Maarja Jakobson • Actress
Shooting Star 2006 - Estonia
by Annika Pham
Maarja Jacobson shares a passion for languages and acting. She studied drama at the prestigious Estonian Academy of Music, and then became an Erasmus scholar in Berlin. It is during a meeting of German-language theatre schools in Berne that she won her first major accolade with a top drama student award. In 2001, Maarja played in Thomas Sula’s Estonian/French film Lighthouse and in 2005, took the lead role in Peeter Urbla’s Shop of Dreams, the Estonia entry for an Oscar nomination as Best foreign language film. The same year, she used her fluent German for the German/Estonian co-production Fed Up, a new road-movie by the established Estonian director Peeter Simm which is opening now in Estonia.
In 2005 you managed to make two feature films with two of the top Estonia directors - Shop Of Dreams with Peeter Urbla and Fed Up with Peeter Simm - in a country that only produces four films per annum. You must have made a lot of enemies…
I have been asked to answer this question many times this year… All I can say is that it just happened; I was lucky and happened to suit both directors. However, the fact that I had acted in a high profile film like Shop of Dreams almost played against me. Although the film had not yet been released when Peeter Simm did the casting for Fed Up, he knew I had done Shop of Dreams and was considering giving the lead role to someone else because there are many actors in Estonia and few films being made. However, after having seen my screen test for his film, he decided to hire me.
Could you describe the characters you play in Fed Up and in Shop of Dreams?
In Fed Up, a German/Estonian co-production shot at 80% in German and 20% in Estonian, I play Stella a cello player who takes a lift with a depressed truck driver (Heio von Stetten) on the way back to Estonia from Germany, and who is joined on her trip by a bank robber and a funeral home driver. It is a comic road movie and I had lots of fun during the shooting.
Alice, my character in Shop of Dreams is a business woman. As it was my first major role, I put everything I had in the character. I felt very close to her and it seemed as if there was almost no difference between me and her. But now, a year and a half later, I feel quite far from her. She was sadder than me. Her life was tougher and she had to fight more than me. And she was probably more self-confident than I am.
What are you currently working on?
After almost a year away from the stage, I am working in theatre again and it makes me very happy. I also have an offer to play in a film this autumn, but the financing is not clear yet. I would have to play a simple woman working in a factory and raising her child alone.
I am a freelance actress, and acting is like an adventure for me. I love it, but life is also very interesting besides acting. I have my family; I do translation and teaching work as well.
Any specific European filmmaker you’d like to work with in the future?
My dream director is Lars von Trier, but I also love the German director Ulrich Seidl.
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