Exclusive: Silje Reinåmo talks about Thale


Silje Reinåmo by Per Olav Heimstad/POHphoto

Thale is the new Norwegian supernatural horror movie by Aleksander Nordaas. We’ve been following the film for a while now.

It recently played at the Cannes Film Festival where it went down very well. Aleksander got in touch to say the film was sold to seven territories while they were at the Festival; UK, Ireland, Germany, Benelux, Russia, Switzerland and Japan.

Producer Bendik Heggen Strønstad also added that “they are in dialog with lots of other disributors from other territories. I also met a lot of festvals that wanted a screener. We are also in discussions on a remake with a LA based company.”

It sounds like everything is going well for the film.

The film follows a Huldra – a seductive forest spirit who appears from the front to be a beautiful young woman but who also has a cow’s tale and whose back appears to be like a hollowed out tree. The huldra has been known to offer rewards to those who satisfy them sexually and death to those who fail to do so and are also prone to stealing human babies.

I was also lucky enough to speak to Silje Reinåmo who plays Thale. This is what she had to say.

What inspired you to become an actor?

– I knew early that I wanted to be on the stage, but I didn’t know exactly where my talent was. When I was a child I was playing the flute and dancing. When I was 19 I started on a musical theatre course here in Norway. One of my teachers there was from Chekia, she was quite scary and I wasnt a favourite student of hers at first. But then I started to be more interested in the acting classes and found out that I wanted to learn a monoluge from Tsjekhovs The Seagull to audition for more drama schools. I asked if she could help me work on it, and that became the beginning of my love for acting and also our friendship. She is 90 years today, and she has taught me so much. I would say that in many ways she inspired me to become an actor. She has a true love and devotion to the theatre and to the art of acting. I think perhaps the most important thing she taught me was the love for the ensemble theatre. Acting can be a lonely proffession but it doesnt have to be. Embrace the people you work with.

How did you become involved with Thale?

– Me and the director Aleksander Nordaas actually grew up in the same small town north in Norway. We have always been friends, I mean, Aleksander is impossible not to like. He is a unique talent but also an amazing person. We both chose the film path in life, and it was quite natural that we started working together. We met every holiday in Mosjøen and planned and dreamed. It all started with a short (In Chambers) in 2008. It was such a great experience for all of us, so we knew that we wanted to make more film together. I always hoped that “Aleks” would be the person that I would get my big break together with. It feels so right since we have been through so much together. Thale has been an amazing jouney and a true fairy tale for us.

How did you prepare to play a mythological creature? Did your skills as a dancer come into play when working on the movement of the character?

– I read everything there was written about the huldra. Each job for an actor is different and I always try to find new ways of working when approaching a role. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With Thale I had to really be creative… She doesnt speak througout the whole movie and I knew that this role was even more based on reactions than any other role I’ve played. So partially the role was created on set, in interaction with the other characters in the film. It’s a story about the huldra, but it’s also a story of a girl that has been taken from her own people and she is in many ways half human. I read alot about physical reactions, shock, fear, extreme anxieties etc. I also read about people who have been kept as hostages etc. In many ways Thale is a child who is not fully developed. At the same time she is scary as hell because she has mythological power and she can use it to punish those who don’t treat her well.

I would not concider myself a dancer, but its true that I have background from dancing, and I also come from a home where I got all the music in the world daily in our livingroom. I would say that my movement understanding and my musicality is very strong, and I definitively think that it was a strength for portraying the role as Thale. The role as a mythological heroine actually came very naturally to me haha;), and I hope that shows.

What was your favourite and worst scene during filming?

We had lots and lots of thing working against us when filming, no wonder since we had such a low budget, and a lot of times there was only me and Aleks on set. (Says a lot about his talent).

My favourite scene when shooting was the last scene in the movie. That day everything worked. We had perfect weather, a perfect sunrise, and the timing was brilliant. The worst scene was definitively a scene where I come up from the bathtub. It was so technically hard going in and out of that water, it was freezing, and I was naked. I remember feeling like this better be worth it;). I trusted Aleks with the photography, but its not easy to be naked on set. I mean on set they see everything that the audience don’t. I felt very… naked.

Thale played well at the Cannes film festival. How did you find your time at the Festival?

I actually wasn’t there! Only in spirit:) I am filming a TV series in Norway at the moment, so I couldn’t do both unfortunately. But next year I really want to experience Cannes. I haven’t been there yet- so that is on my list of must do`s.

Can you tell us anything more about your role in the new film Patriot Act? What is it about?

I can say that I am playing the part as Kate, and that the director Wayne Slaten saw Thale at SXSW and cast me.

With the success of Let the Right One In and Troll Hunter around the world what do you think it is about Scandinavian horror that makes it so popular?

– I think the world will always be interested in new stories, and new creatures. The movie industry in Scandinavia is growing and I think that is why our filmmakers now are starting to tell the stories of our mythology on film. There is so much there that is great movie material, and I guess the world is paying attention to it.

The Avengers has been a huge movie and many more comic book movies are planned. Are there any comic book characters that you would like to portray on the big screen?

– I really like The Black Widow, but to portray any of those women would be super cool! I just need a couple of hours at the gym and then I’m in.

Is being in front of the camera your dream or do you fancy moving on to writing or perhaps directing at some stage in the future?

– Being and actress and working has been and still is my dream. I feel that there is still so much that I want to do as an actress. I hope and believe that I have a wide range, and I would really like to portray as many different characters as possible. But I do actually write a bit, and I have also directed a childrens play here in Norway. Time will tell what opportunities come my way.

If you could have played any part in any Film, Play or TV show who or what would it be and why?

– Tough question. There is so many roles I would love to play- and as I mentioned earlier I hope to have that versatile career. It would be great to one day portray a person who has lived. That is a huge task for an actress, and I would love to have that opportunity. If the film was set in the 50s that would be even better. I love the 50s style.

Silje Reinåmo by Per Olav Heimstad/POHphoto

What is the first film you remember watching?

– Cocktail with Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown! And of course all the Disney classic as a child. I grew up with them, and watched Beauty and the Beast like 100 times. I actually wanted to become a cartoon drawer for Disney growing up. Luckily I changed my mind, I would be so restless!

What’s your favourite horror film?

– I watch a lot of horror, I really like the genre. But I dont think I have a favourite anything, I have a very varied taste.

What other projects are you working on next?

At the moment a TV series called “Hjem” (Home). And then Patriot Act in September. Home will air this October and then for a year. It is a challenging role in the TV series because I feel the role I’m playing; Ellen, is very far out. Its all about finding the right balance not to go over the top. I want to make every role I play real, and it is important for me to find an understanding for the decisions that the character makes.

If you were to be killed by a movie monster what would it be?

– Hahaha! Excellent question! Perhaps one of those dinosaurs from Jurassic Park would be quick and easy…

And what would be your final words?

-Enjoy the film!

Thanks for your time.

You can follow Silje on Facebook and her own site.

Also check out the Thale Facebook page for more info on the film.