SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Aza Declercq: I am a professional actress and since 2015 also a filmmaker. I am currently working on my third short film “Orfanello”, a tv serie “Maffia Princess” and my first feature “Sweet dreams, my love”. All of them I wrote, I direct and I play the lead role. Quite a job but fun. I always compare myself with a border collie : when I don’t have a task I get annoyed and bored. I love new challenges and to work hard.
SKSM: How did you become involved in The things they left behind Dollar Baby film?
Aza Declercq: I found the casting notice on cinéaste.org and wrote to the directors Guillaume Heulard and Stéphane Vallet. They responded very short after my letter. They sent me the script and I immediately loved the story. I knew the part of Janice was “my” part. What a great character to play! And having the luxury to act with the great actor Paul Bandey was quite a gift.
SKSM: What do you think it is in the story that attracts people so much?
Aza Declercq: The fact that it is not only kind of a creepy story, but it is a very sad story as well. There are so many layers in there. When watching the film you won’t be “thinking about the dishes” .. (I love this quote from Mae West : “Never let the audience think about the dishes).
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Aza Declercq: Yes, I auditioned via a self taped video. Immediately I loved to play the part of Janice, it’s a very vulnerable character. The sadness and the way she is so lost because of her memories of her dead husband, about the last time she saw her husband.. It’s a gift to play such kind of roles. I love to play dramatic roles, and for this one, I had to cry a lot. Frankly, I have the capability in my acting technique to cry easily, so that was a plus for Guillaume and Stéphane to cast me for this part.
SKSM: You worked with Guillaume Heulard and Stéphane Valette on this film, how was that?
Aza Declercq: They are great and talented young directors. I liked working with them.. It’s always nice when there’s a good communication between an actor and a director, and they handle their cast and crew in a very honest and respectful way, with enough space for some fun on the set. They took great care of me when we were shooting this film in Paris.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Aza Declercq: After the runner had picked me up at my hotel in Paris we drove to the house of the actor Paul Bandey and me and Paul immediately had a connection. I remember me and Paul sitting outside on the terrace of the shooting location, chatting, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.. and I had so much fun with Paul, he told me some great stories about some well known actors in the business.. but I guess they are a bit too private to tell you (haha).
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Aza Declercq: Through Facebook I still follow Guillaume Heulard and Stéphane Vallet. Paul Bandey and I often respond to each others posts. Three years ago, “The things they left behind” was nominated for the filmfestival “Courts Devant” in Paris, and Paul and I hang out all night and had (lots) of drinks in Paris. Paris will never be the same again. We had so much fun. A year later we met up for a drink after I had an audition in Paris and I would love to see him again..even better : work with him again.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Aza Declercq: I recently played the part of MARIA in the feature film PATSER (GANGSTA), a film directed by the well known directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (the makers of “BLACK) and I’m working on my third short film “Orfanello”, a tv series “Maffia Princess” and my first feature “Sweet dreams, my love”. All of them I direct, I wrote the scenario and I’m acting in them as well. Challenging ! The good thing is, you can play the roles you have always wanted to play. And I still hope I can play more parts worldwide and work with great directors. I love playing abroad as I love to travel and meet new people. I also find it, when I’m working in foreign countries, there’s a lot of respect towards me (by production, directors, crew,..)
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Aza Declercq: Stephen King is a genius! Although I am actually easily scared when watching horror films, I am a big fan of “Carrie”, “The Shining”, “Dolores Clairborne”, “Christine”, “The Green mile”,…
I also read some books of Stephen King. The latest book I read was “The Gunslinger”. Stephen King is a master : his writing is so colorful.. immediately you get sucked in the story… You can almost feel and smell the characters he describes, the settings, the moods,…When I was younger I even read “Pet Sematary”.. so scary !
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Aza Declercq: A lot of people see me as “the glamourous” type, and I often get casted in these kind of roles, but deep inside I can be a bit of a tomboy : I love fast cars, I love to work with my bare hands, to construct things and I am addicted to horse riding. Years ago, I started out to ride “English style”, but for almost three years now, I have a new great teacher who taught me “Western-riding”. Makes me feel like a cowgirl.. I love that “yeeehaa”-feeling..Horse riding is pure freedom. I would love to play the role of a princess, but one that can be quite a rebel. I also love costume dramas and film noir.. Or a part where I could play a distinguished woman while riding a horse and holding a gun (laughs).
I guess there’s a lot in me, on one hand I am very vulnerable but I’m also a strong woman.. I never give up. I love to have fun and party but when it comes to my profession, I am extremely disciplined.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Aza Declercq: Well.. you know where to find me when you’re searching for that “rebel princess” actress.