INTERVIEW — Lili Bordán

Lili Bordán
(photo by John Duarte)

You might not know her yet, but you will soon. Daughter of Hungarian film legend Irén Bordán, Lili Bordán is a star on the rise who is making her mark on Hollywood. She has starring and co-starring roles on “Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome,” “X Company,” “Live or Die in La Honda” and the recently released feature film “Book Club” under her belt, and she has more parts in movies than I can keep track of that will soon be released and that she’s working on as you read this. I spoke with her recently, and she gave me the rundown on what’s going on in her life now, and what it took to get her there.

Celebrity Extra: Your mother is film actress Irén Bordán, so you grew up in that world. Did that help inform your decision to become an actress, or did you have other plans as you were growing up?

Lili Bordán: I think that because my mother saw talent and potential in me even as a young child, she thought I could succeed. She wanted me to have the same kind of experiences that enriched her life as an artist. I was very involved in theater as a kid and even filmed some short films and commercials (all of them with my mother playing my mother, coincidentally). It was something we never forced, but when I had the chance to perform, she was always right there driving me to rehearsals and location, supporting me in every way and rooting for me.

Mom introduced me to renowned acting teacher Susan Batson when I was 16. I really I felt like the work she was doing was just next level and that’s when I learned the depth of acting as a craft. I took theater classes and was part of some productions at Sarah Lawrence College as well.

When I graduated, I went to Europe — Hungary — to do a film, and I stayed there for four years. That’s when I really got my footing as an actor because there were so many productions that were filming there; it was the perfect place for me to be at that moment of my career to build credits and get to know the workings of a professional TV/movie set. Theater has a strong tradition in Hungary, and I got to work with some legends of the Hungarian theater.

CE: Oh yes, theater training is the best for honing your craft.

LB: Yes, and it really stretched me because I was acting in two different languages and across many different mediums. I worked on commercials, films, TV shows and voiceover as well.

CE: I know you speak Hungarian — what other languages do you know?

LB: I speak French as well. And I’ve had to act in Italian and German and Russian too. So, I’m pretty good at picking up different languages and accents.

CE: Tell me how your opportunity at “X Company” came about.

LB: I had been in Hungary doing “American Girl” for Disney, and then working on “The Martian” and “Strike Back.” For “X Company,” that was kind of a surprise. I played a woman called Kate who worked at the intelligence headquarters. I had moments in a few episodes, but the role was in no way pivotal. Still, it was an interesting show to work on with a wonderful cast and crew. I enjoyed meeting Evelyne Brochu and getting to watch her work. And then also Lara Jean (Chorostecki), my other colleague, was lovely. They called me back for season two, but I didn’t return. They were nice people and the show was fantastic; I was just making a career choice.

CE: Tell me about “Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome.” All of those series and movies are so popular, with such a huge cult following, it must have been quite an experience to be a part of.

LB: That part was pretty meaty. Originally, it was made to be a pilot for a prequel series, but then it didn’t get picked up for whatever reason. But it turned out really well and was so anticipated by fans that it was released in a few different formats. It came out as an online series on Machinima, then aired as a TV movie on SyFy, and came out on Blu-ray and On Demand few months later. That was a really important role for me in my career. It was also one of those roles where I’m there basically the whole time as an integral part of the story. My character drives the story forward, and it’s all because of this secret she has.

CE: So now you’re officially a member of the ever-growing “BSG” family …

LB: It was a really great experience. I made friends with some of producers and cast who were on the original 2004 “Battlestar.” I met Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff and James Callis. They are really nice and welcoming. I keep in touch with some of them to this day. And then for my “Battlestar,” I got to work with Luke Pasqualino, who’s gone on to have an amazing career. And also Ben Cotton, who is one of my favorite actors to work with and such a lovely person, as well.

Lili Bordán
(photo by John Duarte)
CE: Tell me your work on Matt Damon’s “The Martian.”

LB: “The Martian” was a three-day shoot, and it was a really good tempo. It was paced but not rushed, with short days, which lent to creating a calm, productive set. Ridley Scott and his whole team had been working together for a while, so it’s just a really well-oiled machine. I played a reporter, so I obviously didn’t have that much to do, but I had three scenes. I got to work with a real CNN reporter, as well. He was like: “You want to be a correspondent? We’re looking for people.” I was like: “Wow. Am I that good? I’m flattered.”

CE: You have a nice role in the feature film “Book Club” — which came out on the big screen on Friday, May 18 — starring Hollywood legends Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. Tell me about the movie and about that experience.

LB: It’s an ensemble cast. It’s about intimacy and finding or rekindling love at any age. My character is a dance instructor called Irene, and my scenes are with Mary Steenburgen’s and Craig T. Nelson’s characters.

It’s a supporting role and I’m grateful to be acting alongside veteran actors like Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson, and also to share a movie with some of my idols like Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda. It’s a true honor, and I’m excited to have been a part of this film.

CE: You’ve got another new movie, “CURTIZ” coming out. Tell me about that and the character you play in it.

LB: It’s a biopic about director Michael Curtiz that takes place during the time of his life when he was filming “Casablanca,” which was also a historically pivotal time because it’s when we declared war on Germany and Japan. Filming commenced in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. “Casablanca” was important not only as a work of art, but some argue that it was important in garnering public support for our involvement in the war. I don’t think Michael Curtiz meant to sell a war. He was just trying to tell a good story, but that’s the power of film. My character, Irene Lee, was the story editor on Casablanca. She worked closely with “Casablanca” producer Hal B. Wallis and actually is credited with finding the play “Everybody Comes to Ricks,” written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison in 1940.

CE: You’ve got another movie that recently came out, “Live or Die in La Honda.” Tell me about that and the role you play.

LB: That came out a few weeks ago on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and other platforms. I play the role of Vic Taylor, opposite Blake Shields Abramovitz, who plays Blake Baker. It all happens in this small town of 900 people called La Honda in the beautiful red-wooded mountains of Northern California. Vic and Blake have a toxic history together, but they can’t stay apart. It’s about their downward spiral back into old habits.

CE: I was reading in your bio that you are a certified autism movement therapist, and you work with children on the autism spectrum for an organization called Guidance Autism. How did you get involved with that cause?

LB: I was looking for a cause — some way to give back to my community. A friend had started a dance company for kids with autism in 2010, and it has blossomed into this beautiful program that uses dance as a means of helping theses children cope and just have fun. I started out as a volunteer, and now I’m a dance instructor.

CE: It must be a joy to work with those kids.

LB: It’s wonderful. It used to be challenging for me, but now I just fully enjoy it — the format is still in my system. It’s really fun, and I have a very special connection with these kids, and their parents as well. Dance really does have healing properties.

CE: Before we close, can you tell me what else you have coming up that my readers should know about?

LB: I have a feature called “Welcome to Curiosity” coming out in theaters in the U.K. and North America. I’ll be heading to the London premiere in June. I’ve shot other films these past few years that are still in some form or other of postproduction, but I will keep you posted as they are released!

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