Making films is not just a simple case of writing a script, getting together a few camera angles and hey presto, you have made movies. It is always a lot more complex than that. As the preparations for the shoot of Great Brytania continues, I have been in communication with Marzenna Więcek (who plays the part of Magda) and have been answering her questions about the character. As the writer (and the director), it is me who has to create a mold so that Marzenna can fit into the character I want to portray on the screen. So below are some of the questions she asked, and my answers.
Next week, I will answer the final, most important Question about Magda:
What is Magda’s target? To Adapt?
To Survive, plain and simple.
What are Magda’s aims?
To get more drugs. She is hooked, and both the physical and more importantly, the psychological hold of the drug on Magda is, at the moment, unbreakable.
Is Gemma her first girlfriend? No. Magda is a lesbian, not bisexual. One of the reasons Magda left Poland was that she could not resolve the conflict between society and her sexuality. Running away to the ‘big city’ is a common phenomena amongst young gay/lesbian people seeking a more tolerant backdrop to their sexuality ten or twenty years ago.
Has Magda slept with guys before?
Yes. Magda experimented when she was younger, but was very uncomfortable sleeping with men. This is how she knows that she is fully lesbian rather than a lesbian identified bisexual.
Was she in love with some guy?
Has she had before some sexual experiences with any woman? Or with Gemma?
Yes, she has been sexually active with women both in Poland and London. Magda has had more female sexual partners while in London.
Is the relationship with Gemma more psychical / platonic love?
Magda and Gemma love each other. But obviously, Magda is quite sick, and Gemma has given birth recently, so their sex drive has diminished recently.
Does Magda want physical intimacy? Did the drugs not kill her sex drive?
Magda is as sexual as the next human being. The drugs both enhance and depress her appetite for sex. Obviously, the drugs have a major effect on her mentality, and the obtaining and consumption of drugs is Magda’s priority. But like anyone else, Magda wants sex with her girlfriend, Gemma.
When was her mother dead?
When Magda was a teenager. I would say around 14 years old.
How did Magda’s mother die?
Cancer, easy answer, difficult for the character to deal with.
How did the father deal with her death?
Badly. The major reason he drinks is that he has never been able to reconcile his grief.
Is she accusing the father because of that?
There is definitely resentment and anger directed towards her father. Grief is a complicated emotion, and while she does not blame her father for her mother’s death, their is anger (misdirected at the father) for why she had to go rather than him. Also, remember that the father does not accept Magda’s sexuality, which further adds tension to their relationship.
Is she accusing the mother?
Of course there is also anger towards the mother at why she had to die and leave her behind. As I have mentioned previously, grief is a complicated emotion. I will talk to Marzenna about this when I come to Poland.
Was the mother happy with the father? Yes.
Did M. talk with the mother about her sexual orientation?
No, that was not done in 1990’s Poland.
How the mother reacted on this?
While the mother might have suspected about Magda’s sexuality, to be honest, she died before Magda reached any form of sexual maturity.
Did the mother betray the father? Do You have suspicions about it?
No, they stayed married faithfully, with their ups and downs.
How was the mother treated by the father?
Like a Polish housewife. Remember, the mother would have died around the time of the early 1990’s, and socially, Poland was a very different place from now. Less divorce, more conservative family values. People stayed married for longer.
How long did Magda take drugs?
Petty drugs (alcohol and cannabis) would have started from mid-1990’s, when Magda was in her late teens. Heavier drugs, she would have encountered in London.
Did M. love someone before Gemma?
Of course. If Magda is in her thirties, then Gemma is not her first love.
Did she face any love disappointment before she was betrayed?
Yes. Her girlfriend in Poland probably betrayed her for a man. Remember, she looks at that photograph at the bus terminal, and is one more reason to leave Poland. Magda feels that Polish girls (when she was there in the 1990’s/early noughties) will eventually bow to society norms and ‘become’ heterosexual.
Did she hurt anyone?
I’m sure Magda is no angel, but Magda probably sees herself more as a victim, and that would be bound up in the grief of her mother’s death.
Is he afraid she can loose Gemma?
Yes and no. Magda is a bit older than Gemma, and part of her wants Gemma to have a better life without herself, the AIDS victim. But of course, if Gemma left Magda, she would be emotionally distraught. But remember, the problem with Magda (and Gemma) they love each other, but not themselves enough.
In which way the heroin made her emotionally wild?
Heroin in fact probably calms Magda down, makes her quite mellow. Crack Coccaine on the other hand will make her brave enough to laugh at Ritchie.
Does she have suicidal thoughts?
All the time.
Since when was Magda infected with HIV?
Okay, a bit of technicality here. The definition of AIDS is different from country to country. Here, in the UK, it is when the White Blood Cell count (the cells that attack bacteria and viruses) drops below a certain level. Now, while drugs can reverse this count upwards, in the UK, once you have been diagnosed with AIDS, you, cannot be undiagnosed and revert to HIV, even though your White Blood Cell count has risen to more ‘normal’ levels.
Magda got an infection, went to the local health clinic. A lot of outreach health workers are available in London to women working in the sex industry. They provide free (NHS) and of course, confidential help to all that visit them. Magda, while sick, would have got tested for HIV and was then found to be infected.
Now, to directly answer the question, Magda has probably had HIV for three to four years, but as she is bad with her medication (partly due to being a drug taker and so not having any concept of time, plus the fact that she really does not want to cure herself) means that Magda now has full blown AIDS. Remember, Magda’s cuts and sores are not healing.