Grigoriy Dobrygin
Grigoriy Dobrygin (cropped).jpg
Grigoriy Dobrygin at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.
Grigoriy Eduardovich Dobrygin

(1986-02-17) 17 February 1986 (age 36)
Other namesGrisha
OccupationActor, director
Years active2009–present
AwardsThe Silver Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival

Grigoriy Eduardovich Dobrygin (also trans. Grigory; Russian: Григо́рий Эдуа́рдович Добры́гин; born 17 February 1986) is a Russian film and theatre actor, director and producer. A classically trained ballet dancer, Dobrygin had his breakout role as the first Russian superhero in the 2009 film Black Lightning. After starring in the critically acclaimed How I Ended This Summer (2010), he made his Western debut in 2014 in A Most Wanted Man and Black Sea. He has been called Russia's top acting export[1] and the "Russian James Franco" for his versatility.[2]

Early life and education

Dobrygin was born in Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Kamchatka Krai, Russia) at the Rybachy Nuclear Submarine Base in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky,[3] on the Kamchatka Peninsula is the Russian Far East. His father was a Soviet Navy submarine captain and his mother was a professional ballet dancer from Moscow,[1] a combination Dobrygin has called a "super-Soviet ideal" match.[4]

His family returned to Moscow when he was 10 years old in order for him to study dance at the world-renowned Moscow State Academy of Choreography in the Bolshoi Theatre.[4] His first onstage role for the Bolshoi was in The Nutcracker at age 12.[1] His family lived in the Moscow suburb of Zelenograd, where Dobrygin also attended Sports school "Sputnik" and played football.[5]

After his father had a religious conversion to Seventh-day Adventism and became a preacher, Dobrygin quit the academy at 17, one year prior to graduation. He left Moscow and enrolled at Zaoksky Adventist University in Tula. The decision to enter the seminary stemmed from his own beliefs as well as influence from his parents, he has stated.[1][6] He played competitive indoor football for the seminary and traveled to tournaments in the United Kingdom and Germany.[5]

After two years at Zaoksky, Dobrygin moved back to Moscow to study Acting at the Moscow Art Theatre School. It is not clear whether he was expelled or left it by his own choice, but next year he enrolled in Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS) to study Directing.[1] Dobrygin has called his first year at GITIS "the worst in my life," when he lived in fear of being expelled. He said that although GITIS was strict, training with director Oleg Kudryashov was a turning point in his life. He graduated in 2010.[7]

Acting career

Dobrygin and Yekaterina Vilkova, 2009
Dobrygin and Yekaterina Vilkova, 2009

While still a student, Dobrygin was cast as Dima Maykov in producer Timur Bekmambetov's Black Lightning (2009), the first Russian-language blockbuster superhero film.[1]

Dobrygin earned worldwide recognition after director Alexei Popogrebsky spotted him at a theatre performance and ended up casting him in How I Ended This Summer (2010).[8] Dobrygin and Sergei Puskepalis, the only other on-screen actor in the film, shared the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival for their roles in the film, shot over three months at a meteorological station on an Arctic island in the Chukchi Peninsula.[1] Dobrygin also won the Best Actor trophy at the 2010 Russian Guild of Film Critics Awards for his performance.[9] Following his success; the media dubbed him "the most famous student in Russia."[8]

Dobrygin's first English-language movie was A Most Wanted Man (2014), an adaption of a John le Carré novel. Dobrygin portrayed Issa Karpov, a half-Russian, half-Chechen Muslim who flees to Hamburg, where he is targeted as a terrorist by the CIA and German secret service.[10][11] Dobrygin co-starred with Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, in some of Hoffman's last scenes.[1]

Philip Seymour Hoffman, director Anton Corbijn, Dobrygin, Willem Dafoe and Rachel McAdams at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

He co-starred with Jude Law in 2014's Black Sea, a submarine thriller directed by Kevin Macdonald. To prepare for the role, Dobrygin visited submarine bases in Sevastopol, Crimea. He told Interview magazine that he "semi-legally" toured both Ukrainian and Russian sites in the disputed territory.[7]

Macdonald praised Dobrygin's approach to the role, saying, “Not many Russian actors, or actors, actually, have his sensitivity or awareness. He has a very western approach, more of a method about him, for want of a more nuanced word. He wanted to inhabit the character, whereas the Russian way seems to be a lot more craft-based in its mentality."[1]

He is also starring in another John le Carré adaption, Our Kind of Traitor (2015), alongside Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård, and in Grain from Turkish director Semih Kaplanoğlu.[1] Dobrygin will portray Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich in an upcoming Russian biopic from director Alexei Uchitel about the life of ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya, the mistress to three Grand Dukes.[12]

In 2015, Dobrygin starred in an adidas commercial directed by Pharrell Williams, #OriginalSuperstar, along with Pusha T, Japanese designer Yoon, VJ/designer VJ Mian, and Mexican illustrator Smithe.[13]

Directing and producing

Dobrygin was a producer for the film Beloved Sisters (2014), the official German submission for the Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film.[14]

He made his directorial debut with the comedic short Treason (Измена), which was screened at the 2013 Kinotavr film festival.[15] He also wrote and directed a short, Verpaskungen, which won two prizes at the 2014 Kinotavr.[16]

In November 2013, he made his debut as a theatre director at the Mayakovsky Theatre.[17]

In 2016, Dobrygin directed a short, Mind the Gap, featuring his A Most Wanted Man co-star Willem Dafoe. The short sold for more than $100,000 for a children's charity.[18]


Dobrygin has stated his intent to return to the dancing world through a film project. He told The Guardian in October 2014, “Five years after I stopped dancing I thought about going back. Now it’s been 10 years, so it’s going to be a documentary experiment for me: I’m going to go deep into ballet, prepare my body and then travel the world with a professional coach, an international choreographer and a camera.”[1] In March 2015, he told Interview magazine, "I really want to go back on the big stage and dance something. I didn't finish my last year at the academy—I was not assigned to the theatre. And this was what was once the meaning of life: to dance."[7]

Personal life

Dobrygin is an observant Seventh-day Adventist; he said that his film contracts state that he will not drink alcohol, smoke, or be in a graphic sex scene on film, nor will he work on Saturdays.[7] He declined to appear in a love scene with Rachel McAdams in A Most Wanted Man that was not in the original script, but he stated that it was because it would have been extremely out of character for the role he was playing.[19] Dobrygin said his parents are extremely devout and do not watch television or films, although he brought his father, a former submarine captain, to the Moscow premiere of Black Sea.[7][20] Dobrygin is in a relationship with singer and Moscow Art Theatre School acting student Musia Totibadze, the daughter of Georgian painter Konstantin Totibadze.


Title Original Title Year Role Notes
Detachments: Solo in a Minefield Заградотряд: Соло на минном поле 2009 Sergei Shmelev
The Legend of Akhtamar Ахтамар 2009 passenger
Black Lightning Чёрная молния 2009 Dima Maykov / Black Lightning first Russian superhero film
How I Ended This Summer Как я провёл этим летом
(Kak ya provyol etim letom)
2010 Pavel Danilov
The Fourth State Die Vierte Macht 2011 Anatoly
4 Days in May 4 Tage im Mai 2011 Fedyunin
Atomic Ivan Атомный Иван 2012 Ivan
Blizzard Метель 2013 Lyova based on "The Snowstorm"
Treason Измена 2013 short; writer and director
A Most Wanted Man 2014 Issa Karpov
Beloved Sisters Die Geliebten Schwestern 2014 producer
Verpaskungen Верпаскунген 2014 short; writer and director
Black Sea 2014 Morozov
Territory Территория 2015 Sergei Baklakov
Grain 2015 Andrei
Our Kind of Traitor 2016 Prince
Matilda Матильда 2017 Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich

Awards and recognition

Year Award Nominated work Result
2010 60th Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Actor How I Ended This Summer Won
2010 Russian Guild of Film Critics Best Actor How I Ended This Summer Won
2010 Golden Eagle Awards: Special MegaFon prize "The Future Depends on You" for Best Young Talent[21] Won
2013 Kinotavr Film Festival: Diploma: "For the Unconditional Love of Self-Deprecating Humour and Irony"[22] Treason Won
2014 Kinotavr Film Festival: High Achievement in Directing[16] Verpaskungen Won
2014 Kinotavr Film Festival: Guild of Film Critics Prize Verpaskungen Won


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Seymour, Tom (22 November 2014). "Black Sea's Grigoriy Dobrygin: 'They used to call me the philosopher'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  2. ^ Shakhina, Olga (11 September 2014). Светлый путь Григория Добрыгина [Grigory Dobrygin's shining path]. GQ Russia (in Russian). Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Transcript: June 2014 interview with Grigoriy Dobrygin" (in Russian). Radio Mayak. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Transcript: November 2013 interview with Grigoriy Dobrygin" (in Russian). Radio Mayak. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b Кандидат на роль Льва Яшина Григорий Добрыгин: Вратарь делает игру праздником [Grigory Dobrygin, candidate for the role of Lev Yashin: Goalie celebrates the game]. Sovetsky Sport (in Russian). 16 March 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  6. ^ Взлетная полоса: Григорий Добрыгин [Runway: Grigory Dobrygin]. Cosmopolitan (in Russian). 29 January 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2015. (translation) From 17 to 19, I was in a Protestant seminary... For me it was kind of like searching for myself.
  7. ^ a b c d e Yastrubitskaya, Daria (5 March 2015). Григорий Добрыгин: Хочу Вернуться в Балет [Grigory Dobrygin: I Want to Return to the Ballet]. Interview Magazine (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Григорий Добрыгин: "Я вытащил счастливый билет"". Vsar. No. Grigory Dobrygin: "I drew the lucky ticket". 10 July 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  9. ^ "2010 Премия "Слон"". Russian Guild of Film Critics. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Anton Corbijn Narrates a Scene From 'A Most Wanted Man'". New York Times. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  11. ^ Bullock, Dan (13 January 2015). "A Most Wanted Man DVD Review A Most Wanted Man DVD Review". The Hollywood News. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  12. ^ «Матильда» Учителя переехала на «Ленфильм» [Uchitel's "Matilda" Comes to Lenfilm]. Lenfilm. 24 December 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  13. ^ Oster, Erik (30 July 2015). "Johannes Leonardo, Adidas and Pharrell Take on Haters". Ad Week. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  14. ^ "BELOVED SISTERS [Die geliebten Schwestern] 2014 Oscar® Selection, Germany". American Film Institute. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  15. ^ Solntseva, Alyona (5 June 2013). «Кинотавр-2013». День третий [2013 Kinotavr: Day 3]. Moskovsky Novosti (in Russian). Archived from the original on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Призеры 25 Открытого Российского кинофестиваля "Кинотавр"". Kinotavr. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  17. ^ Григорий Добрыгин дебютирует как театральный режиссер [Grigory Dobrygin makes his debut as a theatre director] (in Russian). Mayakovsky Theatre. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Short film released showing Willem Dafoe talking about the gaps in his teeth and it's strangely alluring". The Independent. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  19. ^ Актер Григорий Добрыгин отказался сниматься в откровенной сцене с Рэйчел МакАдамс [Actor Grigory Dobrygin refused to appear in an explicit scene with Rachel McAdams]. Segodnya (in Russian). 26 June 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  20. ^ Kalashnikova, Ulyana (22 January 2015). Григорий Добрыгин вывел в свет девушку и папу [Grigory Dobrygin brings his girl and his dad into the light]. 24News. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  21. ^ "MegaFon Sustainability Report 2011" (PDF). MegaFon. Retrieved 19 April 2015.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Объявлены победители конкурса "Кинотавр" Короткий метр" [Winners of the Kinotavr festival announced]. Kinotavr. Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2015.