Moving into Moving On: 1on1 with Victoria Kucher (SPACE & TIME)

Directed by Shawn Gerrard, Space & Time follows academic physicist Siobhan (Victoria Kucher) and her photographer boyfriend Sean (Steven Yaffee) who realize they failed to answer key questions about themselves and their relationship. Their devotion to each other is further tested when Siobhan decides to pursue a career opportunity in Geneva that would cause them to uproot their lives and move into the unknown. When she was first approached for the role of Siobhan, star Victoria Kucher says that her initial enthusiasm stemmed from both her character?s intelligence and the complexity of her relationship with her boyfriend.

?I think it’s really exciting to see women in film who are actually portrayed as needing science and math,? she beams. ?That’s a big focus of this character so the actual character of Siobhan really drew me to it. Also, the strong relationship between [Sean,] Steven Yaffee’s character and my character, [Siobhan] and how it’s not just about love. It’s about all the shades of love and pain and a relationship between two people over a long period of time. That’s something I was really interested in exploring as an artist and as a human being.? 

Having worked with both Yaffee and Gerrard in the past, Kucher says that their time together helped create the chemistry between them that comes across onscreen.

?We were lucky enough to work with Shawn Gerrard, the director, on several films,? Kucher explains. ?The first time we did together was My Viola, where we got to play two cops. So, we got to spend a lot of time in a police cruiser together and really get to know each other, which I think was actually Shawn’s plan all along to get us to kind of get comfortable with each other so that he could then approach us with this script.? 

Having worked together on multiple occasions, Kucher does not hide her love of working with Gerrard due to his ability to his strong writing and ability to properly care for his cast.

?I love working with Shawn Gerrard because he really is an actor’s director,? she begins. ?He gives you the space and support you need to work as an actor. He also is really good at like identifying where things shift in a script and speaks the language of an actor? At one point, we have a big emotional fight scene and Shawn was so understanding about how taxing that is on you as an actor and how you have to go into those deep, dark places. So, he gave us a whole day just to work that entire scene and just to get to the place we needed to go and have this space that we needed to actually work. He gave us space away from set to just have our own time to process what we were going through, take a timeout and come back. It’s because of things like that that keep me wanting to work with Shawn. He’s just incredible. I can’t speak highly enough about him.? 

?He’s also a phenomenal writer because he also wrote this script. He brings in like parts of himself into the script so he could speak from a very personal place when he’s directing and you can see the love and attention to detail that goes into each and every page.?

Because the film follows the emotional journey of two young people in a time of crisis and growth, it can be difficult for an actor to connect with their character.  However, in preparation to play Siobhan, Kucher says that she was able to draw from her own personal experiences and questions.

?I think your art parallels are life and the universe brings to you some roles or work that just feeds where you’re at,? she claims. ?The time when we were filming space and time, I was actually going through a bit of a tumultuous serious relationship myself. So, a lot of the stuff that was coming up in the script were things that I was feeling in my personal life, so I had a lot to draw from. As well, the themes of growing older and starting to realize that you’re heading down a path, going one specific direction was something I really identified with. As you start to get into your thirties, things start to cement [about] where you’re going in your career and who the people around you are. For me, these were all themes that were coming up in my personal life that were coming up in the film. So, it was easy to tap into.? 

With this in mind, there seems to be something almost mythological in our culture about finally turning the age of 30. As young adults reach the seemingly important milestone, it often sparks questions of identity and purpose. 

?We mythologize all of the milestone birthdays that 30, 40, [or] 50,? Kucher recognizes. ?The interesting thing about turning 30–and there’s interesting things about turning 40 and 50 too–but the interesting thing about turning 30 is, I think, that after you’ve had your 20s of self-discovery, figuring out who you are and making a lot of mistakes, we sort of think that we have to know who we are by the time we hit 30. It’s like this is it. This is ?real life?, which is not necessarily true. I don’t fully know the depths of who I am yet or the path in which I’m going. But I think as a culture that’s like the point at which we say ?now, you’re an adult?. Now, you should be waking up at a certain time, going to bed at a certain time, dressing a certain way, making a certain income and kids and houses and all of those things that are supposed to be staples to who you are.?

One of the more unique things about the film is its use of the city of Toronto as itself. Whereas the city most often provides the backdrop for other major cities such as New York or Chicago, Space & Time showcases Toronto?s identity and character onscreen. Based in the city herself, Kucher was excited to see her hometown bring its own energy to the film.

?I love seeing Toronto onscreen and, in this film, Toronto plays its own character,? she exclaims. There are such gorgeous shots of the city and, if you’ve never been to Toronto or if you’re just starting to fall in love with Toronto or even if you’re jaded with Toronto, I think you’re just going to fall in love with Toronto over and over again through this film. Toronto is a character. We see her on the Island, we see her in the subway stations, we see her along Bloor Street. I think she feeds the character kind of in the way that New York is said to feed characters in the hum of the city. I think you can really feel the tone of Toronto in this film. You can feel the way that it’s electric and energized. It really adds to each of these characters narratives, that hum of Toronto and that hum with the city [pushes them along]… They kept it true to itself. It’s so refreshing just to be Canadian for once onscreen.? 

Through its exploration of growing up, Space & Time also highlights the tension between ?moving on? and ?running away?. For Kucher, this exploration of identity is important in that it takes the characters outside of the familiar.

?I think part of the themes of growing up is this need to go out, branch out and explore who you think you are or who you might be outside of home. [It?s rooted in the] idea that going somewhere that might be unsafe. What I really love is that this idea that both Sean and Siobhan had that they’ll somehow find themselves away from where they know, away from their home, is kind of like this mythology that you kind of see in books, theater and film of people going [outside] of themselves, only to return inwards to themselves because the answers were kind of within you all along, if you want to use that metaphor.? 

Asked what she believes Siobhan is ultimately looking for, Kucher believes that her passion for quantum physics drives her quest for purpose and understanding.\

?I think it’s what everyone’s looking for is a sense of love and a sense of purpose,? she answers. ?Siobhan is very smart. She’s a quantum physicist. Her dreams are to understand the universe and, by understanding the universe, understand the way that we work and the purpose of us all being here. If you look at it that way, really she’s just looking for her sense of purpose herself.?In light of this, if she were ever given the opportunity to speak to her character face-to-face, Kucher believes that she would want to encourage her to be satisfied within herself.

?First of all, I would ask her to help me with my high school physics homework and try and explain that to me. [Laughs] I tried reading a lot of Stephen Hawking to prepare for this role and even though he speaks colloquially, it’s very fun. I’m though, ‘Oh, this is a lot.’ [Laughs] But then if I could say anything to her, I think I would just tell her that you’re enough. Just be who you are and be happy. I think that’s something I’d like to say I do a lot of people is that you’re enough.? 

For full audio of our interview with Victoria Kucher, click here.

Space & Time begins to tell its story in Toronto?s Carlton Cinema on Friday, February 21, 2020 and moves into more theatres across Canada in subsequent weeks.

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