Actress Mantalena Papadatou. Photo by Dora Pantazopoulou
ATHENS – At just 22 years old, Mantalena Papadatou came to New York in pursuit of her dream of acting. She studied with a scholarship and immediately after graduation she began performing in shows and films. No matter how many difficulties she faced, Papadatou did not give up and managed to survive in the most competitive city in the world. The lockdown found her in Greece, where she opened a new path in her career- in commercials, appearances in TV series, but also in a demanding leading role in a series by Manousos Manousakis. Papadatou, a talented young actress, stood out as Demet in the series Ποιος ήτον ο φονεύς του αδερφού μου (Who Was My Brother’s Killer) that recently aired on Greek television on ERT. She spoke with The National Herald about her career and her return to Greece.
TNH: You came to New York at a very young age and managed to survive and develop professionally in a highly competitive field. What led you back to Greece and what would bring you back to the U.S.?
Mantalena Papadatou: I was in Greece to see my family. It had been a long time since I last visited them. I booked return tickets but the lockdown caught me. While I was waiting to return to New York, interesting artistic collaborations began to emerge. I did some commercials, there was a guest role on Tourta tis Mamas (Mom’s Cake) on ERT and then the collaboration with Mr. Manousakis came along and I got the role of Demet. At the moment, my base will be in Greece without this ruling out the possibility of my return to New York, if some collaboration arises. New York is the city where I started dreaming and it will always be in my heart!
TNH: The series Who Was My Brother’s Killer is based on the 1883 classic story by Georgios Vizyinos. What are the elements of the work that make it interesting so many years after the time it was written?
MP: The work focuses on human relationships. A mother’s love for her unfortunate son, her quest for justice and her desire for revenge, unfulfilled and forbidden love are some of the issues raised in the story. These are issues that always concern people, they are always relevant.
TNH: How did the collaboration with the renowned Manousos Manousakis come about in the TV series?
MP: I had sent my CV to his office. A few days later, I received a phone call from Mrs. Chrissa Psomadelli, the casting director of the series. She told me about Vizyinos’ story which Mr. Manousakis was adapting for TV and invited me to audition for the role of Demet. I already knew the story from school, so I knew the plot. Reading the scenes, I felt that I identified with the role. When I was invited for the second audition, we read together with Solon Tsounis who would play George. I felt that there was chemistry between us. A few hours after I left, Mrs. Psomadelli called me to announce that I got the role. I was overjoyed- a great role and a collaboration with a beloved director.
TNH: What does Mantalena have in common with Demet and how is she completely different?
MP: Demet is a young girl, living in another era, in a world with a culture far removed from mine. Our differences are therefore many, but there are several elements that connect us. She is an incurably romantic girl, she loves literature and poetry and I believe that if she lived in a different world, she could be very close to me. At first glance, she is a shy and timid girl, but along the way we find that she has a way of achieving what she wants and hides a lot of power inside her. I wish girls like Demet had the opportunity to travel, observe, read, and live outside the narrow confines imposed on them even today by some societies.
TNH: What are Mantalena’s dreams for the future?
MP: I am a “now” person and all I think about is the immediate future. But what I would definitely like is to continue to be surrounded by people I value and love and to develop personally and professionally.
Follow Mantalena Papadatou on Instagram: @mantalenapapadatou
Ambassador Dimitrios Tsikouris (JD, MA) has a 36-year-long career in the Greek Diplomatic Service with assignments in Germany, the United Nations, New Orleans, Washington, DC, NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, Iran, Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, and ASEAN.
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