Klara Issova Interview: Meet the Woman Who Brings Marie Curie to Life on National Geographic Channel’s Genius


By: Haylee Fisher

So often these days, we hear of women struggling to be accepted in science fields. Whether it’s for credit for their accomplishments or just fighting for a seat at the table, there is definitely an ongoing battle for respect.

In National Geographic Channel’s Genius, Czech actress Klara Issova plays Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only person to do so in two different sciences. She overcame so many hardships in her life to gain recognition and rise to the top of her field and still serves as an inspiration today.

It is clear Issova immersed herself into Curie’s world, and in our recent interview, she discussed the show, Curie’s life, what lessons she learned from Curie, what she hopes others can take from Curie’s story, and more.

What drew you to Genius and made you want to be a part of it?

I was with the same crew and showrunner on a TV series before. It was called Legends with Sean Bean as the main character and it was a fun job for me. When I heard they were coming back [with a new show], and doing this beautiful show about Einstein, of course I was interested to get any part, so I’m so happy. And I knew the writers from the previous show and I knew that their scripts are always beautiful and well written, with great dialogue for actors to play, so I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Genius is about Einstein, and you play Marie Curie. By my count, there have been very few Hollywood depictions of Einstein’s life and even fewer about Curie. What do you hope audiences learn about her through your portrayal?

I think it was a challenge for me because in episodes four and five, when we focus on her, we see her in different time periods in her life. So we start in her youth and end it in her old age, which was a beautiful challenge for me personally as an actress. With every dialogue and every period of her life, it was a different energy. When you’re not married, it’s different. When you’re a student, it’s different. But her dreams came true. She followed her dreams. And then she became a mother and that’s another different energy. Wife, woman, teacher, mentor to others: they’re all different because she went through so many difficulties in her life, so many challenges stood in her way. And what I hope people get from the about these people we adore, you know, we know so much about Einstein, but we don’t know so much about his personal life and that caused [him and Curie] to get the love they have.

What sort of preparation did you do to get ready to play her, who was so far ahead of her time and remains a source of inspiration today?

I read a book about her, covering so much about her childhood until she became the very famous scientist. So I knew she had to be really strong from the beginning, from her childhood, because she and her family lost her mother when she was really young and she had to work and support her sisters and brothers. She was the youngest, so when her brothers and sisters finished their studies, she could go to Paris and start her career. So even though we don’t see that in the show, it gave me a kind of feeling that she was really strong and knew what she was doing and was compassionate and she never gave up. She never gave up. She had to overcome so many obstacles.

As I mentioned, Marie Curie is still an inspiration today. So many women and girls in STEM fields may feel marginalized, so what lessons do you hope they can take away from her story, also especially considering so many people only know the basics they learned in science class?

I think the most inspirational thing from Marie today would be that if we compare the time period she was living in and we are living in, we are much more ahead. But if you want to talk about women, they went through some stuff we don’t have to go through anymore. They already went through that part of that experience that we don’t have to anymore, so we should be thankful for what they have done because we now have much better conditions. And I think she would say to women of today that there are so many possibilities now with the Internet and technology and connections like that, so it’s much easier to reach the dreams we want to follow, so we should be strong and even though there may be obstacles, and continue to be strong, because it’s not about overcoming others, it’s about overcoming yourself. You have to always fight with yourself in a way, like when your surroundings are judging you for this and that, and you may also ask yourself if you are strong enough to handle it. But for Marie, it was part of her destiny, and though so many people judged her for so many things, she always had an opinion and was true to herself. She didn’t care if it was correct or right or good. Because who am I to defy, right? But she stood true to herself. So maybe you may do stuff in your life and you need to be strong, but when you do them and you are truthful with yourself, and you want to do something and it’s the best thing for you, then you need to go through the experience you need to go through.

Yeah, I even read that Einstein sent her a letter letter basically saying, “Ignore the haters.”

Yes! Oh wow, yes, that’s so nice! Thanks for telling me that!

So what was the biggest challenge in playing her?

The biggest challenge was to give so much energy in every field, different energies compared to the different ways she was aging. So we saw the change from her youth to old age, so it was a beautiful challenge and I loved it. I wouldn’t say it was a challenge, I would say it was a joy for me to play her.

One thing that was very prominent in episode four to me, which is the episode in which you’re introduced, is the relationship of Pierre and Marie vs. Albert and Mileva. Pierre wouldn’t accept the Nobel without co-credit for his wife and Albert didn’t even thank his in his papers. I recently read an article about that happening today. What are your thoughts on that and the direction that needs to be taken for women to be recognized more in sciences?

That’s a quite difficult question, but thank you for it! It was quite the contradiction, but I loved it. It shows the possibilities of what could happen if someone is supported and if someone is not, which is really sad. But I guess it starts with your self-confidence. Marie Curie and Mileva had similar talents as scientists, but as far as support, they were very different. But I think it starts with self-confidence. If you are self-confident, then you could gain that respect and admiration, especially from a man. But I think there has been a big change in the world that women became more respected and will become more and more in the future. I think it’s better to cooperate together, not to fight. And I think that’s happening more and more. Things may not change day to day, but we need to be patient and cooperate and see the beauty in things we could learn from each other in our journeys and in our lives.

The show’s creators Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have basically said this will be an anthology series, with a different genius being explored each season. It’s obvious Curie’s story needs to be told, so would you be on board if she were the subject chosen?

Oh, yes, of course! No doubt! It’s such a beautiful project and I’m so, so happy and thankful that I am a part of it. I will definitely borrow in the future from Marie and her character. There are so many characters on this show, not just her and Einstein, that can be an inspiration for me and for others as well.

    No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sorry. No data so far.



Read More