation. I also love working with Tatiana Vilhelmová, but that's anything but a quiet experience!
PC: Which actor or actress would you like to work with the most?
ANA: Benitio del Torro, Nikole Kidman, Jarda Plesel! Petra Špalková and Stivínka, Ivan Trojan, Roman Zach, Natalka Drabišcaková ... and I could go on!
PC: Which director keeps you awake at night?
ANA: David Lynch, Aki Kaurismaki, Gonzales Inarittu ... and Ondra Trojan. I've got jet lag because of the Oscars and I can't get to sleep.
PC: Zelary is now the crowning glory of contemporary Czech cinematography. A strong storyline and a great cast are obviously the main attributes that contributed to the high quality of the movie. Is there anything you would change in the picture?
ANA: I always wanted a scene where I would ride a beautiful white horse, with pink rosebuds falling down from the sky and angels flying around, but they never shot it. I think it should have been in there somewhere, I don't care whether it has anything to do with the plot, I would have looked good in it.
PC: Are you ever afraid?
PC: What are you most often afraid of?
ANA: The dark. And people and weighing myself after Christmas.
PC: Who was with you on a day that changed the course of your life?
ANA: Probably my mother and the doctor who delivered me. But I don't have even the faintest memory of that. The other person was my classmate, Alenka, whom I've known since kindergarten, who sent me for an audition and never showed up herself, and that was when Ondra Trojan put me in front of the camera.
PC: Can you describe that day?
ANA: I can't really remember it, but Ondra says that I was horribly obstinate and refused to cooperate so he sent me away, and then as soon as he got home he realized that I was absolutely right for the role. I can only remember that I was mainly interested in the boys, especially Jirka Strach and Vašek Chalupa, and later on we all became best friends.
PC: What do you most frequently dream about?
ANA: It's a classic. I'm walking naked in a public place and I'm embarrassed. Or else I'm flying and I'm embarrassed.
PC: When were you most happy?
ANA: I'm always happy in my own way.
PC: When were you most sad?
ANA: I'm always sad in my own way.
PC: What do you do when you aren't filming?
ANA: I hang around, read, write, eat.
PC: Who do you mostly do it with?
ANA: A stupid question deserves a stupid question: What?
PC: Is there anything you would die for?
ANA: For life, for my family.
PC: What projects are you currently working on?
ANA: I'm writing the memoirs of a model. She doesn't have anything to remember and I can't write, it's what they now call a "controversial" piece. I'm also shooting a movie called "Neco jako štestí" (Something like luck) with Bohdan Sláma, as well as a British-Czech comedy, "Shut up and Shoot me!" and a detective story, "Tajné sny" (Secret dreams) with Juraj Herez. I'm also involved in the Prague Cow Parade project.