I have just watched your Finnish movie, called The House of Branching Love!
Great, how did you like it?
I loved it, I laughed a lot! How people like it in the USA?
I think they enjoy it. You know, sometimes even though it is in a different language, and they see it in Finnish with English subtitles, they still find it funny, so it’s good.
It is a very funny movie, it has got a lot of great scenes, but I think in States I could call it hardly like a typical comedy, because it is something more. It’s got a critical point of view about society, about sexuality and relationships. How often can we see such a movie in Finland?
I understand the stereotypes and I made them myself about Finnish movies when I was watching them. I think that Finnish movies are kind of sad. I must say they are kind of depressing and dark. In my opinion all of Scandinavian movies are a little bit like that. It was funny when I was at the Toronto Film Festival, and they had this Scandinavian film showcase. They showed maybe 15 films from Scandinavia, and The House of Branching Love was the only one that was like „wow”, just light and funny. It was so different, from the normal movies from those ones that are made in that region. So it is not normal to have that kind of movie.
This was your first Finnish movie, wasn’t it?
Yes! Yes, it was.
After ten years acting.
I know!!! [she smiles] I’d love to go back and do a lot of more Finnish movies. I think that would be really great to do that.
How did you like this movie after reading the script at the first time?
Actually at the first time when I read the script I didn’t know which character the director meant for me, and I felt it would be so great if I could be Nina. That was the role that I wanted. I was very happy when I got it.
As "Nina" in The House of Branching Love
First time you played in commercials, mainly in Tokyo, Japan, and you performed in theatre in the USA. How did you get into this acting career?
When I was a little kid I wanted to be a model. First I started acting as a model. Commercials, TV-shows came by an accident for me when I was a model, but then I realized that I really liked it. And I saw that it’s been more challenging than modeling. So it is just in a natural way that I started to do that.
How old were you when you won the international modeling contest of that teenager magazine, called SinäMinä?
I was…How old was I? I was maybe fifteen. Or sixteen, something like that, however I got my first paid model job when I was twelve yeas old.
Weren’t you afraid of ‘the new world’, when you went to Tokyo? What was your parents’ reaction of?
No, I was crazy. I was so brave that there was nothing holding me back. I didn’t have thoughts about bad people; these kind of thoughts didn’t even cross my head. It was like: “I’m going and I’m doing this.” My parents thought I was crazy. They really didn’t want me to go. And I found myself to be such a stubborn person and I kept saying, I’m going, I’m going, and then eventually they said yes.
And once a time you started to work in charity...
Yes, that was close to you, and actually I went to Budapest. I took a train from Bratislava and traveled to Budapest. I went there with a girl who was from Slovakia, Eva, and we did a sightseeing tour.
So you have seen the city; you have felt the atmosphere. How come you didn’t get a job here accidentally; however you had been traveled the world around before?
I don’t know! How come you guys you didn’t give me one! I really liked it! And because all my life I have been hearing about Finnish language is being so closed to Hungarian, and okay, I’m going to understand something, but really I didn’t understand anything.
There are some basic words that are exactly the same, but if you hear them in a sentence you might not understand. For example ‘mene’ in Finnish is ‘going’ and the Hungarian version is ‘menni’. You don’t have to be polite, seriously how did you like Budapest?
I love old European architecture, it is so beautiful, and especially living in America now it is really different for me. There are not such old buildings, like in Europe. Here, in Los Angeles I have a really old house, it was built in 1927, so that is really old for here but in Europe there are lots of way older great architecture.
Did you continue charity? What was the original motivation of yours in the start?
I continued, and actually now I’m looking for to do it again. My next thing is in October with the Women’s Forum in France, which is assisting with the economical situation of women in the world. I feel motivation to go somewhere and do charity work. I was debating what to do at some point in my career. I was thinking some kind of international politics career, like an ambassador of Finland or some kind of consulate type of person. In Slovakia I met a lady who knew people with the UN (United Nations), and she thought maybe it would be okay or good for me to volunteer there to do some work to get into this international politics type of area. That is why I at first ended up doing it, and I decided not to pursue that kind of career after all in the end, but I still keep it as part time issue that I focus on.
On your homepage your fans also can take a part in your charity program with buying pictures of yours….
I felt that it was a good exchange in that, you know, because I could do it for free, but it is better when you can give at least to somebody something from this.
Have you ever thought about that after your international career it would be easy to go home and get the main role in every movie due to this so called international reputation?
I guess so, maybe it would be easy, but all my life is here – but yes, I could. I feel that in Hollywood there are lots of roles that I’d like to play and if I could go back to Europe then I could miss on some chances to do auditions for parts that I would really want to have here. So I have to stick around here until I feel I’m ready to move on.
I can not miss asking: how is the renovating of your house going?
Good. I’m still doing it. Right now I’m building a Finnish sauna and I’m remodeling one of the bathrooms.
You wouldn’t be really native Finnish person if you could have that, but is this necessary in such a city like Los Angeles?
People here really don’t use sauna. A lot of people don’t even know how it works and what it is for. I’m just doing it for me. When I was in Finland shooting The House of Branching Love, I was there for sixty days and probably I was in sauna at least fifty-five times. I tried to go every single day; there is something that I love about it. So now I have to have one here for the cold winter days, which are not really so cold, but I will have it soon!
You’ve got in your house such and old, nice, antique furniture, do you like them?
I felt they could really go with the house. You know, it is an old house, and I thought the house needs to have old stuff. I don’t know where it came from, it just happened. I’m buying them mostly, just because they look good.
If I see well, your table that you use your computer on was originally for writers before.
Do you see? I’m just getting this creative energy from this table. That is very good.
You mentioned before that some days ago you’ve had a print model job, what was it?
Yes, I did. Actually it is an American furniture company, and it was just such an easy job. They have this beautiful rented house, and they brought the furniture, these chairs and these really nice sofas. All I had to do is relax and close my eyes and pretend that I was sleeping on a chair. So that was my job for today, and I really enjoyed it.
Just like the audition where you have been also some days ago?
What did I have an audition for? I don’t have a bad memory, but I have this thing that when I go to auditions I forget about them on purpose so if I don’t get the role I’m not too upset about it and if I get the role so it is a nice surprise, because I don’t remember it, and when they call me, so for me it is like “oh yay, I’m so happy”. But wait, it was a film, I guess, I know…[Anna laughs constantly]. No, wait, it was a film and I remember now the script was really interesting. I loved it, it was an independent American movie!
Tell me now something about your new movie called A Voice in The Dark!
I loved the script of that film, it’s a kind of “end of the World” type of the movie, it is possibly the last day of the people’s lives and about what they do in their last moments. My character is intense and what happens to my character is intense. It was a really fun doing it, because it was just wild. They actually finished editing it right now. So hopefully we will all get to see it soon.
Have you ever got any bad comments because you have never learnt acting, that you were originally “only a model”?
No, but actually, having done some soap operas, you have to be really good at acting because they shoot so fast that they don’t give you an other chance if you screw it up,. I remember for the first time when I went to a soap opera and I had to memorized my lines and I was good to go on. We shot the scene, they took the first take and then I thought there is going to be a second take, so I can do it better. But then they said that was fine, we are moving on and they never gave me a second take. So then I really realized that I had to be really good in the first take because I’m not going to do it again if there is not something terrible going on with it.
Did you meet with Joey Tribbiani from Days of Our Lives when you played there?
No, I did not meet with him! [laughs] He wasn’t working on that day. There I played a French girl, so I had a French accident, I wore a black wig and I had short black hair, so I was very unrecognizable.
A Voice in The Dark, 2010
You were speaking Finnish in the show called Let’s make a deal. What was the concept of that tv-show?
Yes, actually it was a really big-time show in TV in the sixties, I think, so it was really long time ago. And now they were remaking it and a few episodes were filmed. It was a kind of a game show, they took people from the audience and they had these tasks. In this show I was playing a Finnish model and if someone was good enough, the person won a trip to Finland. It was like they had to choose between me and these girls from Ireland and Fiji, and if they choose me so they won a trip to Finland.
I must say that in the other show, called Jimmy Kimmel’s Show, the parody of Sex in city 2 was brilliant from you.
Jimmy Kimmel is that kind of show where they make fun of lots of things like that.
It is a pity, you had to wear such a black suit and you were not so much visible.
You speak very well in English, but do you speak some other languages as well?
Well Finnish of course, and also in Finland in school we all have to learn Swedish. Finland has got two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. I did learn Swedish, I don’t speak it so good, because I never use it, but I could, and I learned a little Japanese when I was in Tokyo.
You mentioned in an interview before that you have written a movie script already. What kind of film is it?
I have written a couple actually. And they are going around in Hollywood to different directors and producers and I really hope that I would find someone who loved the projects as much as I do. One of them takes places actually in Finland, but it’s half English half Finnish, I’d like to do something in Finland something in America, you know, get a lots of people involved.
Can you take care about your Finnish roots?
Well, it is quite hard. When I went to Finland to shoot The House of Branching Love, the director Mika Kaurismaki decided to send me to an accent coach, because he thought that my Finnish sounded too American with a Finnish country accent. And I thought ”No-no-no, this is my first language I speak it well. It didn’t sound like how people speak in Helsinki nowadays, it was more like ”country-Finnish” mixed up with American accent. Now in LA, I speak with my parents on phone and also with my brother in Finnish, and I feel like I speak perfect Finnish. By the way every year I meet lots of Finnish people in Los Angeles, because the Consulate General here has a party on Finnish Independence Day on 6th of December, so each year I have the possibility to keep contact with all local Finnish people and to eat Finnish food which is the best part.
Which is your favorite Finnish food?
There is a thing called Karjalan Piirakka, which in English is Karelian Pastry, it has got rice inside, and like a bread type of thing on the top, and you put butter with eggs on top, it is so good! These are really hard to make, and usually my Mum makes them.
It came now to my mind that your gingerbread house was gorgeous…
Thank you! That was my first one that I made, I do like cooking and I like to eat, and I want to eat healthy. I cook organic food and I’m mostly vegetarian, so I enjoy doing that in my personal time and I have a garden where I grow vegetables.
You mentioned on your Facebook profile some months ago that you’d fired someone and you felt good about it. How did it happen?
That is not fun, I don’t like telling people that they are fired or calling them to say: “Sorry, I don’t want your work anymore.” However it wasn’t the first time, but really I don’t like it. I’d rather do it over e-mail then telling them personally because then I don’t have to see them taking it bad.
Is it possible that you come to Europe in the nearly future?
I hope so. The only fear that I have I’m going to have a Finnish film that would be in the middle of the winter and it will be cold outside.