Shooting Star 2009 - Finland
by Annika Pham
A trained actor from the Theatre Academy in Finland, Samuli Vauramo (28) alternates between working in television, film and the theatre. His feature film debut was in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Man without a Past [+see also:
film profile]. Three years later, he landed his first leading role in Dome Karukoski’s acclaimed debut Beauty & the Bastard [+see also:
film profile], for which he was nominated for a Jussi Award in 2005. In 2007, Aku Louhimies gave him the title role in his historic drama Tears of April. He has since completed work on two English language films: Marko Mäklilaakso’s Stone’s War and Bunraku by Guy Moshe.
Cineuropa: When did decide to become a professional actor?
Samuli Vauramo: I decided to pursue acting as a career when I was 17. At the time I had been taking drama lessons in high school and acting in my school's amateur theatre for a year. I had no idea how one became an actor, I just decided that was my fate.
You’ve made just a handful of films, but with some of Finland’s most renowned filmmakers. How did that happen and how different are they in their work with actors?
I got accepted into Finland’s Theatre Academy when I was 19. The next day a friend of mine called and asked if I'd like to be an extra in Aki Kaurismäki's The Man Without a Past. Then I studied for four years in the academy. I took some time off between my studies to do my military service.
A few months before I graduated I got a call for an audition. It was for the lead in Dome Karukoski’s romantic comedy Beauty and the Bastard and I got it. The shoot finished a few days before my graduation. I ended up being nominated for Best Actor for that role. It felt amazing to get such recognition for a first role.
What those two filmmakers have in common is a strong vision and an ability to project it clearly to their actors. Of course they have different methods, but the films were different as well and needed different methods of directing and acting. With Dome I did my first lead in a feature and he kept a close eye on me. He made sure I felt comfortable and taught me a lot about film making from all perspectives. With Aku Louhimies, it was different because I had gained some experience and we decided to use method acting to go deeper with the characters. I didn't need as much "watching over" as before.
What attracts you to a role: the director, the script, your co-stars, money, the whole package?
First and foremost, the story. That's the most important thing to me in this whole business. I don't care whether a film is shot in L.A. or Kuala Lumpur. I mean, it's nice to get paid for doing what you love, but still the story means most to me. I say that now, but ask me again when I've got three kids and a mortgage….
What are your current projects in film, theatre, television?
Right now I've got a 12-episode TV series running on Finnish TV and two international films coming out this year. They're both action/adventure films. The first one is Stone's War and it's set in the last days of the WWII with some zombies...of course. The other one is called Bunraku and it was my first fully North American production. The role wasn't too big but, hey, you have to start somewhere. I got to do my own stunts on both films. I got hurt, but it looked good!
How does it feel to be selected for Shooting Stars 2009 and what do you expect from the event?
I feel honoured, especially because a jury now selects the Shooting Stars. I hope the event will help me get more work in international projects so that I can keep doing what I love most: telling stories.
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