One mosquito, one man.
Thousands of mosquitoes, a man’s self-discovery.
It’s hard to put into words what “Mosquito State” directed by Filip Jan Rymsza is without revealing too much of this intense and deep-reaching film.
We asked the leading actors Beau Knapp and Charlotte Vega how they threw themselves into character and how they brought to screen something unseen before.
First of all, congratulations on the movie, we loved it. It was quite intense, how did you work on your characters? Did you do some workshops before?
B: I think, from the moment I read the script, I knew that to play Richard was going to be a challenge, to define that physicality and get there mentally. We were just trying to understand this human being, to show all the insecurities he has on the outside.
What were the main challenges for you to bring Richard to life?
B: I think the thing that added weight to it was that we shot on soundstages in Warsaw, in Poland, and no one really spoke English; it was really easy to feel isolated, so the fact of going to work every day and knowing you will kind of be alone and that you’re going to perform on the stage in your underwear… it was a daunting role to take on.
“I knew that to play Richard was going to be a challenge, to define that physicality and get there mentally.”
“… it was a daunting role to take on.”
How did you work together on the relationship between Richard and Lena?
C: A couple of days before we started shooting we got to spend some time on set running scenes with Filip [Jan Rymsza] exploring different things, trying them. For me, the stage was a massive way to get into character and working with Beau, as well, because there was such a transformation, there was Beau and there was Richard, and as soon as he was Richard, it was much easier for me to get into character.
“…there was Beau and there was Richard, and as soon as he was Richard, it was much easier for me to get into character.”
We don’t get to know much about the personal life of your character, Lena: did you build a whole world for her and for you, to bring her on-screen?
C: I had lots of different ideas of what her life was like, but I seemed to pin one down and I quite liked that for myself as well. There was that mystery about her even for me, and hopefully, that translates on camera as well: she’s quite lost because she doesn’t know where she is, and that’s when she finds Richard and his innocence, she feels safe around him.
Is there something of you in her?
C: Lena and I are quite different, but I’d say she’s impulsive like me, and there’s something about her, the fact that you can’t place her, she’s half Spanish, half English, her family comes from all over the world, I relate to that, too. But we’re quite different. I’m much more shy.
Did you do some other kind of research to build Richard?
B: Yes, of course. Filip gave me a few books to read, like “Flash Boys.” I tried to understand this whole financial side to his work, these numbers he obsesses over, these constant math problems he’s trying to figure out. For me, it was more about emotions, about him trying to find himself and be comfortable with himself. He finds that through meeting Lena, and the mother, and the mosquitos.
Was there room for improvisation?
B: Yes, we did a lot of improvisation. My character definitely has a lot of quirks and tics. If I’d ever forgotten I’m Richard, it kind of led me back into it, helped me to get back to it. But I don’t want to go back to it ever, I don’t want to be Richard again. It was one of the deepest roles I’ve ever tried to do.
“…I don’t want to be Richard again. It was one of the deepest roles I’ve ever tried to do.”
How would you describe “Mosquito State” in one word?
C: I’m going to think of a perfect one as soon as I walk out of here. Mystery? Not really…
B: I don’t know, wild?
C: Yes, wild.
What kind of reaction do you expect from the audience?
C: I hope they feel like they haven’t seen anything like this before.
B: We’re pretty terrified for people to watch it and it’s hard watching yourself up there, but I hope people are nice because I’m fragile [laugh]. Hopefully, they see these images they’ve never seen before on-screen and there’s a lot of beauty in it.
C: I hope they relate as well to Richard. And the times.