Actress Julia Snigir talks to TV Drama about starring in The Blood Widow, a drama from Russia Television and Radio that Sovtelexport is offering to the international market.
The story of the most notorious female serial killer in Russian history comes to life in The Blood Widow. The 16-episode series stars Julia Snigir in the lead role, a part that she says appealed to her because of the ambivalence of the character’s nature. “She is evil, but I felt I could find the roots of it,” Snigir says.
In the series, the character is widowed at a young age, has been rejected by her lover and turned into a monster. To have her revenge on men, she tortured and murdered over a hundred innocent peasants. “She has a strong rage inside,” Snigir says. “And she can’t control it. But she suffers from this disorder, and it was interesting for me to find the zones of reflection, regret and her inner efforts trying to justify herself.”
To prepare for the part, Snigir read a lot about the life of the real person she was portraying. “In real life, [Darya Nikolayevna] Saltykova was a very sick person,” she says. “I used this knowledge while playing her but I was curious to find the logic in her actions. So, the history was not very helpful.”
In the end, the so-called “blood widow” got caught, was stripped of all her titles and sentenced to life in a monastery prison. “Though The Blood Widow is a loose interpretation of Russian history, it is still based on it and brings up the question of the serfdom, for example,” Snigir says. “Also, we [examine] the effect of the traumas received in childhood, nature of anger, betrayal and other themes that any person from any country would understand.”
The global resonance of a series like The Blood Widow is supported by an increasing openness in the international marketplace for series from all over the world—there are truly no borders for a good story these days. This openness has come as a boon for actors like Snigir. “It gives an opportunity to work with directors from all over the world, and that is very exciting,” she says.