The entertainment industry has been a bit slow lately due to the Covid -19 pandemic and so we found other ways to produce content during this necessary quarantine. Our interviewee this fall is the talented Julianna General. She plays Maia, a young programmer, engaged in feminist, black and vegan activism, and talked to us about the projects she was part of, about the moment Brazil is in and especially about the series Todxs We which addresses very current issues such as non-binarism, feminism, racism and harassment. Check it out below.
Thunder Wave: What made you want to be an actress? Who motivated you? Who were you inspired by?
Julianna Gerais: Since I was a child, I was interested and did theater, but I didn't think about being an actress. Closer to finishing school, I decided that Performing Arts was a good choice because it was something I imagined myself doing and because it was a course that I was really interested in. Even within the Performing Arts, I imagined myself having a more academic career and more focused on the theater. It was after I entered the EAD (School of Dramatic Arts at USP) that due to several coincidences and opportunities, cinema appeared in my life and there I discovered myself.
TW: Did you ever wonder if it was what you wanted?
JG: Yes, several times! It is not an easy area. In fact, it is a very challenging area. So in the ups and downs of life it always happens to ask me if this is what I really want. It is a profession that we are being tested all the time and we have to deal with our ego, our image, our insecurities all the time. However, when I question myself, I see that, today, I cannot see myself doing anything other than acting.
TW: Did your family support you in your decision? Which path did they expect you to take?
JG: My parents were always very receptive to my choices of what to study and what profession I would follow. There was a certain apprehension at first that I chose a profession that they had no idea how it worked or happened. But I had, since my studies in Performing Arts, a lot of support from them.
TW: How was it to participate in the series “Todxs Nós”?
JG: It was a project that I learned a lot from. Both on the subjects that the series deals with, such as non-binary, as well as acting. It was several weeks of rehearsals and another several weeks of recording. Being able to immerse myself in a character for so long, with professionals that I admire and who welcomed me, was an experience that added a lot to me.
TW: When you heard that the character Maia would be one of the protagonists and that you had pleaded for the role, what was your feeling?
JG: I was very excited to be in a series, which was something I already wanted to do and even more excited to have picked an interesting character, with upholstery, within a project that addresses themes that I really consider important and urgent.
TW: How was the construction of your character for the production "Todxs Nós"?
JG: I tried mainly to enter the universe of Maia and expand my references on subjects that interested her, such as feminism, black movement, veganism and technology and programming. But it was also essential to have the exchange of the other actors (Kelner Macedo and Clara Gallo) that make up this protagonist trio and the cast preparer (Maria Laura Nogueira). A big part of building a character is understanding her relationship with the other characters.
TW: What can we expect from Maia? What are your expectations for the character in a possible second or third season?
JG: First I hope that HBO renews the series for a possible second season. I want to see Maia achieving professional success, as she is good at what she does and deserves more recognition than she has had so far. I am also curious to see where Maia and Antônio's romance could take place and to see the trio Rafa, Vini and Maia becoming more and more a family.
TW: Which genres catch your attention the most?
JG: Animation, Drama and Suspense.
TW: How do you usually prepare for each project?
JG: For each project the form of preparation is quite different. In the projects I participated in, they had incredible cast preparers that suggested preparation paths that worked quite well for what each project asked for. In general, I first see what each script tells me about the character and seek conversations with the direction to understand which universe that character inhabits.
TW: Later this year, you are in the cast of two more national productions. Which character did you enjoy playing the most?
JG: I really like the character I played in the movie “Teeth”, Igarashi. I'm looking forward to seeing this character on the screens.
TW: In your conception as an actress, as a woman, as a citizen, what is the relevance of debating and having audiovisual productions that address issues such as representativeness, themes aimed at the LGBTQI + community, sorority, female empowerment, strength of the black woman and among other subjects ?
JG: I think that one of the functions of cinema is to tell stories that we might never have contact with, making us expand our worldview. In view of this, it is important that we tell stories that are invisible and erased and, if we can use the distance inherent in cinema, to make the viewer reflect on issues that lack visibility in everyday life.
TW: In your opinion, what will the future of post-pandemic cinema be like?
JG: Right now I have no idea. I think a lot about the future of cinema will depend on how things will be when we get out of it. But I have a lot of hope for a cinema that can be more valued, that is more diverse and more conscious.
TW: His background is in Performing Arts at the Escola Superior de Artes Célia Helena. Which project did you participate in that most affected you during your graduation?
JG: It was the assembly of my graduation semester. We set up “Hamlet”, under the direction of Marcelo Lazzaratto and, despite an arduous and laborious process, it earned me many chips falling on the work of an actor and many questions about that moment of my life.
TW: In relation to art and culture in Brazil, do you expect to contribute with or more participation in national productions?
JG: Of course! I really like and consume a lot of national productions and I have a strong desire to be part of many other productions.
TW: What is your perception about the moment in which Brazil is?
JG: I think the moment that Brazil is extremely desolate so that lately I have been lacking words to express the fear and sadness that I feel and that I realize that the people around me also feel. But looking at the history of Brazil, it is not the first or second time that we have passed unprepared governments, with problematic, hygienist and authoritarian speeches. In this context of political crisis and a pandemic, we are going through a very cruel moment of injustices, uncertainties and fears.
TW: Do you imagine yourself acting outside of Brazil?
JG: Until yes! I would love to act outside of Brazil at some point in my career. Every time I follow productions from other countries, this desire for professional experiences in other places hits me.
TW: In your perception, have women played more prominent roles or are they still serving as ladders for male characters?
JG: Like any change, I think this is happening gradually. I have observed and watched more audiovisual products with women playing roles of protagonists and dads of greater prominence. At the same time that together with these projects that put women in other places that, in the past, they did not occupy, there are still many projects that women continue to occupy an already outdated object or roles of little relevance to the main plot. This is what we are talking about women in general, if we ask the same question with the cut of black women, we may have other answers. I think that an important thing that has happened, more and more frequently, is the discussion about it: the place of the female characters in the plots and the survey of the need to change the way their stories are told or not.
TW: Is there an actor or actress that you look up to?
JG: There are actors and actresses whose works I admire a lot like: Maeve Jinkings, Matheus Nachtergaele, João Miguel, Grace Passô.
TW: What do you expect for the future? What projects do you want to participate in?
JG: In addition to my desire to continue acting in features and series, I would like to act in roles that are more distant from me and my personal universe. I would like new challenges in terms of performance. I also want to integrate theater and performance projects again. I think it's important for the actor to be, when it makes sense, on stage too.
TW: What would you say to people who just like you have a dream of acting?
JG: I would say, first, to study. Then, I would say that they don't confuse close with runs. A phrase that I like a lot that I heard from my friend of life and profession, Kelner Macedo, is "who sees close, does not see runs" and it is true!