Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Weronika Rosati, has earned her living acting in film and television for the past 12 years. The daughter of a prominent Polish politician and fashion designer, Weronika grew up on both sides of the Atlantic as she studied acting and dance, including a stint at the prestigious Lee Strasburg institute in New York.
Currently portraying an emotionally-torn poker dealer on HBO’s hit horse racing series, Luck, this week’s woman to watch talks to us about her new role, being believable on screen, and proving to the world she’s not just another pretty face.
Playboy.com: How did you get involved with Luck?
Rosati: My manager got me an audition when I was in Poland, [but] I was in the middle of shooting something and couldn’t come [to the US.] So I put [my audition] on tape and sent it to casting. I didn’t expect much to be honest, because when you’re not in the room they can’t see you act live [laughs]. So I didn’t expect a phone call two days before Christmas saying, “Michael Mann would like to offer you a role.” It was probably one of the best telephone calls of my life!
Playboy.com: Tell us about your character on Luck.
Rosati: Naomi is a poker dealer at the casino where Jerry (Jason Gedrick) goes to lose all of his money. He’s one of the degenerates, probably one of the worst gambling addicts. He goes to the casino and plays until he loses almost everything. [Naomi] feels sorry for him, even though poker dealers shouldn’t have any emotional views of the clients. They’re there to make them lose, not to feel sorry them. They’re kind of an item but it’s hard to say; it’s difficult to describe their relationship because they’re both damaged people. She’s a girl from an unknown country and is trying to make it in America. They’re both very greedy in life.
Playboy.com: How did you prepare for this role? Did you know how to play poker already?
Rosati: Michael Mann had me take poker lessons. It’s not as easy as it seems—I don’t gamble. I’ve never played poker in my life. It wasn’t just about learning the rules, but learning how to deal the cards. I also spent some time in a casino to get a bit of the atmosphere.
Playboy.com: Would you like to continue with acting? What sort of roles do you enjoy?
Rosati: For me, the most important part is the story. I don’t care if it’s an independent movie, or a blockbuster. I always want to play roles that I’m different from; it’s always attractive to play the bad character—I really love it!
Playboy.com: Who are your role models?
Rosati: My role model as an actress, as a woman, as a human being, as an artist, is Bette Davis. The way I think of my acting career is exactly the same as she did it. She always chose challenging roles—very risky roles, beautiful women and ugly women too. She acted until she died—in the middle of filming, and I want that to happen to me! Maybe not yet though [laughs].
Playboy.com: Ugly? Are you talking about something similar to what Charlize Theron did in Monster?
Rosati: Yeah. I shot five movies this year and in one of them I told them I want to be as ugly as possible because that’s part of the character. It’s about war and I want it to be believable; as long as it’s believable then the character is real. Of course it’s fantastic to play someone who looks great, and dresses up and has the best make-up and hair but only if the role asks for it. I don’t want to be a celebrity; I want to be perceived as an artist. I think as an artist you need to prove that you’ve got guts—to go further than anyone would expect you to.
Playboy.com: Do you remember the first time you picked up a Playboy?
Rosati: I remember that very well. I’m a huge fan of the classics and it was Joan Collins going, you know, naked at age 50. I saw that issue and said, “I want to be like her. She’s 50 and she makes the cover of Playboy.”
Playboy.com: So you’d like to do some riskier roles that take you outside of your comfort zone?
Rosati: Absolutely. I did in this movie. She’s a traitor! [The character] was a horrible person. It’s funny, whenever I am offered multiple roles, people always think I will choose the lead—the good person—but I’d rather play the bad character who’s more interesting and complex. It’s a smaller role but I’d rather take that because it’s more interesting for me. I don’t worry about being liked as a person, as Weronika Rosati, I just want to be believable as an actress.
Luck airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO. Follow Weronika on Twitter: @weronikarosati