Krisztina Nádorfi is an actress who is mostly known for her lead role in the musical Tanz Der Vampire (Vámpírok Bálja); what people may not know is that she is also big in the dubbing industry – actually, she might be the voice of one of your favorite characters!
Krisztina Nádorfi: It was a play: Doctor Hertz. My sister used to go to Madách Theatre a lot at the time and she kept going on and on about this play that I decided to see it myself and, well, I got stuck. I was about twelve when I saw it and it really got a grip on me. So it was in that moment that the idea of working in this industry came to mind. I was already singing in the children’s choir in the radio – so I had the music part down. From then on I spent all of my time in Madách. I had seen my favorites at least 20 or 40 times.
R: And where did you study?
KN: I enrolled in the Aranytíz Musical Studió – and it was there that I really started to lay the ground work for this career. I kind of grew out of that environment so I moved on to Vasutas Musical Stúdió with Mária Toldi. Almost at the same time I also started to work with the Rock Színház, although that was not their name anymore. Either way they started to tour in Germany and were still looking for people for their adaptation of Dorian Gray and fortunately I got a part in it. That was the point where my so called professional career began. So the tour took up about four years. Afterwards I got situated in Sopron with István Mikó where I played in something every year, mostly musicals of course.
R: How did the Tanz Der Vampire (Vámpírok Bálja) come along?
KN: The producer, Dr. Edit Simon, was an acquaintance who let us know that the show was coming to Hungary. We had no special treatment at the audition, seeing that in this case the producer had absolutely no say in the matter of the casting. But we were given a chance to familiarize with the play beforehand. It wasn’t too soon that we realized that this was no help at all… So just like anybody else, we sent in our CV’s and we were given an appointment. There was over 900 of us with three rounds of additions. There was an extra addition as they were still looking to fill parts; the stakes were so high that they didn’t manage to find every character they were looking for. There was director Cornelius Baltus, with Dennis Callahan the choreographer on his side. You know this play is presented in the very same way in every country, although ours was the first one that had rotary stage. Which now they use in other shows abroad as well: like Belgium, and if I remember correctly Vienna as well. Basically Kentaur’s designs where such a hit that all the other shows wanted in on them. Anyway, getting back: The auditions were really rough. Looking back at it now I can see that they took it very seriously. The best part however was that Cornelius never looked at our CVs’ previous our singing on stage. They were there in front of him, but facing downwards. He was not interested in where we came from; he only wanted to know what we can do on stage.
R: Do you agree with Cornelius’ approach?
KN: 100%. I understand that people need the known people for audiences to go to the theatre. This is really the Hungarian mentality: If you don’t see someone either in television or in magazines you don’t care for them. This implies that you will not see a stage play if you don’t know anyone from the cast. Unfortunately there is some true to it, though. However this way the underdog never really gets a chance. This is why a person such as Géza Egyházi, who was previously a waiter, could become the lead in a musical of such humongous fame abroad! There is plenty of hidden talent out there who we never discover because of this closed mentality. There is need of directors who would take the time and polish these diamonds in the rough.
R: Dubbing. That seems to be an interesting jump from musicals. Tell me, how did you get across this job?
KN: A friend of mine was dubbing and once I asked her to help me get in, seeing that I too was interested in it. It was just my luck that on the same day I left my phone number (this was at Filmhatár Stúdió) they needed someone and called me in instantly. And that is how it all started – and it seemed like a really good fit for me. It is important to be hard working, that way the directors will want to work with you, and they call you to other places; then the production managers get to know you and slowly my name was at every studio’s desk. But this is a whole different career. People think it is easy, it is not. You need to learn it the same way you would with any other profession.
R: Did you have any prior training?
KN: No, I was lucky enough to have a talent for it. Not many do. There are these training programs that help you speak better. People think of them as schemes to rob one of their money, but they are in fact very useful, not only for those who plan a future in the dubbing industry; also for those who have problems talking in front of people, or have basic communication problems. Think of job interviews where you need to sound your best; or if you embark on a career where you need to stand out in front of three and more people and speak in a way that you are understood. In this industry you need to trust the directors. If they know you, they work with you – it takes a long time to get to the good roles. It is a really, really, really slow procedure.
R: Can you mention any roles that you are particularly proud of? For example on the big screen?
KN: Yes, in Avatar I was the voice of an Asian technician in the beginning of the movie. It wasn’t a big part, but still, I am quite proud of that. I also voiced some of the characters in the movie Valentine’s Day (Valentin Nap). Another favorite would be the typical blonde: in this case Sherry, in the movie Must Love Dogs (Kutyátlanok Kíméljenek). That scene was even uploaded to YouTube with the Hungarian dubbing (laughs), people seemed to like it. (To see the clip, go to the bottom of the article!) I mostly enjoy roles that have something special about them, this last character was such a stereotypical character that I enjoyed it far more then I would’ve with others. I don’t particularly enjoy those Spanish and Venezuelan women who don’t really say nor do anything that needs any kind of emotional involvement. Although we do like these soap operas that go on forever – they pay the bills.
R: Can you tell us something about the procedure that goes on behind the cameras and the microphones?
KN: Of course. Many people, for example, assume that we get a chance to see what we are going to dub over beforehand. That is not the case at all! We have our headphones on and we hear the original. The very first time we see our scene is after the minute we get our scripts, so we see the lips movement, the length and the mood of the characters. And then action! A couple more takes and moving on to the next scene. We don’t necessarily do the scenes in order. It also depends on whether or not we are sharing a scene with someone else. Of course the situation is different when we are re-dubbing. Last time we were working on Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, which naturally we all knew by heart, so we had an easier time.
R: I have heard that you were responsible for the initiation of the cast of Vampires adopting a “flying dog”, as in a big bat in the city zoo. Do you still do charity work for animals?
KN: Yes, I try to be involved as much as I can. Unfortunately after you come to the realization that you cannot save every single animal, not matter how hard you try, it gets a bit harder. But if I get any requests to appear or judge, for example at contests, then I say yes immediately. I love these kinds of things.
R: Thinking of the goals you set out for yourself, are there any things that you still need to conquer, or are you just trying to enjoy life at its fullest and try to be happy?
KN: The latest. Once you grow up from the idea that every dream can be conquered you start to appreciate things the way they are. It is also important to not hang on these ideals. It is not always just up to us, you know? So many things can come between you and your dreams and if you take it too personally you can’t really go on. There is always room for improvement. And being where I am right now, I can say that I have no complaints. What more could I want? Perhaps bigger roles? The time might come for that. People know me; know what I am capable of. They also trust me and that is very important. And that goes for everyone in this profession.
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To read a longer version of the interview, with more questions, please visit my blog at:
To see Krisztina’s official fan page, visit this link: http://www.nadorfikrisztina.extra.hu/
If you’d like to see the Tanz Der Vampire musical’s Hungarian web page, click on this link: http://www.vampirokbalja.com/
Finally, if you are interested in Krisztina’s voice acting, click on this YouTube link to see her in a scene from the movie Must Love Dogs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS0kKPHS-G4
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Photos by Nádorfi Lajos – Interview by Susan E. Csorba