Cinema Scandinavia: You’ve just had Love and Fury (syys prinssi) premiere in Finland. Can you tell us about your character in the film?

Laura Birn: My character, Inka, is a young artist who finds her own voice going through a bigger-than-life love story both beautiful and tragic. What I especially love about her is that she isn´t afraid of life, she throws herself fully into what she feels or does, into love and into art. The story takes place in two periods of time, in the early 80´s when Inka and Juhana fall in love, and in the 90´s when they look back to the intense love affair they had. I think it´s a fascinating question how we create the story that we tell ourselves about our own life, and how we stick to a certain story. What if the person you shared a significant part of your life with tells a completely different story? Who´s version is the truth? What are the things we want to remember?

We did quite a lot of research into the two different time periods depicted in the film, and we had the great privilege of meeting and talking to many of the prominent figures in the cultural life of Helsinki in the 80´s. It was so much fun listening to their stories, their lives sounded quite wild!

CS: You were also in The Girl King, which is even more historical. Did you research a lot of the history when preparing for this role?

Yes, I read quite a lot about Queen Christina, who is a truly fascinating character! She was unbelievably much ahead of her time. Such an interesting character from a feministic point of view.

CS: You were in a British film, too! Can you tell us about The Ones Below and how different Finnish and British sets are?

LB: The Ones Below is a psychological thriller written and directed by David Farr. It tells a story about two couples moving into the same house, both expecting their first child. The women, Kate and Teresa, become close friends in no time, but their relationship is shattered after an accident leads to the loss of Teresa´s baby. I loved the way David wrote and directed his characters, made them come alive. I felt very inspired to play Teresa, a very different kind of role I had ever done before. The way she gets obsessed in the story is so fascinating, and even recognisable I think, even though she ends up doing extremely horrible things. I feel like it´s very human to get obsessive about something, I find it interesting.

CS: What are your thoughts on Finnish film in 2016? What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of the Finnish industry?

LB: I think we are in a very interesting situation for Finnish cinema now in 2016. We have a lot of highly talented directors and writers getting a chance to do their thing, for example, Juho Kuosmanen with the Happiest Day In the Life of Olli Mäki, and Little Wing by Selma Vilhunen are gorgeous, funny, moving films, it seems to me they are very personal to their makers, and you can feel it in the film. Also, Finnish cinematography is doing well, we have incredibly talented and personal cinematographers in Finland! Not to mention Finnish documentaries. Soon in Finnish cinema, I hope to see even more stories about women, made by women.

CS: Do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us?

LB: I´m just finishing an assignment as a jury member in PÖFF, Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, and I must say I enjoyed it a lot! Interesting movies from different parts of the world, wise and funny people as my jury partners, good parties and very warm-hearted hosts, it was just great! In January, I´ll start shooting a feature film in Finland.

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.