Crossing: Alex Veadov on Coming Full Circle with Cold War Story
When Alex Veadov heard about first-time director Arthur Ian developing the Cold War drama Crossing for Off Shore Productions, it was something he couldn't pass up, given what he'd experienced being born in Soviet-controlled Ukraine in 1962. The film follows Andrei (Rudolf Martin), a young man from a Soviet family who leaves his country during the final act of the Cold War to achieve the life of his dreams. Twenty years later, his life is caught in the cataclysm of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, bringing him back to square one and forcing him to re-discover his family, his country, and his values. The veteran TV and film actor spoke to Bleeding Cool about how Crossing had more purpose and meaning than his other typical ones, how the film compares to his Cold War experiences, and how tensions are now within his community in the middle of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The following does contain spoilers.
How Veadov's 'Crossing' Role Is a Uniquely Fulfilling One
Bleeding Cool: What intrigued you about 'Crossing?'
Veadov: What attracted me to the film was that it seemed to be a personal and immigrant story. Everybody who comes to this country gets the deposition where he's got to take care of his parents and face great challenges. There are various social programs, and when I came here with my mom, you became the champion for whatever the cause is for them. You take care of the lack of language on their part. You have to take over and do what you can to care for your parents. That was my story as well when I came here, taking care of my mother and still taking care of my brother. [Crossing] had a very personable and details that were dear to my heart. [My character Gregory] dies in it, which I do in all my movies. After I saw it the other day for the first time, it hit me that I finally die of natural causes and not by somebody's bullet [laughs]. From that standpoint,[the project] became small and very personable to me.
Do you feel a sense of déjà vu geopolitically since [Crossing] was set during the Cold War in the Soviet era compared with Russia's conflict in Ukraine?
It's so weird. I didn't see any form of the movie until we did some ADR stuff. I was sitting there and the scene when they're doing the ROTC or that version with the school and the Kalashnikov. I'm like, "I was there. This is what I did." I remember it so vividly, like this is what we did every single day. It brings strange memories. It was weird, and I went back maybe three times. The last time I [went home, I] took my wife. When I initially left, I was very ambivalent because I was a teenager with different priorities. When I left in the eighties, you couldn't communicate with anybody or establish a relationship because nobody wanted to talk to you.
It was communism, and you wanted to respect everybody's privacy back then. The one thing I remember clearly saying to one of my friends and they said," The one thing for what I'm afraid one day, turn around and we're pointing guns at each other." We're best friends. We grew up, but now we're on a different side of the fence. It's weird jumping back today, and I keep in touch with all my friends who grew up in the old days. We all get on Zoom every week or so. A lot of them are living in Russia, and some of them still live in Ukraine. You could tell the tension; sometimes, it's challenging to have a conversation with them because everybody has their own views. You're like, "How can you think that? We're sharing candies or whatever."
We shared our lives together for like 15-20 years, and it's weird how different we've become, yet, we're still the same. I don't know if that makes sense. When my wife came with me, met all my friends in the old country of Ukraine, loved everybody, and was appreciative of everything, I couldn't understand and wrap my head around the whole political situation today. Not to make it too political, but having two-three generations and the entire world's perspective changes for you. We all came from the same parents and roots. Every time I look at it now, that's what I think about.
What does a project like this afford you to do that you weren't able to do before?
Sometimes, you got to put food on the table. [You act] so often that you do it in your sleep. For every ten projects, something interesting and creative comes along you have some input you put in you can enjoy. It's a different feeling, and this was one of them. Sometimes they do take a long time to produce for specific reasons because nobody's running on horses or dying in a glamorous way. Otherwise, it's a nice story. Sometimes everybody can relate to having parents and issues. The cast is incredible, and I don't remember.
Off Shore Productions' Crossing, which also stars Marina Sirtis, Teri Reeves, Kathleen Gati, Mesrop Tsaghikyan, Isidora Goreshter, Lily Vardan, and Ilia Volok, is available on digital.