Nina Kaczorowski

Austin Powers 3: Goldmember opens in Polish cinemas on September 13. The film stars Mike Myers and Polish-American actress and rising star in Hollywood, Nina Kaczorowski. When she was in Poland recently Nina talked to journalist Monika Jaworska for The World of English. She tells us about her Polish origins, working in Hollywood, and what Tom Cruise and Ben Affleck are really like!

Nina Kaczorowski's parents moved from Łódź to New Jersey in 1975. Nina was born in the same year. Her upbringing was as traditionally Polish as it could be. Nina didn't even speak English until she was six years old. This is why she is so proud of her Polish roots, and if anyone asks her about her background she proudly says that she is Polish, through and through. After finishing school she initially worked as a model and got her first parts in films such as Once Upon A Time in China (with Jet Li) and Knight Club. She also spent some time working as a stuntwoman. After graduating from college she set off for Los Angeles. Her hobbies are quite unusual for a beautiful Hollywood actress: she loves motorbike riding, water-jet skiing, stage combat techniques, golf, and roller-blading - that's when she's not dancing the Polka, of course!

Are your affinities to Poland very strong?

Yes, they are very strong, absolutely. Back in the States I always say I'm Polish. I feel very strongly about my background and my roots. I have never changed my surname despite the fact that some film producers advise me to do so.

How did your film career begin? Did you go to acting school, for instance?

When I was 15 I started modeling in New York whilst still living in Houston - I was just traveling back and forth. I never studied acting, but I have acted in plays since I was five years old. I first started playing in commercials and did a couple of movies in Texas. Then one day I decided that I'd go to LA and start working seriously there. Of course, I dreamed of instant success, but things took a bit longer. But it's good - I had ups and downs, many struggles, but it all paid off.

We hear terrifying stories about what's been happening in Hollywood - the pressure coming from producers and directors about what you should wear, what you should eat, how to behave and what to convey to the press. How can you live in such a place?

Living there and being in the entertainment business is hard because you compete with so many beautiful actresses. The producers and directors put so much pressure on you. They say things like, "Keep yourself thin because the camera adds weight." They want to have total control over you and not everybody can handle it. There is a trend to move away from Beverly Hills among actors, like Andie MacDowell or Guy Pearce, who moved out of Hollywood to live in the country. Once I can get to a position in my career where I do not need to be in the city I will probably leave, too.

I understand you love to dance - especially Polish folk dances.

Yeah, I danced at the Polish Hall in Houston from the age of five. We did the Polka, Mazurek and Polonez and many other dances. I also pursued other types of dancing but I liked the Polish dances best. At the weekend we traveled and gave performances at events like the Slavic Festivals. It was big fun. One of my brothers, the younger one, still does it.

Have you always been in touch with Polish people living in Houston?

Yes, we have a fairly decent sized community in Houston. I saw them mostly on Sundays and at different events organized by the church.

And what about Polish cuisine, books, films?

Oh, yeah, we had all that. Every time my mum comes to visit me in California she has to cook up all the Polish food for me, especially pierogi and gołąbki.

What are Hollywood film stars like? For instance, you recently acted with Tom Cruise. What is he like?

Oh, Tom is great. I like him a lot. He is a very nice guy. When I was working with him on The Minority Report he was a very normal, down-to-earth guy.

Was Penelope Cruz (his girlfriend) around watching his every move?

Oh, no, he was there alone. His kids were on the set a couple of times, though.

And what about Ben Affleck? You played with him in the huge movie hit Pearl Harbor.

Ben is actually a cool guy. When I met him the first couple of times he had just started in the movie business and I wouldn't say I was exactly crazy about him. But later on I changed my mind and now I think he is really a very nice person.

You played a nurse in Pearl Harbor. That movie was not very well received by the critics. What's your opinion about the film?

When I saw it I really enjoyed it. The problem lies in films that interpret history - as we know, people have different views about it. Some people in America remember what it was like at Pearl Harbor. But for me it was a good film. And being on the set, seeing the fighting soldiers covered in oil, terrible explosions, I felt a strong connection to that. Of course, I cannot say what exactly those people felt during the real attack on Pear Harbor, but for me it was an unforgettable experience.

In Austin Powers 3 you play one of the leading roles.

Oh, it was a great shoot. What I loved about it most was that I could work with Michael Caine. It was so exiting for me to play with somebody whom I've admired for years. As a teenager I tried to watch all his movies, he used to be my idol. And now I had a chance to play with him, to discuss scenes, share a lunch-break. And Mike Myers was wonderful, you had to fight hard not to laugh during filming. It was an amazing experience. Everybody was wonderful to work with.

Do you think that you will ever have a chance of winning an Oscar?

That would be nice, ha, ha, but I don't know - like I mentioned, there are wonderful things that could happen, everything is possible. Who knows?