'Die Hard' actress also a chess master
By Rick Bentley - The Fresno Bee
Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 | 11:07 PM
Russian actress Yuliya Snigir plays a woman who's not what she seems to be in the new action movie "A Good Day to Die Hard." It's a perfect fit for the 29-year-old actress.
Behind her stunning looks is a woman who was playing chess professionally at 15 and was awarded the title of Candidate of Master by the World Chess Federation. She never went after a modeling career. She was teaching English in a nursery school when a friend showed her picture to a modeling agency.
"Playing chess was something that my parents wanted more than me," Snigir says with the slightest of Russian accents. "And, when the modeling offer came, I was more determined to study acting. I did some modeling while I was studying, but it was more like a hobby for me."
Her chess background won't go to a complete waste. Snigir explains that being able to look at a situation, evaluate it and then react is a lot like directing.
She wants to direct, and she is writing a screenplay that could be her big directing project. But she's not in a rush to move behind the camera. A director, to the actress, needs the maturity that comes with a lot of work experience and, for now, she's concentrating on acting.
Snigir believes that life gives us points where we must make decisions as to which path we want to take. Faced with the choice of a life in modeling or chasing her love of acting, she opted to leave the runway behind. It's a decision she's never regretted. She's been working as an actor since 2006, mostly in Russia. "A Good Day to Die Hard" is her introduction to American film fans.
It's interesting that the latest "Die Hard" movie is her debut because she was only 5 years old when the original "Die Hard" was released. We talk about what it was like for her to work with Bruce Willis. The main thing she wanted to know was how he found balance between doing serious heroic action movies and comedies.
"There are not so many actors who can do both, who can be so natural in both," Snigir says.
Irina is a complicated character, which is what made the role so interesting to Snigir.
"Usually, I'm interested in these kind of roles when you can never understand what is black and what is white," Snigir says. "I don't like movies when everything is black and white, yes and no, everything is clear. Bad guy. Good guy. It's not that interesting because in real life, it's not like that."
There's certainly nothing strictly black and white with Snigir.