How actor Sandor Funtek is preparing for his big new role
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How Actor Sandor Funtek is Preparing For His Big New Role

Romain

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.

Can you tell us more about yourself and where you are from?

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.

How did you become an actor?

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.

Sandor Funtek for Good Manners and Unfiltered
Sandor Funtek for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

I read somewhere that you were a student at the National Institute of Sports to become a pro boxer? What made you decide to be an actor instead?

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.

Do you remember your very first day on set?

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.

You have the biopic of NTM coming soon, the iconic French hip hop band with two strong personalities. How do you get ready for this role?

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.

Sandor Funtek NTM
Sandor Funtek for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

Are the members of the band involved in the 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.

Your work is definitely related to the world of music. You play the lead character in Sebastian’s video clip Run for me directed by Todd Tourso, who directed video clips for Beyonce. How was working with him?

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.

What kind of music do you like?

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.

You are involved in projects with authentic and unfiltered personalities like the NTM biopic and your next collaboration with Madonna. What is your feeling about these personalities who revolutionized the world of music and pop culture?

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.

Sandor Funtek Madonna for Good Manners
Sandor Funtek for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

Unfiltered opens with this strong quote from Madonna that says “in life, there is no real safety except self-belief.” What is your favorite quote, your mantra?

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.

Who inspires you the most at the moment?

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.

Sandor Funtek for Good Manners and unfiltered
Sandor Funtek for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

How would you define independence?

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!

Does playing different roles and telling stories in front of the camera make you want to make your own feature film?

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.

A movie you can watch over and over?

Anything from Scorsese, he is my favorite filmmaker. Moreover, I recently watched The Two Popes, I was stunned, simply breathtaking!

The acting world is very competitive, how do you build your self-confidence? Do you practice visualization to get what you want in life?

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.

What is your wildest dream?

I would love to be in one of Iñarritu’s movies!

Sandor Funtek French actor
Sandor Funtek for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

Do you have a self-care routine?

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!

Who do you suggest us to interview as our next guest?

Etienne Kley, I really think we need someone like him!

Sandor Funtek takeaways

Read the full UNFILTERED Series HERE [/mepr-show]

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Romain
Romain

Romain Wawrzyniak is our Editor-in-Chief. His enthusiasm and kindness make his guests feel comfortable creating intimate conversations and priceless insights.

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1. a way in which a thing is done or happens.