Behind the scenes of the film "Afonya": Why Vysotsky was not cast in the main role, and how semolina helped the heroine become an object of desire at the dances
Behind the scenes of the film "Afonya": Why Vysotsky was not cast in the main role, and how semolina helped the heroine become an object of desire at the dances
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Stills from the film Afonya, 1975

On August 25, the famous film director and screenwriter, People's Artist of the USSR Georgy Danelia celebrates his 88th birthday. Thanks to him, films appeared that have become classics of Soviet cinema - "I Walk Through Moscow", "Mimino", "Autumn Marathon", "Kin-Dza-Dza" and "Afonya". On the set of Afoni, there were many funny curiosities, which the director told about many years later.

Still from the film Afonya, 1975

The scriptwriter for the film, Alexander Borodyansky, later said: "".

Photo tests of actors for the role of Afoni

Georgy Danelia often said in interviews that initially he saw only Leonid Kuravlev in the role of Afoni. Today it is really difficult to imagine someone else in this image, because Afonya has become the actor's calling card. However, in fact, other actors also auditioned for this role, including Vladimir Vysotsky, Nikolai Karachentsov, Vladimir Menshov, Vladimir Nosik and Polish actor Daniil Olbrykhsky. Georgy Danelia explained his choice as follows: "". Vysotsky looked in this role as too powerful and serious a plumber, and the director wanted more humor and gentleness, Vladimir Nosik did not look at all like a rowdy and drunkard, and about Karachentsov, the director's assistant said that you cannot charm a girl with such teeth.

Photo tests of Karachentsov for the role of Afoni Photo tests of Vladimir Nosik for the role of Afoni

At first, the film was planned to be shot at the film studio. Dovzhenko, and the main role was promised to Borislav Brondukov. But then the script for Afoni, written by Alexander Borodyansky, won a trade union competition for works about the working class, and the shooting was entrusted to Mosfilm. Brondukov was very upset by the loss of the main role, but Borodyansky persuaded the director to give him the role of Afoni Fedul's drinking companion, and the actor coped with it brilliantly. Therefore, Danelia decided to expand this role to several episodes instead of one. As a result, colleagues joked: they say, Fedul eclipsed Athos himself. After this film, the directors saw him exclusively in this role and offered him the roles of alcoholics and slobs, which made the actor very worried. And the main role in "Athos" as a result went to Leonid Kuravlev, with the condition that he must lose weight by the beginning of filming.

Borislav Brondukov in the film Afonya, 1975 Evgenia Simonova as Katya Snegireva

The search for an actress for the role of Katya Snegireva was not easy. The director's assistant suggested Evgenia Simonova. As soon as Danelia saw this young actress, he immediately decided to approve her even without samples. But when the shooting began, it turned out that at the same time as this film, the actress was engaged in another project. And even despite the difficulties with drawing up the schedule, the director did not look for a replacement for her. Evgenia Simonova recalled working with Kuravlev: “”.

Still from the film Afonya, 1975 Still from the film Afonya, 1975 Still from the film Afonya, 1975

The audience probably remembered the heroine of the theatrical actress Tatyana Kataeva (Rasputina) - she played the busty girl Lyudmila, whom Afonya met at a dance. To make her bust look more impressive, dressers put bags of semolina in her bodice. In the last years of her life, the actress lived with her husband in New York, and in 2003 she died at the age of 60.

Still from the film Afonya, 1975 Nina Maslova as Helen

Lenochka, the beauty from apartment No. 139, where Afonya was repairing the tap and fell in love with the hostess, screenwriter Alexander Borodyansky "copied" from his wife Tatyana. Once a plumber really got into the habit of coming to their house, who, according to Alexander, was in love with his wife. He used this episode when he wrote the script.The role of Lenochka was approved by Nina Maslova, known for the film "Ivan Vasilievich Changes His Profession" (where she played Marfa Vasilievna, the king's wife). She was then also engaged in another project and even went to shoot in Germany, besides, the script for Afoni at first seemed not interesting to her at all, but Danelia decided to wait and persuade her. Director's instinct never let him down, and this time he hit the top ten with the choice of all the actors.

Nina Maslova as Helen

This film is also notable for the fact that the musical compositions in it were performed by the groups "Araks" and "Time Machine", and the audience learned about them for the first time thanks to "Athos". The song "Solnechny Ostrov" sounded when Afanasy Borshchov and Katya Snegireva met at a dance. For Andrey Makarevich and The Time Machine, this film became a film debut.

Still from the film Afonya, 1975

In 1975 the film became the leader of the Soviet film distribution, many viewers watched it in cinemas several times. In the year of the premiere, 62 million people watched the film. Incredible popularity fell on Leonid Kuravlev.

Leonid Kuravlev in the film Afonya, 1975

Unfortunately, many of the actors who played in this film are no longer alive. In 1994, Evgeny Leonov passed away, a year later - Savely Kramarov, in 2004 Borislav Brondukov died. They all left prematurely, not having time to play dozens of roles.

Monument to the heroes of the film in Yaroslavl, where the shooting took place

The role of Katya Snegireva brought Yevgenia Simonova all-Union popularity and adoration of thousands of fans, but she also played a cruel joke with her. The stigma of "walking virtue": Why Evgenia Simonova lost many roles in films.

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