10 Questions: Alina Tomnikov
- How do you start your days?
I always stand up straight away when my alarm goes off. I open the wardrobe and get dressed based on how I feel that day. I usually just grab the first items that come to mind. When I leave home, I’ll often go straight to the set or rehearsal, where I need to change into my costume.
Occasionally I prepare a breakfast for myself, but sometimes I just leave the house and take some bread and coffee with me. I love hotel breakfasts and, when on a work trip, I spend way too much time at those.
- What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a professional actor?
Hmm. Maybe a therapist or a language teacher at university. A therapist, because I am interested in people: their mind, personality, self-image, life stories and feelings. It is great to listen to different people, have conversations and be of help if necessary. At the same time, for me it is a path to understanding myself better.
Moreover, I love different languages and cultures. I speak Finnish and Russian as my mother tongue and know English, Swedish and German, but I always get excited when I have a chance to speak something else than Finnish. I consider languages to be a pathway to understanding other cultures. In my opinion, rich cultures are the finest feature of human beings.
- You have a role in Teemu Nikki’s film Euthanizer, the Finnish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards. What kind of experience was the production?
I have a funny story! One day Teemu sent me a message and told that he was working on a full-length film and was wondering if I would like to play Catwoman in it. I had previously worked with him so we knew each other well – he is a great guy. In addition, I was aware that he creates really interesting and sometimes hilarious perspectives in his works. Therefore I said yes, without a doubt. My first thought was that I’d wear a superhero costume and would break into a bank as Catwoman or chase bad guys. After a while, I discovered that it was not going to be like that. It’s better that way, as Euthanizer is a really peculiar and great film. It is grim, but gentle.
- You’ve been involved in numerous projects throughout your career. What would you most want to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as someone who has been an inspiring and pleasant person to work with. I wish that I am able to convey to viewers the character and character’s world. One example of this is my role in the TV series Donna, which is about a blind woman looking for love. Playing this role has been exactly what I appreciate about making art. I consider myself a storyteller and I am working towards a dream that I will someday be able to tell my own stories.
- What role of yours has been the most difficult to say goodbye to after shooting has ended?
I would say Donna. We were filming and working so intensively for a couple of months that, when we were done it was my birthday, but I felt empty. I was tired, but so happy for what we had done. On the other hand, I like that things have a beginning and an ending as well. An end is always an opportunity for something new.
- As you have grown up in two cultures, what kind of an asset that has been in your life?
I think that it is easier for me to face and bond with people from different cultures. I respect greatly every culture, but at the same time I have a somewhat relaxed attitude towards all cultures’ manners and characteristics.
As I speak Russian as a mother tongue, it has opened several doors for me in Russian productions. I am currently filming a TV series there, in which I have a major role. Besides, being able to speak Russian in Finland, it has been fun to dub voices for different films and series.
- Who’s your hero?
My father. He is my best friend. We have a very similar temper, thus communication between us is sometimes even too intense. We are both emotional and sensitive, but at the same time also strong and fiery. When I travelled to Moscow for the first time to film, my father was the one I took with me.
- If you could play any animal in the world, what would it be and why?
I can’t decide! Maybe I would like to play a white-tailed eagle. It is so fascinating when it comes to its nature and way of life. Secondly, playing a cockroach or something could be interesting. I am interested to know what is going on in their head and what is it like to be despised by all and to live hidden from all.
- What could the rest of the world learn from Finnish films?
Maybe that it is not necessary to always tell a large showy story to be able touch people. Sometimes an insightful portrayal of a relationship over a weekend or some small casual chain of events is the most universal one.
- What advice would you give to young people hoping to become actors?
Listen to your intuition. Be brave and remember that courage is not about successes or results, but all that matters is that one tries and dares. There needs to be a passion to tell stories as well.