Oleg now lives in Malibu with Joan Borsten, his wife of 28 years. They met in Rome in 1985, when he defected, the first major Soviet actor ever to leave the USSR for the United States. At that time Joan was writing for the LA Times entertainment section. They were introduced by Richard Harrison, an American actor living and working in Rome (with over 120 film credits to his name) who personally took Oleg to the US Embassy to apply for political asylum. 28 years later, Richard and Francesca, now Malibu residents, hosted Oleg’s U.S. birthday
Even at 70, there is no rest for Oleg as his current film is being the voice of the revered Russian Director Andrei Tarkovsky in a documentary called Time Within Time, based on Tarkovsky’s diary, and directed by PJ Letofsky. Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is one of the top 10 Directors of all time (IMDb.com), and #1 in Russia.
Tarkovsky was the first person Oleg called when he himself arrived in Rome in 1985. Tarkovsky had defected 2 years earlier and was living in Italy. PJ approached Oleg early on to be the ‘voice’ for the project, but didn’t know the extent of Oleg’s relationship with Tarkovsky. Although they had different roles in the Soviet film world, they knew each other, and Oleg was mentioned in the diary.
PJ said, ‘When we started recording the narration, it was immediately obvious that this was very personal for Oleg. He knew all the people in the diary, and all the struggles working in that system. We would take breaks during the recording and you could see Oleg going back in his mind, telling me stories how he planned his escape from the Soviet Union’…
Time Within Time is a very compelling story of its day- of international film, art, politics with a real life cast of characters including Michaelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ingmar Bergman, to name a few.
‘By using Tarkovsky’s diary, his words, it’s almost like he wrote the script for me’ says Letofsky.