Interview with Dénes Száraz

I had the chance to meet Dénes at a vegan restaurant near Ferenciek Square. It was a very pleasant surprise. He has a very charismatic personality and his down-to-Earth attitude made me feel as if I was having a nice conversation with a friend instead of interviewing an actor. After ordering some vegan cakes, since he is a committed vegan, I asked him a couple of questions about  his career and future plans.

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-Nowadays commercial television has become extremely profit oriented, and very often they provide entertainment by ordinary people from the streets. How does it feel for a professional actor,like you are?

At the beginning it bothered me, but that´s life. To be honest, this would be something totally normal in the US. Hungary is a small country, that is why we notice it. In Hungary it is an unwritten rule that actors should be only those who studied acting. People watch these TV shows,which is perfectly fine because television educates, but these tv shows are mainly about sexism and yelling. The problem is that people still watch it, my mother does too. I always tell her not to, because this way she takes my job away. In some cases the theatrical acting and excessive gestures might be even worse than unprofessional actors from the streets. If directors need someone for a prisoners´ role they simply call someone who has been there already. The issues come when they have to act. Many actors cannot afford to act only in theatres. I might be among the lucky ones. I have tried everything: series, commercials and movies.

-We could see you as priest Tamás from Jóban Rosszban for the first time on television. Why did they remove you from the series when you were the one who provided the popularity of the series?

We decided together with the producer. We felt that the character was loosing its popularity. Well… we were wrong.

-The public wanted you back in the series right after you were removed. Could you chose how to come back or you had no word in it?

We had a couple of ideas,but the way I returned was not mine. It was the producer´s. The problem was that they brought me back as a ´´bad guy´´ and not the priest and the audience did not like it.

-Was it a drawback or a benefit that you basically became one person with priest Tamás in the eyes of the public?

When I agreed to the role of priest Tamás, I found potential in it. If they asked me for a role of a doctor, I would have rejected it because there were many doctors in the series but only one priest and that brought the popularity. The drawback is that the character itself was very memorable and many people still call me priest Tamás. After leaving the series, 4 years ago, I could not get a normal role because everyone saw the priest in me. And still. Some people still ask me if I´m currently acting in the series or not.

-What do you take into consideration when agreeing for a role? What is more important, the director, the theatre company or the role itself?

The most important is the role itself, whether it is well-written. The second one is the company, if there is a lunatic, then I will not ruin two or more months of my life to listen to their shortcomings. I had enough of it. Finally, money is an important factor as well.

-Do you have a concrete role in mind that you would definitely accept or one that you would reject?

I don´t have an ideal role. Actually, if the role is well written and has a good story, I´m more than happy to take it.

-Have you ever rejected a role? If so,why?

For instance, I just rejected an underwear advertisement. I´m not ready to show myself vacuum cleaning or doing housework in underwear to the world. Also, I was called to Éjjel nappal Budapest, but I did not go.

Have you ever considered playing abroad or it has always been Hungary, where you imagined yourself as an actor?

The problem is that to work abroad, I should know the language. I don´t speak English as good to play in foreign movies. What I regret is that I never tried acting in Slovakia, I came to Hungary when I was seventeen years old.  There are many actors who both work in Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic. I´m thinking about starting a career in Slovakia.

-We could both see you in the theatre and movies. Which one is your favorite?

Movies are what I like the most. I like theatre, as well, but it´s way too monotonous for me.

-What are you currently working on?

Currently I´m acting at the Bánfalvy Ági Theatre and we are doing the ´´Miniszter félrelép´´ not only in Budapest but across the country, Slovakia and Romania. Moreover, I´m happy to tell that yesterday, we won in Triest, it is a sci-fi festival, with Hurok. Sadly, I couldn´t go personally to accept the award because I was shooting the commercials for Budapest Bank. Unfortunately, this commercial is also everywhere that I´m afraid of becoming one with the role in the eye of the public, again.  I´m very optimistic now, the press will surely talk about Hurok now that we won, and maybe people will watch it this time.

Photo from: BudapestBank

Blanka Sókyová

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