Sandor Funtek is a French actor who played in several movies including Blue is the Warmest color, written and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and Dheepan, written and directed by Jacques Audiard. Both Palme d’Or winners in Cannes Film Festival. Sandor is starring in K Contraire, released in theaters this month in France. He will start shooting in a few months, the biopic of NTM, the most iconic French hip hop band. Sandor is sharing his love for cinema, his need for authenticity and independence, and his desire to direct his own movie in a near future. He also tells us how his encounter with Madonna has changed his vision and developed his self-belief.
Sandor Funtek: Absolutely, my name is Sandor Funtek, I am 29, I am Franco-Hungarian. I grew up near Paris, and I also spent some time in a small village in Hungary close to Austria when I was 3. My dad is from Hungary and was an actor there, so we had to travel very often for his work. I have been a comedian for 10 years, and try my best to do it well.
When I was in high school, I was living in south of France, not sure about what I wanted to do with my life, and when I went back to Paris, I met my best friend who was doing some music, castings and modeling. We started to do music together, and I also went to castings and obtained a role in a short movie for Canal+. I realized that was what I wanted to do, and decided to go 100%. Besides, I have always been a cinephile, my dad was a comedian, my mom was an author, I grew up in that environment.
I have to be honest with you, I lied about this, I was trying to get a role! [laughs] However, I was really boxing and did about 26 fights when I was in the South of France and in Paris.
It was a movie for French television. I was 19, far from home, it was exciting, stimulating, and intimidating as well. I don’t have a specific anecdote but it was a special day for me for sure.
The director came up with a very clever approach. Since we will sing and perform in “live conditions” for the concert scenes of the movie, she wanted to focus on the music part before the acting itself. We started to rehearsal the scenes from their iconic 1998 concerts, focusing on the music, the energy, the chemistry between the two members, and how they interact. This band was really born on stage, and there is this specific atmosphere, a mix of fraternity and fighting spirit. In the meantime, we watch tons of their interviews, concerts in order to get closer to the characters.
We recently started to work on their very first concerts and the dancing part. It was in the ’90s, hip-hop was something new at the time, and everything is different from what we know today, from the attitude, to the body language. We have someone named Gladys who helps us on this, she is just amazing! We have a breakdance teacher as well to practice the dancing techniques on the floor. And we run every Saturday morning with a personal trainer. Those guys were able to dance, sing, and run everywhere on stage at the same time. It requires a physical preparation!
There is nothing more abstract than playing someone who exists in the creative process.
Yes, we followed them on tour to see how they work together and who they are. Joeystarr came to help us during the rehearsals. He is very involved, focused on the work, and not judgmental at all. Kool Shen will join us to help too.
I had the chance to meet with one of the casting directors at Iconoclast, and since that moment, everything seems smoother. We shot this clip in Belgrade, and even if it was for a clip, it required real acting, we had some fighting scenes, etc. Working with the best like Todd, that changes the game, everything looks easier.
I love working with people from other countries, it brings new perspectives, you see different things. Recently, I had the chance to be in the biopic of Nico with Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli and a Danish actress, it was a great experience. Also, I just finished a Hungarian movie because I also speak Hungarian, and it is a real honor to be able to do that.
I mostly listen to hip hop, 80% of my time. I like to listen to a bit of everything, some funk, soul, funk, disco, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin.
Admiration! there is something timeless about them. Madonna is someone who never lost her curiosity despite everything she has done in her life. She is someone who has always kept her eyes on “the street”, and is curious to discover new talents, new trends. She is always inspired by where she lives, her humility, and her ability to always bring new trends is very impressive.
I realized the meaning of that quote when I met her actually. The moment she trusted me, I told myself that if a person like her believes in me and thinks I am legit, I have no right not to believe in myself. To answer your question, I love a quote from my mom that says: “obstacles in life are just gifts that you don’t like the packaging”. It is a way to see the positive side of every situation.
Etienne Klein, he is a physicist and philosopher of science, who gives a lot of conferences, he is simply amazing! I am reading all his books, I find this very fascinating.
Independence is not making concessions. I was born enthusiastic, my desire is to work on projects I believe in and I choose. I would rather do small jobs on the side instead of accepting roles in movies I wouldn’t like. My relationship with independence is there!
More and more. I was supposed to do my first short in Hungary, and was about to obtain financing in France but I was asked to rewrite it several times, choose specific actors, so I decided to cancel this project because it wasn’t mine anymore. You were just asking me my definition of independence, here is my definition. I don’t want to make a movie just to make a movie, I want to tell a story.
Anything from Scorsese, he is my favorite filmmaker. Moreover, I recently watched The Two Popes, I was stunned, simply breathtaking!
Not really, I don’t practice positive mantras, I am a very positive person by nature! If something doesn’t happen, it is just it wasn’t meant to be and that leads to something else. I am not someone who complains, but I also have my moments of melancholia, I am just alive.
I would love to be in one of Iñarritu’s movies!
It depends! I can go work out, go boxing with my friends and eat healthy every day for two weeks, and the next two weeks eat junk food and stay home. Although, when I really take care of myself mentally and physically is when I am working.
I genuinely love what I do and while I don’t like to take myself too seriously, I do take my work very seriously!
Etienne Kley, I really think we need someone like him!
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