Daniela Junko is happy with her current situation. She’s faced the same fears and challenges that so many of us have during this global pandemic and somehow managed to stay healthy while also fielding offers for a number of films. It’s been an unprecedented era of difficulty for those in the film industry and only an elite subset has managed to stay working, Daniela being among them. While currently shooting one film, a number of upcoming productions that she has been cast in serve as evidence that producers, directors, and actors all share an overwhelming respect and admiration for Ms. Junko’s ability to bring something special to every character she inhabits.
There are actors who find their lane and present the same “type” that the audience has grown fond of and then there are those like Daniela who seem to reinvent themselves in varying shades with each film they take part in. Two films nearing the beginning of production relate this very aspect of Junko’s technique and sensibility; The Last Word and One Life.
Though Daniela’s physical appearance in each will not vary that much, the essence that she brings will be markedly disparate. Those who know Daniela from her award nominated role (Best Actress at the Madrid International Film Festival) as Ella in ALONE (Academy Awards shortlisted, screen as the Cannes Film Festival) will be delighted to see what she brings in these latest offerings.
Angelo Perrino directed Ms. Junko on the previously mentioned award-winning ALONE and welcomed the chance to cast her as Stephany Klass in The Last Word. A suspenseful action/drama which explores the potential dangers that coincide with the evolution of Artificial Intelligence in present day, The Last Word is more revealing about the duplicity of humankind than that of AI. Daniela portrays Stephany Klass, half of a married couple in charge of an empire within the artificial intelligence industry.
When the government attempts to influence their work for their own ends, the couple’s commitment and loyalty to each other is challenged. Stephany’s workaholic ethos driven by intellectuality is pitted against her awareness that humanity itself will be challenged. Exploring the struggles of a cerebral woman who is caught between a sworn oath to her husband and the good of all mankind is what drew Daniela to the role.
A very different type of personal struggle will be presented when Ms. Junko appears in the lead role of director Tekin Girgin’s One Life. As the central character Emily, Daniela presents a woman who finds herself at the tipping point which separates simply existing and truly living. Inspired by the writings of philosopher Albert Camus to leave her life as a librarian behind in search of the enlightenment provided by adventure, Emily meets a UN interpreter named Paul who encourages the taking of risks. One Life begins as a single woman’s venture into the world but transforms into a state of the interconnectivity of all people and their plights.
Tekin Girgin adamantly states that no one but Daniela could bring Emily to life for the film. He communicates, “She’s relentless in her desire to support the writer and director’s visions of the story. She has integrity and is very focused at what she does. Her dedication for the craft makes her a real artist. Her acting technique amazes me. I am mesmerized by her skills. She’s a ball of energy that is just so pleasant to have her around. She’s such a genuine person.”
It’s not difficult to see that what is so exciting to an actor about these roles is the inner conflict so central to each. The potential range for presenting them as sympathetic or selfish rests entirely in the hands of the interpretation of the actor. Known for seeking out roles that demand she reinvent herself, Ms. Junko reinforces the notion that both these characters will necessitate internal and external research. She notes, “Emily is testing herself with life, because she never left her library.
Some of her experiences could appear childish and unnecessary but I always try to remind myself where she comes from, as to not forget her inner need for self-discovery. On the other hand, Stephany faces a complex dilemma about who is allowed to live and who isn’t. She becomes the one human who has the power to decide which part of the world will be destroyed.” Opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of who will be affected by the decisions of these characters, both promise to be equally sincere and grounded through the vision of Daniela Junko.
Writer: Coleman Haan