‘Absentia’ Interview With Polish Press

Emily Byrne is a brave wife and mother. Interview with Stana Katic, the main character of the sensational series ABSENTIA.


Absentia is a thriller or moral drama?

This is a suspense thriller that does not allow the viewer to watch calmly. You can not relax with it. Almost no hero is exactly what one originally thinks. But we also have a custom story that allows us to identify ourselves with the characters, to understand them. Emily has a family who is experiencing difficulty because of her disappearance. Scenes involving her father, brother or husband are very moving. We observe what happens to people when their immediate family dies, and then suddenly returns from the grave years later.

The first episode is pretty brutal, I did not expect it.

We tried to convincingly justify violence on the screen. We did not want it to be free just to entertain the audience. We needed a deep psychological portrait of Emily. When working on the role, I became interested in all cases of survivors, their state of mind. I read, for example, testimonies of survivors of World War II. I wanted to understand how to handle such trauma, what specifically keeps people alive in extreme situations. It was an interesting challenge.

The biggest in your career so far?

Certainly one of the biggest. We shot ten episodes simultaneously. We often went through sets from different episodes in one day. For an actor, it’s something like playing three movies at a time, because the character throughout the series is changing a lot.

And does her relationship with other characters change?

Yes, because each one has a different side – she is a sister, daughter, mother. Also an FBI agent. But the strongest and most difficult, of course, is the relationship between Emily and her son. It combines their unconditional love, which blossoms with the development of action. I have seen many movies in which the protagonist does something to protect his daughter. And in the case of “Absentia,” we reverse the situation. This woman is the main character and must go on a mission to rescue her son.

Now, especially on television, women have increasingly interesting roles.

I think so. There are increasingly complex and surprising scripts written for women. When I was offered the role of mother in Absentia, I had doubts. Wives and mothers in films or series often sit around and worry, and that’s their job. But it turns out that Emily is, to a great extent, the driving force of the whole story and has a complex personality. Of course not only her. It seems to me that all the characters are multifaceted, and the scriptwriter values this.

Did you have any impact on Emily’s appearance?

This woman is very hurt, has scars, was tortured. We all agreed with the producers and directors that it could not be pretty. Her life experiences must be written on her.

How do you remember filming the series in Bulgaria?

It was a great experience, because each member of the team applied themselves to work 100%. I met a make-up artist and a lighting engineer who has been performing the profession for generations. We were in the middle of winter and there were a lot of difficult scenes. A series full of action is always heavy, requires a lot of techniques. But thanks to the bleak weather, the images are gloomy and that is the atmosphere of the show.
(The talk took place in June at Monte Carlo during the series’ premiere.)