Soon to graduate from the National Theater Academy of his native Krakow, 23-year-old Jakub Gierszal made his screen debut in 2008, in Jacek Borcuch’s “All That I Love,” and followed it a year later with a supporting role in Andrzej Kondratiuk’s “One Million Dollars.”
But it was his first lead role, as the rich, sexually conflicted Dominik in Jan Komasa’s “Suicide Room” (which preemed in Panorama at last year’s Berlinale) that propelled him to international attention.
Since that breakthrough, he’s toplined in Piotr Mularuk’s “Yuma” (in post), and is working on “Lasting Moments” for Borcuch, opposite Spanish thesps Angela Molina and Juanjo Ballesta.
“I like watching old movies and the veterans of filmmaking,” Gierszal says. “And I really look up to personalities who are known today as ‘classics’ — people like Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert De Niro. But the strongest influence on me personally was one of my teachers at the drama school I attended in Krakow, because of the unique ability he had to name the exact psychological process going on while I was onstage.” As befits his somewhat peripatetic upbringing — he spent part of his childhood in Hamburg, and lives between Krakow and Berlin — he is fascinated by travel, and the opportunity for artistic collaboration it affords: “For me, it’s very important to get together. To work with sympathetic people, to gather together to stop reality for a moment and try to create something that might be interesting, astonishing, touching or whatever.
“Without the people I’ve met, I wouldn’t be the guy that I am today. The wider the range of your footsteps, the more you get to learn. That’s why I’d really appreciate the opportunity to work outside my home country.”