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The filming of the series “The Last Axel” has ended

In St. Petersburg, the filming of the series “The Last Axel” has ended, in which the actors skated professionally on the ice, and the former athletes were reincarnated as choreographers, directors, actors, and even cameramen.

The authors conceived to reveal the underside of the big sport, the complex characters of the skaters and their mentors, as well as the topic of difficult family relationships. The team lived in a strict sports schedule for several months, inspired and watched the top figure skating and rhythmic gymnastics coaches.

All this magic took place in St. Petersburg, mainly at night in the famous sports complex “Jubilee”. The correspondent of “Match TV” visited one of the final filming of the series “The Last Axel” and talked with the creators and participants of the project.

According to the plot, a young single skater Katya leaves her native Ulyanovsk after the sudden death of her father, a domestic tyrant. She aspires to Moscow to get into the team of the most authoritative and harsh coach Marina Artakova. The girl believes that this mentor is her only chance to succeed in big sports. Under the guidance of the “iron lady” of figure skating, Katya learns ultra-si jumps, tortures her body with training, fights against fears and rivals, and at different times makes compromises with her conscience. She and her coach are preparing to conquer the world figure skating championship, and for the main character, a secret goal is to take away with the help of a sports grant a little sister who remained in an orphanage in her native Ulyanovsk.

– In our project, two powerful phenomena collide – figure skating and abuse. Abuse in the broadest sense of the word. The main character, faced with domestic violence, goes through the path of liberation and rebirth, – says the author of the idea for the series, general producer and founder of SPACE Production Daria Leygonie-Fialko.

This story is not only about sports. Here is a detective line, and the eternal conflicts of “fathers and children”: not only abuse but also overprotection. A mixed genre that keeps all 8 episodes in suspense. In general, the story is dedicated to the person of the ice, namely to the inner world of various representatives of sports.

According to the producers of “The Last Axel”, the idea came to them several years ago, when they realized that in Russia there is practically not a single series on the topic of figure skating.

– It is an absolutely deprived sport in terms of cinematography. But it is so aesthetic and cinematic: all these costumes, jumps, takeoffs, rapid speeds … So beautiful that you want to film it! – says the general producer and founder of SPACE Production Kateryna Laskari.

Olympic champion in men’s single skating Alexei Yagudin became a consultant for the series. He worked a lot on the sets, explaining to the artists and the director the technical aspects and the inner workings of his sport.

– I am glad that more and more sports films have appeared in recent years. This trend began with “Legend No. 17” about our great hockey team of the USSR. These films show human emotions. It is interesting for the viewer to study the athlete from this very side, – noted Yagudin.

The plot of the series is fictional, all images are collective.

– We did not want to copy someone’s biographies, but we took as a basis the life stories that the skaters told us. Moreover, we focused on the images of coaches from different sports. They watched both Irina Viner and Eteri Tutberidze. Our Artakova (head coach) combines the features of different people: she is unprincipled, does not make any compromises with her conscience and students, – explained the director of the project Anario Mamedov.

The role of the harsh coach was played by the actress Elena Podkaminskaya, who is more familiar to the viewer in comedy roles. She said that getting to know the training process in elite sports and especially observing the work of outstanding coaches helped her to immerse herself in her character. Earlier, Elena had the experience of playing in a pilot project the role of the head coach of the rhythmic gymnastics team, the prototype of which was Irina Viner. The actress plunged into watching numerous videos with the participation of the famous trainer, even attended her training, observed the style of communication with the students, and, most importantly, how Viner sets her up to achieve the ultimate result.

– I caught her magic of intonation, gesture, and gaze, wrote down clear and sometimes categorical phrases – everything was imprinted in my memory, – the actress recalls.

– Before filming The Last Axel, I also watched a lot of videos with Eteri Tutberidze, although the director warned that there is no specific prototype in the film. But immersion in the mimic, intonation-speech, and plastic form of existence of the creator of the unsurpassed school of figure skating helped me a lot in building the image of my heroine. A glance, stinginess in the external manifestations of emotions, visual appearance, acuity, and accuracy of intonations, extreme concentration and focus on the result and, in this regard, cutting off all unnecessary – all this from my perception of Eteri was refracted in the work on Marina Artakova character, – says Podkaminskaya.

The entire cast of Last Axel plunged deeply into the world of figure skating long before filming began. The director, actors, and cameramen attended training sessions for Alexei Mishin’s groups to watch the work of athletes and coaches live. They were on many Moscow skating rinks, and in St. Petersburg, they went around all the skating rinks where figure skaters of the national team of the country train. We filmed the atmosphere on the ice, in the corridors and locker rooms. This went on for two months and then all weekend away from filming.

Director Anario Mammadov compares the vector of training the actors with the creation of the American military drama “Saving Private Ryan” when the future performers of the main roles of the film were sent to the barracks in advance to feel the atmosphere of the army.

– So we put the artists in cold hangars in winter. There they rehearsed, and many made progress from shaky standing on skates to confident skating, and learned the basic elements. They have learned so much that they can now perform in ice shows, – says the director.

More details on the MATCH-TV website