Interview with Tomáš Vorel Jr.

In The Can you play Petr, a high school student who enjoys writing graffiti and not much else. Did you see yourself in this role in any way?
Petr is pretty melancholy; he’s quiet during the day and at night he gets charged up and uses that energy to go graffitiing. The normal world of school and all those clichés is really simple and there isn’t any reason to express yourself as part of that because it’s still just one piece of the puzzle. But at night he gets the chance to realize himself and that’s what I liked about playing Petr.

Did you ever make graffiti before The Can came about?
I tried it when I was younger; my friends and I went to the legal walls in Bráník but the results were so terrible that I gave it up. Another thing is that I’m not so talented with my hands so it’d take me alot of effort to learn. Otherwise, my ideas about graffiti are kind of two-sided. On the one hand, I can appreciate a nice work of art if it’s in the right place. On the other, I think about my grandmother who puts alot of effort into her house. Then some writer can come along and ruin everything in 15 seconds; that’s hard to take. And also I steer completely clear of things that even vaguely approach being illegal.

What graffiti training did you have before shooting The Can?
It started when production gave me a box of spray paint, and my grandma actually let us go into the yard and paint one of the walls of her house. Of course on the condition that we’d fix it later. Learning to be a graffiti writer takes so long that even after a year of training I never even got the fundamentals down. Of course I had to learn how to hold the can, what the hand movements were, etc. – the absolute basics. But 95% of the strokes in the film were done by someone else. Paradoxically, Jirka Mádl plays a beginner so he could paint whatever he wanted; no one had any expectations of him.

The movie has many difficult and physically demanding scenes. What was the most complicated for you during the shoot?
Without question, the worst thing I had to do during the entire shoot was climbing up that smokestack. We climbed up and down a metal ladder three or four times when it was windy and raining and really cold. I couldn’t hold on well after I’d already gone up and down a few times; if their hadn’t been safeguards I’m pretty sure I would have fallen off that smokestack. It was really a heroic act!

In the past two years you have acted two main in roles in two feature films. What ambitions do you have as an actor?
My dad wrote the roles I had in Skritek and The Can pretty much for me, which made things easier. Mainly, I think of it as an episode in my life; I wanted to try acting and I hope I satisfied those who gave me the chance. Actually, I don’t really have the right temperament for it.