Interview with Władysław Pasikowski
Julia Materna: When and under what circumstances did the idea for the film "Psy" appear?
Wladyslaw Pasikowski: The American series "Miami Vice" achieved great success on TVP (polish public television program). During the production of "Kroll" in 1989, Olaf Lubaszenko told me that he would like to play with Bogusław Linda a couple of policemen such as Johnson and Vincent. This idea amused and intrigued me. After finishing shooting for Kroll, I wrote the script for the film "Policjanci z Warszawy" and took it to Juliusz Machulski, who I thought would be my producer forever - our cooperation was so good. Juliusz read and said that these policemen are more from Miami than from Warsaw, and that Florida locals make better films…. So I wrote a second script, a completely different one, in which there was no room for Olaf anymore, but a role for Marek Kondrat appeared, and Juliusz accepted this scenario without corrections and sent it to production. This became the movie you now know as "Psy"
JM: How was the film received by the audience? It had to take a lot of courage to present the political and social situation that was so current ...
WP: "The moral bottom", “gutter" and “made on order of the security office" - were the first reviews. And also that I destroyed the beautiful Polish language, which everyone except me has been cultivating and developing for thirty-nine years ... Surprisingly, at the festival, the environment, that is my colleagues from the industry, was more gracious and they gave us five individual awards, although they did not give us the grand prize. And then the audience voted for the movie, though maybe more by buying pirated copies on VHS. And thanks to this, although none of us, except pirates, made money on it, even though the movie was watched by 260,000 people, the movie was known by almost everyone in the country and absolutely everyone from the Chicago diaspora. It doesn't take courage to make a film ... Maybe in Turkey or Iran ... But they are firefighters, soldiers, mountain rescuers, not filmmakers who need courage.
JM: Do you observe that some elements of the film have survived to this day?
WP: No. The film as a whole has survived and is exploited to the maximum by less popular TV channels. To this day, the role of Franz lags behind Bogusław Linda, and sometimes even I get recognised as "the guy from “Psy", Ślesicki, I think ...".
JM: How were the cult dialogues, that could have been controversial in the 90s, created?
WP: I wrote most of it myself on the typewriter, relying on the laconic and, as the scriptwriters say, the economy of dialogues from American Westerns and police films. The actors themselves made a significant contribution. "You are old", was made up by Bogusław Linda, "and who died is dead" is Olaf Lubaszenko's contribution.
JM: How did you cast the actors for the film?
WP: I chose Bogusław because we were friends. Olaf got the role because he was the inspiration behind the film. Marek Kondrat and Tadeusz Szymkow were filled by Bogusław. I wanted to meet Artur Żmijewski and it was a great opportunity. Czarek had a permanent job with me. The trouble was with the girl. We were looking for her for months, because I insisted that a sixteen-year-old girl could not be played by a twenty-six-year-old actress. Finally, despairing at the lack of a partner, Bogusław turned to his wife, Mrs. Lidia Popiel, who at the time was taking fashion photos and knew all the beautiful and shapely girls. We chose the most beautiful and shapely.
JM: “Psy" is accompanied by a great soundtrack. How was the cooperation with Michał Lorenc? What inspired him?
WP: What inspired him? I just told him about the instrumentation, I told him I wanted a solo trumpet, lots of strings and no cymbals…. And no major key. Michał is difficult because he is a great artist. I am also difficult because I am not much of an artist myself, so the collaboration was different, but at one point we both decided that the effect was more important than our sympathies and animosities, and somehow it worked out. We are still buddies and we're so pleased with ourselves that the last movie we made, we made together and again it was “Psy".
JM: Could you tell us an interesting story from the film set that is not known to the audience ?
WP: There is a scene where a frustrated Maurer decides to lose himself in sex and for this purpose he wakes up sleeping Angela to satisfy himself. And here we faced the problem of how he should wake her up. The kiss was off the table because we weren't doing a romantic comedy. I decided that the protagonist should get straight to the point ... Due to the age of the actress, I ordered to film this 'point' at the level of her knees. Bogusław still believes that we made a good movie, except for this one scene, which he thinks is stupid.