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How do our actors live in emigration

Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

Irina Shmeleva starred in the films “Kin-Dza-Dza”, “Accelerate”, “For beautiful ladies”, “Trap for a lonely man”. Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

People who talk about moving from one country to another are divided into 2 categories: some say that everything is for the better, while others sigh with the words “well, who needs me there”. After long years of living in America, actress Irina Shmeleva has formed a clear position and answer for everyone who is in thought now: “If a person thinks that he is not needed by anyone, he is right. If he thinks he will be successful, he is also right. I absolutely believe when a person says that he will be a champion or President. It’s a pity that when I first moved to the USA, I didn’t tell myself that I would be acting in Hollywood. ”

Irina Shmeleva - Soviet and Russian theater and film actress, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. You saw her in the films “Kin-Dza-Dza”, “Acceleratrak”, “For beautiful ladies”, “A trap for a lonely man” and others.

20 years ago, Irina Shmeleva emigrated to the United States. Irina told in an interview with ForumDaily about the difficulties she had to face, how difficult it was to change her profession, and if she did not regret having to abandon her stellar career.

Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

20 years ago, the actress emigrated to the United States. Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

Getting ready to wash the floors

As Irina notes, the flowering of her film career coincided with the decline of Soviet cinema. AT 1995 year Shmeleva was awarded the title Honored Artist of Russia, and in 1998, she had already moved to America with her husband, who by then had lived and worked in the States for several years.

“I was ready for anything, I even learned to sing professionally in order to earn money in restaurants,” says Irina. - I thought, and I will wash the floors. It didn't work out: my husband had already prepared a comfortable existence for me, so I immediately went to study. ”

Role in the film "Kin-dza-dza!" (1986). Photo

Role in the film "Kin-dza-dza!" (1986). Photo

First, Shmeleva mastered English, then studied at NYU, and then opened a company that was engaged in marketing, worked on Russian television, and on top of that, she mastered the profession of a realtor. I tried myself in various fields and prepared myself, so to speak, for all occasions.

“The fact is that I stopped saying that I am an actress,” Irina explains. - Moreover, nobody understands the term “deserved” here. Of course, in America you need to sell yourself and tell how wonderful you are. In general, in this country, all the artists: whoever has been hit in the head is an artist. I have a friend who retired and decided at 70 that he was an actor. In Russia, in order to become an artist, you must receive a special education, otherwise they won't be accepted into the theater, they won't be filmed. And here ... Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, did not study this, but the actress is amazing. "

Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

Irina was ready for anything - both washing the floors and singing in restaurants, but her husband prepared a comfortable existence for her. Photo from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

Soviet advice and regrets

When Irina moved to the USA, she had a simple plan: if it works out - I will stay, no - I will return. Irina had no intention of making a career as an actress in the States. As she confesses: all the fault is the stereotypes imposed in the homeland.

“I came from Russia, where they always said that“ our ”person can never be an actor in America,” says Shmeleva. - And now I understand how stupid it is.

I listen to Schwarzenegger say - this is some kind of horror! Crazy accent! And Salma Hayek? I just can't believe it.

It was necessary to calmly engage in acting, because I decided this in my childhood. But my message that you need to learn and master different professions, confused me, despite the fact that there was no need to sing and wash ”.

Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva

Cinema present ticket

Despite the fact that Irina decided to put an end to her career, she received offers to act in Russian films and TV shows. She took on roles, but confesses: to be in the frame, you need to be in a party, always be friends and spin in the right environment. Moreover, according to the artist, now many new directors have appeared who do not know who Ira Shmelev is.

Role in the film "Accelerat" (1987). Photo

Role in the film "Accelerat" (1987). Photo

“I remember a few years after my move, they called me and invited me to shoot one picture, but then they said that the entire budget of the film was equal to my plane ticket,” the actress says, smiling.

Shmeleva admits that she flew several times to shoot in Russia at her own expense, and in America, for example, it is generally customary to do this: work - you need it, but how you get there - nobody cares.

Rina Shmeleva on the set of the TV series "Hour of Volkov". Photo

Irina Shmeleva on the set of the series “Hour of Volkov”. Photo

“I would love to go to film, I am very easy-going, - says Irina. - By the way, I just flew. I am sitting, reading a book "Money"And suddenly they call me:" Come to shoot, we need a girl who has lived in America for a long time and maybe half of the script is in Russian, and half is in English, the title of the film is "Money". I rushed over with pleasure and took pictures. Moreover, this time they paid for both the fare and the hotel. The organization on the site was amazing! ”.

Random show off

Shmeleva says that when she enters the frame, in addition to the main text, she is asked to add American slang. “I remember earlier, when the Russians came from the USA, I didn’t understand why they were frightened to insert English words. What kind of show-off are they? - Irina laughs. - Now I understand perfectly. Itself, when I am in Russia, I stand in front of the seller in the store, I remember how this or that word is in ours, in my native language ”.

Role in the film "Womanizer" (1980). Photo

Role in the film "Womanizer" (1980). Photo

New role

The actress admits that cinema for her now is like a hobby, more for the soul. For many years Irina has been working as a realtor in Manhattan and New Jersey, getting great pleasure from the profession.

“When I first arrived, my husband immediately advised me to unlearn and start working as a real estate specialist. I brushed it off and said that only idiots do this. Now I understand how wrong I was! A very difficult profession. It is easy to get there and very difficult to do anything. People invest the biggest money in their lives in apartments and houses, and this is a great stress for them, ”says Shmeleva.

Anyone who moves to the USA and thinks what to choose: immediately experience the shock of a big city (the actress believes that Moscow is 10 slower than New York by the pace of life) or choose “One-story America”, Irina advises to settle in the megalopolis:

“All the work in the city, the entertainment, too, so property prices are rising rapidly here,” she explains.

Shmeleva herself has lived with her husband in Jersey City for many years and is very happy about it: just one stop to Manhattan, clean and calm. “I have been living here for 12 years,” says Irina. - Nobody spoke Russian before. Now there are a lot of ours, because they always settle where it is better. "

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Irina has been living in Jersey City with her husband for many years. Photos from the personal archive of Irina Shmeleva.

Made in the USSR

When the USSR collapsed, America began to seem even more like a paradise for many, and both artists and singers, who were dissatisfied with the fact that they were not appreciated at home, were leaving there. Having learned what fees are paid in Hollywood, movie stars, dissatisfied with unworthy living conditions, looked for ways to leave. They left their home country in search of a better life and new experience, but it’s hard to say if any of them found what they were looking for.

Savely Kramarov, Oleg Vidov, Natalia Andreichenko, Viktor Ilyichev, Elena Solovey emigrated to the United States.

Star of Soviet cinema of the 1960s-1970s. Oleg Vidov ("Snowstorm", "An Ordinary Miracle", "The Tale of Tsar Saltan", "The Headless Horseman") was forced to flee the USSR, because his ex-wife - the daughter of a KGB general - influenced him to no longer be invited to appear. In 1983, in the trunk of a car, a friend takes him from Yugoslavia to Austria, then he leaves for Italy, and then - to America. He rarely acted in films, but this was enough for him to be included in the 10% of Hollywood actors annually confirming their professional status, the newspaper writes.Culturology".

Natalya Andreichenko (“Sibiriada”, “Wartime romance”, “Mary Poppins, goodbye!” And others) emigrated in 1991 to the USA to her husband, Maximilian Schell. She starred in several Hollywood films, but these roles can hardly be considered a worthy realization for an actress who is used to working with the best directors. In her memoirs, she wrote: “They tried to convince me that I should change - speak without an accent, play American roles. But then, without my Russian roots, I will be completely different - a converted, “broken” Russian, and at the same time I will not become an American ”. In 2005 she returned to Russia.

Viktor Ilyichev was glorified by his roles in Soviet cinema of the 1970-1980s. (“Sincerely Yours,” “Green Van,” “Most Charming and Attractive”). The greatest popularity was brought to him by the role of Fabio in "The Dog in the Manger". In the early 1990s, there was no job, and his wife was invited to teach at an American ballet school. And although the actor never found work for himself and was very upset about the lack of demand, he never returned.

Savely Kramarov: the main contract in the end

In 70-s in the USSR, everyone loved him. It was impossible not to notice him: vivid images in the best films (“12 chairs”, “Ivan Vasilyevich changes profession”, “Gentlemen of luck”), quotes of his characters are still in language, and films with his participation want to be revised, regardless .

Kramarov's career ended due to the political situation: a Jew, and even fond of yoga. It was not possible to move to Israel - Saveliy was not allowed “so as not to say too much,” but it worked out with America.

Of course, in the USA Savely could only play Russians, namely, cosmonauts, KGB men and other characters “from behind the iron curtain”. But we must give him his due - he has not sunk into oblivion. In 84, notable films “Moscow on the Hudson” with Robin Williams and “A Space Odyssey 2010” with Roy Scheider were released, and then the actor could be seen in the popular comedy “Armed and Dangerous”, and the action films “Red Heat” with Schwarzenegger and “ Tango and Cash ”with Stallone. It is a pity that these were only cameo roles.

Savely Kramarov in the film "Armed and Dangerous"

Savely Kramarov in the film "Armed and Dangerous"

They say he missed his homeland very much and even returned. But, having seen the situation with the Russian cinema in 90, he again went to Hollywood, where he signed a contract for the main role and ... passed away. Savely Kramarov died on June 6 of the year 1995, on the 61 year of life, in one of the clinics San Francisco from the second strokewell, after fighting cancer.

Grave of Savelia Kramarova in San Francisco. Photo

Grave of Savelia Kramarova in San Francisco. Photo

Ilya Baskin: his among the "alien"

By the way, it was at the invitation of Ilya Baskin that Savely Kramarov left for the USA. The actors met and became friends on the set of "Big Change" in 1972.

I must say that Baskin is one of the few Soviet émigré actors who had a successful career in the United States. But this did not happen immediately. He worked in a restaurant, then as an insurance agent and in a Russian-language newspaper. But in the end, the actor achieved his goal - the directors drew attention to Baskin.

Ilya Baskin. Photo: Irina Khozyainova

Ilya Baskin. Photo: Irina Khozyainova

Now he is actively acting in films and television series, his partners were such stars as Sean Connery and Hellen Miren. Of course, basically, the actor is offered the roles of Russian or Soviet characters (for example, in 2011 year in “Transformers-3”He played cosmonaut Dmitry), but, nevertheless, Baskin succeeded - he firmly blended into the Hollywood workshop.

ForumDaily talked about how the artist lives now in the article “From “Big Change” to “Spiderman”: how Ilya Baskin became his in Hollywood"

Elena Solovey: the main role is in the family

The most feminine Soviet film actress left for America in 1991 year. The end of a career in its very prime ... In the first place, the actress always had a family. Troubled times have arrived in the country. Elena Solovey and her husband, artist Yuri Pugach, decided to move to the USA to be calm for their children.

Elena Solovey and her husband live in the town of Fairview, not far from New York. Photo

Elena Solovey and her husband live in the town of Fairview, not far from New York. Photo

Elena without hesitation exchanged the life of a famous actress for the life of a housewife. Nightingale admits that she never harbored illusions that Hollywood would conquer. At first she was engaged exclusively in home, children, granddaughter. The family was provided by a husband, who settled himself as a stone artist in a jewelry workshop.

House of Elena Solovey in the United States.

House of Elena Solovey in the United States. Photo

After some time, Elena began teaching acting at the University of New York, worked on Russian radio, and in 2001 organized a studio where music, drawing and dance classes were held for children from Russian-speaking families. She starred in episodic roles in films and TV shows, including “Klan Soprano".

The actress told about her life in America in the article “Elena Solovey - 70: how the star of Soviet cinema lives in the USA".

Today, many Russian actors striving to build a career in Hollywood - for example, "Russian Schwarzenegger" Alexander Nevsky, admit that it is not enough just to move to the United States, you need to become a real American in mentality and attitude to life. And our stars, if not 100, then 99 percent were Soviet people, with a Soviet mentality and attitude to the craft of an actor. And his artistic school was Russian, radically different from the Hollywood one.

Even younger singers and actors, who often leave for the “American Dream,” eventually return home to the viewer who loves and appreciates them. Or, they simulate the crown that the fans put on them, and, rolling up their sleeves, go into a new profession, play a completely different role.

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