At his dacha in Beloostrov
Photo: Andrey Fedechko
“At one time, the butler Konstantin, my character from the TV series My Fair Nanny, helped me out. As it turned out, he was sympathetic to many. And thanks to this kind attitude, I managed to get gas to the dacha in a fairly short time and with God’s money. We put a reliable gas boiler in the kitchen, installed heating, hot water in the bathroom, and for many years you can live in our initially purely summer cottage all year round, ”says the actor.
— Boris Grigoryevich, at last we got to your dacha!
– As you can see, it is located in a very interesting place. Fans of the writer Mikhail Zoshchenko know him. This was the last refuge of Mikhail Mikhailovich, in 1939 he bought a dacha near Sestroretsk in the name of his wife. And he permanently settled here after the war, and forcedly: then the persecution began on him, he was expelled from the Writers’ Union and worked part-time as translations of foreign authors. After the death of Mikhail Mikhailovich, he was forbidden to be buried in Leningrad, on the famous Literary Bridges of the Volkovsky cemetery, and he found his last refuge in Sestroretsk. By the way, my friends have repeatedly said that I look a bit like Zoshchenko. And just recently, I starred in the documentary “The Story of a Prophecy”, where I try to portray Mikhail Mikhailovich. Even before filming, I visited Zoshchenko’s last St. Petersburg apartment – a very tiny, two-room apartment. But here I managed to sit both at his table with an old typewriter, and on his narrow bunk. And recently I went to Sestroretsk for the traditional Zoshchenko Readings, where I was a moderator. Not far from us is the famous Razliv, which is known to all those who studied in Soviet schools. There, in the summer of 1917, Lenin was hiding from arrest in a hut. Now there is a museum complex. I mean interesting places!
With Dmitry Guberniev in the program “It’s funny.” 2015
Photo: Rossiya TV channel
Beloostrov, where my dacha is located, until 1939 was the last Soviet station before the border of the USSR with Finland – a beautiful building of the railway station, in fact, a border station, has been preserved since then. After the war of 1939, the border was moved further away, and Beloostrov became an ordinary station. By the way, the border used to run along the bed of the Sestra River, so my house is located on the old Finnish territory. I remember when I was a boy, sometimes I met Finns in our forest who hugged the trees and cried. Apparently, they were born or lived in these places. And the Finns still live here. Once one of them – a chic master – laid out a fireplace stove in our country house.
– And how did you get a cottage?
– In the 60s, my father, architect Grigory Moiseevich Smolkin, and my mother, an English teacher Raisa Efimovna, were allocated a plot where they built a small summer house. As a child, I did not like the dacha, rural life was not interesting to me. Parents, grandmother, aunt went to the site with pleasure, but it was much more interesting for me to stay in Leningrad, where there are cinema, theaters, friends! But now, when I have already reached some indecent age – I am 73 years old, I fell in love with the dacha. And during the pandemic, she just helped us out. After all, I made it “all-weather” a long time ago. I took up this at the insistence of my second wife, when Gleb was born with us. (Smolkin’s youngest son, a figure skater, is now 22 years old. The artist’s eldest son, Vladimir, is a theater producer. – Ed.) He began to quietly put the dacha in order. I didn’t rebuild the walls – the house remained wooden (I think that stone houses should not be built in nature. You can breathe better in wooden ones, besides, new country houses made of brick sometimes look very gloomy and remind me of the St. Petersburg prison “Crosses”). But he added civilizational amenities: both water supply and sewerage. And, most importantly, he ran gas, without which it is difficult to imagine a comfortable life outside the city. The process was not easy. It is now that the state gasification program has appeared, when gas is brought to the sites for free and people only have to pay for the “route” from the fence to the house. I, a person who spent many years running gas and spent a lot of energy on it, can only envy the current lucky ones. At that time, the butler Konstantin, a character from the TV series My Fair Nanny, helped me out. As it turned out, he was sympathetic to many people. And thanks to this kind attitude, I managed to get gas to the dacha in a fairly short time and with God’s money. We put a reliable gas boiler in the kitchen, made heating, hot water in the bathroom, and for many years you can live in our initially purely summer cottage all year round. And of course, in the kitchen there is a gas stove, on which we cook all sorts of homemade delicacies. All this is very convenient, comfortable and inexpensive.
“Gleb is well done, I am proud of him. He is a determined guy! I really want his plans related to sports to come true ”With his son Gleb
— Do you know how to cook yourself?
– Yes! I was a bachelor for quite a long time: probably seventeen years passed between my first and second marriages. And I won’t get lost at the stove, I’ll make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition, I don’t really like catering, all these cafes and restaurants. I prefer homemade food prepared by my wife or myself. I am generally unpretentious in everyday life.
“So you don’t need a butler yourself?”
“Seryozha Zhigunov, with whom we spent a long time in the same dressing room, told me more than once: “When the series comes out, they won’t let you pass.” And I laughed at these words – I didn’t believe him ”With Olga Prokofieva on the set of the TV series“ My Fair Nanny ”. 2008
Photo: Yury Feklistov
– Definitely not needed. (Laughs.)
– And how did you get into “My Fair Nanny”? After all, before this series you did not have such popular projects …
– The story of my getting into this series, let’s say, is extraordinary … I had and still have many friends among St. Petersburg kaveenshchikov – from different higher educational institutions, from different professions (now they have all moved to Moscow, have become creative producers, authors of humorous television programs ). Sometimes I helped them – I rehearsed the numbers when they were going to Moscow, to Maslyakov. Once I even went with them to these performances. And he himself took part in KVN games many times between theaters of different large cities – this was called the “Theater Marathon”. I was the captain of the Alexandrinsky Theater team, where I worked then. And then one morning, a familiar KVN officer calls me from Moscow: “Borya, we are starting to shoot the Russian version of the American TV series Nanny, do you want to try?” Since I was a person not spoiled by film offers, I went to test in Moscow. And I went there exactly 9 months! Although later I found out that the Americans, who, together with our producers, conducted the casting, approved me literally from the first day. But “on me” they decided to try all the other artists. After a couple of months, Serezha Zhigunov joined. And the girls, including Nastya Zavorotnyuk, appeared in the project two weeks before the start of filming – they flew into the last car … When they started filming, I asked for the text of my scene not only in Russian, but also in American (thanks to my mother, I’m not bad I know English). It was interesting to compare the humor in the two versions. By the way, I took something from the Americans, although they laugh at something completely different.
“As a child, I went to the country without pleasure. But now, when I have already reached some indecent age – I am 73 years old, I fell in love with life outside the city … “
Photo: Andrey Fedechko
– Did you immediately understand that the series would “shoot”, become popular?
– Of course not. It didn’t occur to me. True, Seryozha Zhigunov, with whom we spent a long time in the same dressing room, told me more than once: “When the series comes out, they won’t let you pass.” And I laughed at these words – I did not believe him. And then the first episodes aired. In the evening I have to go from the Krestyanskaya Zastava metro station, where I had a rented apartment, to Novy Arbat, to record some kind of TV show. I calmly go down to the metro lobby. And suddenly a flock of teenagers takes off and rushes at me with a cry: “Is that you ?!” I still haven’t come up with an original answer to this question. He said “yes, it’s me” and hurried to break away from them. I got into the car and saw that several people were looking at me at once. And I realized that I can’t ride the subway anymore. I began to ask the administrators of the film crew for a car if I had to go somewhere. For such popularity, which fell on the actors of our series, I was completely unprepared. One day there was a crowd in front of the entrance to the hotel where I lived. And when I left the room in the morning, there were some fans, children, lying on ottomans in the corridor. And at the festival in Berdyansk, I was accompanied by four guards – otherwise I could not walk the streets … Now it’s all gone. They may recognize, smile, ask to be photographed, or they may not recognize. But such a role, such a series is both a big surprise and a great success. The very happy occasion that plays a huge role in acting life …
– The name Smolkin is known not only by movie lovers, but also by sports fans. After all, your youngest son has already achieved great success in figure skating. He, along with his partner Diana Davis, daughter of our legendary coach
“For a long time I made the dacha “all-weather”: I added water supply, sewerage. And, most importantly, he ran gas, without which it is difficult to imagine a comfortable life outside the city … “
Photo: Andrey Fedechko
– Now she and Diana are training in the USA. By the way, it was so difficult to get a visa because of the pandemic, but in the end everything worked out… Gleb did a great job, I’m proud of him. He is a determined guy! I really want his plans related to sports to come true!
— What are your plans?
– Sometimes I take pictures. And most often I go on stage not in my native St. Petersburg, but in Moscow – in an enterprise. Now I’m just going to the capital to rehearse a new performance. Hope it comes out in the fall. I also teach at the Institute of Culture (before that, I graduated from two acting courses at the Baltic Institute of Foreign Languages and Intercultural Cooperation). The other day I received a certificate of my non-conviction – university teachers must provide such annually. Otherwise, they won’t pay me a salary that they don’t necessarily pay anyway … This year, due to the pandemic, recruitment went online, which upset me so much. I hope that I will still be able to work with future artists in a “live” mode. And before the start of the school year I will live in the country.
“Such a role, such a series as “My Fair Nanny” is both a big surprise and a big success. The very happy occasion that plays a huge role in acting life … “
Photo: Andrey Fedechko
Do you like to dig in the ground?
— No, I’m completely unsuited to agriculture. A person either has it or they don’t. My mother also did not like garden beds at all and everything connected with them. But her own sister, my aunt, adored it. And her son, my cousin, also liked to plant something, to fish, to go to the forest for mushrooms, for berries. I’m a very urban person. At the dacha, I am most pleased with my library. Her parents still collected, and I moved here. And if I have a good book at hand, I am happy!