- Title: KAZAKHSTAN: "Mongol" actress: from soldier dreams to Oscar buzz
- Date: 31st January 2008
- Summary: ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN (RECENT - JANUARY 25, 2008) (REUTERS) POSTERS ANNOUNCING OSCAR NOMINATED FILM "MONGOL" INTERIOR VIDEO SHOP "MONGOL" MOVIE FOR SALE TV IN SHOP PLAYING "MONGOL" TV SCREEN SHOWING "MONGOL" WITH MONGOLIAN ACTRESS KHULAN CHULUUN STARRING AS WIFE OF GENGHIZ KHAN
- Embargoed: 17th February 2008 06:18
- Location: Kazakhstan
- Country: Kazakhstan
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA5B0LL5YLPRALF1UTJRA2DXHDA
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Khulan Chuluun, the Mongolian female lead in the Oscar-nominated Kazakh film "Mongol", told Reuters said she landed in the Oscar nominated film "Mongol" by pure chance.
Khulan Chuluun was picked for her role as Borte, the fearless wife of Genghiz Khan, as she queued at the Chinese embassy in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator two years ago to get a visa. A casting agent approached her as she was queuing.
"She asked me if I am Mongolian or not and I said Yes, she explained me about the film and that they needed an actress and asked me if I wanted to try out for it. I said OK and that is how it happened."
She added she always wanted to be a soldier, but had failed to make it into the military academy.
Financed by Kazakh investors and shot by Russian director Sergei Bodrov, "Mongol" was nominated for best foreign film at this year's Oscars -- the first-ever Oscar nod for Kazakhstan.
The 15 million euro ($22 million) epic about Mongol conqueror Genghiz Khan was filmed mainly in northern China and the steppes of Kazakhstan -- a country the size of Western Europe which, like Mongolia, is populated by the descendants of nomadic tribes.
Then a student, she said the adjustment was hard, but the easiest thing was riding a horse.
"Actually everything for me was difficult. The only easy thing for me was to ride a horse." She added everybody in Mongolia knows how to ride a horse.
The film has changed Chuluun's life completely. She married a Kazakh man, Narin Igilik, who played a small role in it and is now settled in Kazakhstan, a Muslim state closely knit to her Buddhist homeland by its Soviet past, cultural heritage and cyrillic alphabet.
Narin Igilik said he fell in love with her even before he met the 21-year-old on the set two years ago.
"I was looking at a picture of her that a colleague showed me. And I fell in love, even before meeting her in real," Igilik said.
The couple married last September, when "Mongol" had its world premier at the International Movie Festival in Toronto, Canada. Sergei Bodrov, the Russian director of the film spoke at their wedding ceremony.
"Mongol", a string of epic battles and panoramic shots of misty landscapes, is a tale of war and survival tracing the early life of Genghiz Khan, played by Japan's Tadanobu Asano.
At the Feb. 24 Academy Awards in Hollywood, it will compete against "The Counterfeiters" from Austria, "Katyn" from Poland, the Israeli war drama "Beaufort," and Russia's "12".
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