Arriving in select theaters and on VOD/Digital HD platforms today is Matthew Ross’ frigid crime thriller Siberia, which follows US diamond trader Lucas Hill (Keanu Reeves) to the titular locale as he searches for his missing partner, only to get mixed up in a torrid love affair as well as some political dealings that threaten his very existence.
Daily Dead recently caught up with Siberia co-star Pasha D. Lychnikoff (Deadwood, Shameless), who plays a mysterious buyer named Boris Volkov, and he discussed coming aboard the project, creating a backstory to his enigmatic character, collaborating with Reeves, and much more.
What was it about this project, and your character in particular, that made you want to take on this role in Siberia?
Pasha D. Lychnikoff: The project involves the guru of acting, Keanu Reeves, and that was the biggest attraction. The director [Matthew Ross] called me out of the blue and said, "If you want it, this is yours." I basically watched his work and I liked him a lot. When I read the script, I loved the ability to become this guy.
As far as characters go, Boris seems like a guy who has a fascinating backstory to him that extends far beyond what we see on screen. Is that something you worked on for yourself, or maybe even with Matthew?
Pasha D. Lychnikoff: Well, it was a combination. Before I got on set, I did some homework. Homework requires me to think, “Who was this guy was, what did he go through, what did he do all these years, and how did he stay alive?” Because you can get killed doing all these things. So, there’s all of that. Then, of course, you come on the set and you improvise and work with the director, who gives you notes. You feed off your partner, too, and that is what was done. I hope you like it!
You have a lot of intriguing back and forth moments with Keanu—how was it working with him?
Pasha D. Lychnikoff: It was absolutely fabulous, because we are talking about an actor who is very generous, who gives out a lot. He is cool, his ego does not get in the way; he is very humble. On top of that, he is just an amazing human being. He is the total package.
For you, what was the best part of the experience of working on Siberia?
Pasha D. Lychnikoff: The collaboration with Keanu and the director was the best part. Searching for the character, having fun on the set, and becoming this character. I hope I achieved what we were trying to accomplish with the help of those guys.
I read your inspiring story about how you came over with practically no money, and were able to carve out a career that has now spanned over three decades. What would be your best piece of advice for actors who are new to the industry and might feel like the odds are stacked against them?
Pasha D. Lychnikoff: Well, listen. You’ve got to get up and you’ve got to go every day. That’s all. If you want to act, you've got to act. If there is no film or television, that means you’ve got to go and do theater. You should actually do theater anyway, I think. But you have to find whatever way you can to act. It’s like doctors that have to be doctors, or pharmacists that have to be pharmacists—actors have to be actors every day, and no matter what, you just go do it, that’s all. I don’t think there is anything magical to what I just said. It’s all just part of it; those are the rules of the game.