Mr. Whishaw, Mr. Rogowski, in the new film "Passages" by American director Ira Sachs, you play a couple who have obviously been together and married for quite a long time. How did you create this intimate intimacy between yourself, which does not exist in reality?
Rogowski: Ira arranged to meet the two of us in a café – and then said goodbye relatively quickly. Of course, that was a good move to get us to really talk to the two of us and get to know each other a bit. I liked Ben as an actor before and after this encounter also as a person, which is why I found the idea of playing a couple of lovers with him immensely attractive. Ira was a great help in this by making the whole situation around us so intimate that we had the space to do so. Contrary to what is usually the case with many shoots, he not only made demands that we then had to fulfill, but was rather our partner who designed these scenes together with us out of the moment and without rehearsals.
Do you also bring your own experiences into such a relationship story, even though or precisely because it is ultimately not a happy one?
Whishaw: I'm now 42 years old, so you've had a lot of life and relationship experiences. Of course, in such a case, they somehow play into a character, for the most part only subconsciously. 100 percent, the person behind a role cannot be ignored. But above all, of course, we are actors and as such do not have to use our own experiences for our work.
Rogowski: We really don't need to talk about your personal life here, Ben. But the fact that you have inspired me so much as an actor with your intensity is definitely also due to the fact that you are extremely good at finding this fine line between your own feelings and traumas and the character.
Whishaw: But that's exactly what you do.
Rogowski: At least I'm trying.
Their roles also required a lot of physicality and nudity. Does that make it difficult to work in front of the camera?
Whishaw: It's not that I haven't undressed for other roles. In principle, I particularly like the moments when it gets physical while filming, because you don't approach it so much with your head. This time the experience was special, somehow more intimate. We didn't rehearse there either and didn't discuss much beforehand. This made you a little more nervous, but also very concentrated and the energy was really charged.
Rogowski: Ira was almost more tense than we were on the day of our sex scene. But when we started, he didn't interrupt us for a very long time.
Whishaw: For a very long time, really. Eventually, I got through pretty much every position I could think of. Even if you don't see all of it in the film anymore.
Mr. Rogowski, you originally come from a dance background. Is that an advantage in such moments?
Rogowski: No, just because I used to be a dancer doesn't mean that I'm particularly familiar with sex scenes. Sure, dancing is a bit like acting without words. But now I'm more used to playing with words, not just with my body.