It might be you have heard of Krista Kosonen; The well-known Finnish actress has won several awards, been named best actress, and played against international celebrity stars such as Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling. Now she is to be seen on HBO Max, starring in Beforeigners season 2. Without knowing any Norwegian, she played the lead role perfectly. — At times it felt quite schizophrenic. I had to study the Norwegian lines around the clock to be able to act with empathy, not just survive, she reveals.
This article was first published in Noway’s biggest woman’s magazine Tara Magazine (26.11.21, December Issue)
— I know that Nicolai will be very happy when he will be able to act with a colleague who can actually improvise.
The Finnish actress Krista Kosonen (38) laughs a subtle laugh before she frowns in a compassionate grimace.
That Kosonen has not understood the Norwegian language throughout large parts of the shooting of the very first Norwegian HBO Max series «Beforeigners», was at times a challenge for lead actor Nicolai Cleve Broch. During one of the filming days of season 2 this winter, he asked if Kosonen even listened to, and understood, what he was saying on the set.
— And I am not. I have to constantly concentrate on my own lines and reactions that have to come in the right place and time. I remember Nicolai adding: “So … does that mean I can say anything?!”
The answer to that was a resounding “yes.”
— We have a very good relationship between us, but I bet he has at times thought: “My God!”. And of course, as an actor you want to improvise – you want to be in the moment. But with me, no one can be ‘in the moment’ in this production.
She rolls demonstratively with her eyes and gasps to illustrate the reaction of the Norwegian actor – then she smiles.
Season 2 of Beforeigners was announced in December! Here’s a trailer for the second season, HBO Max’s debut original from Norway:
NORDIC FILM EXPORT
The winter sun shines through the window. In the apartment, somewhere between Torshov and Sandaker in Oslo City, hangs a Viking sword, right next to the bed. In the living room – a “Beforeigners” poster. One would think a huge fan lived here, but it has been Krista Kosonen’s and her five-year-old daughter’s Norwegian home for six months. A somewhat violent atmosphere for a small child, some would probably claim.
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— I think it must be the producer’s humor. So yes, it is the production that owns it, not me! They will not let me forget why I am here.
“Beforeigners” is about modern Oslo that is flooded with “emigrants” from the past, who start to pop out of the water in the Oslo Fjord: Drunk Vikings, energetic bohemians, and cavemen. In the intricate mystery and distinctive sci-fi landscape, Krista Kosonen plays a police officer from the Viking Age named Alfhildr Enginnsdóttir. When a corpse with Stone Age tattoos appears, she is asked to work with police investigator Lars Haaland (Norwegian Nicolai Cleve Broch) to help him solve the mystery. Has the victim been subjected to “time-ism”?
— “Beforeigners” has been a big thing for me career-wise. It is a fantastic role and an exceptional script. I have laughed so much! It was also very important for me to get a big role where no one knew me through an audition. Mentally important.
Educated in theater from the Theater Academy in Helsinki, the 38-year-old has left behind a long career in Finnish films and TV series and has become a big star in Finland. She has won several awards and been named best actress, including during China’s largest Shanghai International Film Festival for the war film “The Midwife” in 2015. During the Finnish Oscars, she has collected several prestigious Jussi awards, both in 2016 and 2018. Last year, Krista Kosonen was nominated for the Norwegian Series Critics Award in the class «best actress in the Norwegian series» – as the only foreign actress in this category. And in 2021 she was seen in the Finnish Oscar-winning film “Tove”. Not only that, Kosonen has played against international celebrity stars such as Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, something few Nordic actors and actresses can put on their bragging list.
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— I am a hardworking person and that is my superpower. I have never danced or sung, but I am very curious, and I throw myself into everything I do. I do not believe in any special talent or charisma, I rather believe in intuition, practice, and hard work, and I feel that I am good at it.
As a matter of fact, the “Beforeigners” production has never had to retake film shoots due to Krista Kosonen’s Norwegian skills.
Despite the fact that she has learned a little more Norwegian (and Norse) during two seasons in Norway, she is still far from fluent in the language.
— I think many expect me to know Norwegian better, but after 10 to 14 hours at the set, I do not exactly have the energy to learn “small talk”. But I will manage if I get into trouble, and I can order food in Norwegian.
I am a hardworking person and that is my superpower. I have never danced or sung, but I am very curious, and I throw myself into everything I do. I do not believe in any special talent or charisma, I rather believe in intuition, practice, and hard work, and I feel that I am good at it.Krista Kosonen
To play with empathy – not just survive, she learns the lines by heart like a parrot. Especially in scenes where several people speak different Norwegian dialects (they might be completely different between regions!).
Krista Kosonen eagerly visualizes a scene:
— Now he says his line, then she says hers – then it is my line and here I have to react. It felt a little schizophrenic at times!
Her eyes glow, but she smiles a big, uncontrollable smile. Because in the end, she passed the acting test. While the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation describes her as “charming and cool” in the role of Alfhildr, continuous fan messages from around the world are simultaneously ticking in on her mobile: from Europe, South America, USA, and Australia.
Born: 28 May 1983, in Espoo, Finland.
Marital status: Married to the Finnish director Antti Jokinen. Together they have a daughter named Selma (5).
Background: Educated within theater from the Theater Academy in Helsinki. Actress, but works also as a lecturer and voice actress. Kosonen has recorded several audiobooks, including The New Testament. She has also won several awards and been named best actress. During the Finnish Oscars, she has collected several prestigious Jussi awards, both in 2016 and 2018.
Current: Krista Kosonen is starring in Beforeigners (season 2); being in the lead role of the Norwegian HBO Max series. She is also acting in the new film «Tove» (2020), which had its premiere in cinemas in 2021.
Photo: Eva Beate Strømsted
AFRAID TO BE ALONE
But no one believed that Krista Kosonen, sometime in the future, would become a famous actress. Not even herself.
— I dreamed of becoming a writer, for a long time …
Growing up in Finland’s second-largest city, Espoo, the writing environment was seemingly conducive; The city on the idyllic Gulf of Finland, just 20 minutes from the Finnish capital Helsinki, had everything to offer in terms of inspiration for literary talents.
It must have been so peaceful and harmonious there, that young Kosonen was always to be seen immersed in a book. Often hovering, in her own thoughts.
— That was what I did most of the time when I was a child. I read, read, read.
As a child, she closely followed the profession of her father, a priest who tirelessly had to speak in front of the audience, perform and sing. The mother, on the other hand, was a career-oriented lawyer who worked tirelessly but knew how to make time for the children.
— In a way, I feel that dad is the person who comes closest to my career choice. His passion has been acting, so I find many similarities between acting and clergy.
She looks a little in the air as she reminisces back to her childhood years. The truth is that it was not her father’s sermons that changed her career dream to a new course.
When the family idyll collapsed one day, five-year-old Krista Kosonen and her three-year-old brother had to move in with their mother. It was in the 1990s, at a time shaken by a very serious economic crisis with an unemployment rate of over 23 percent and a fiscal misfortune in Finland. The life of the Kosonen family became more difficult. The mother had two small children to take care of and a challenging job, but still, she possessed impressive steel nerves.
— We did not have much money and it was very stressful, but she never took her anger on us. My mother has really had a big impact on my life and the way I think a woman should be.
Strong and humble – personal sides she has inherited from her mother. And when Krista Kosonen travels the world as an adult today, she often brings her daughter, Selma, with her.
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— Hei, kaveri. Mikä hätänä?
The interview is interrupted as little Selma grabs her mother’s shoulder, while she modestly hides her face. Krista Kosonen asks what she wants in Finnish.
— Can you excuse me a little? She is hungry. We have been out in the park all day, you see.
Kosonen enters the kitchen and starts cooking. Like her own mother, she juggles between her own career and parenthood with brilliance. Obviously.
I think it is a very nice thing that he [husband Antti Jokinen] understands my schedule, the pressure, the passion, and the stress. He knows exactly what I am talking about and understands if I arrive late because of shootings. Others, outside of the film industry, would probably think “What the f @ &%?” about my life.Krista Kosonen
— Well, where were we. Yes, how old were you when you first realized that you wanted to invest in acting?
She is silent for a little while.
— I never had a dream of becoming an actor, but that changed when I started studying music, dance, and drama in high school. There is something strange about that. Throughout my youth, I wanted to become a writer, but then I suddenly realized that I could not work alone. When I work with others, I feel very confident. When I am alone, I question everything I do.
She stops talking for two seconds.
— And what I liked so much bout writing, I could suddenly do with others as a group in the field of acting: Tell stories and use my imagination. It was a kind of great love that suddenly filled a void inside of me.
WHAT THE F @ &%?
This is how it all went after that: During the seven years she was studying in the 2000s, she appeared in a number of series and films. Three years after graduating in 2009, she landed a role in the film “The Purge”, directed by the famous Finnish music video and film director Antti Jokinen. Jokinen has worked closely with major international celebrities, including Beyoncé, Céline Dion, and Will Smith, to name a few.
It was the start of an acquaintance that developed into a romantic affair.
— It is Antti who has also directed «The Midwife», and in that film, we were already together. After the movie, he proposed to me, and in his next film, I was already pregnant.
She shrugs and chuckles. Life can take unexpected turns.
— I think it is a very nice thing that he understands my schedule, the pressure, the passion, and the stress. He knows exactly what I am talking about and understands if I arrive late because of shootings. Others, outside of the film industry, would probably think “What the f @ &%?” about my life.
IN THE SEARCH
While Krista Kosonen has been in Norway acting in the HBO series for six months in 2021, her husband has been in Finland, working on his own projects.
— I love Oslo, Norway, and the Norwegian people, but I must say that I have been a little lonely. Of course, my husband is in Finland, and I live with a five-year-old daughter. At the same time, it has not been possible to get a visit while I have been in Oslo due to corona. and closed borders. It is clear that it has been a bit sad situation.
Krista Kosonen brushes through her tangled “Viking hair”. Yes, Viking hair. Despite some mixed feelings, she will soon be able to say goodbye to fake tangles, as the HBO production declares “cut” in real film jargon to start editing season 2.
And with her natural mane, she will once again set course for new opportunities in Finland, or elsewhere in the world. Maybe she will return to Norwegian waters for a season 3 in the future? But it is currently unclear, unfortunately.
— Ah, what are my future plans …? Now, first of all, I must say: “Hello there, my husband!” Then I will decide my next steps.
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