The perfect son in law

{mosimage}Mikko Leppilampi looks relaxed and confident
when we enter the studio where his future new project is being shot: 8
Days to Premiere. Like a person who is satisfied with his own life. Nevertheless
he is one of the hottest names in Finland nowadays. Not only for
being considered one of the best young and talented actors, but also for his
obvious charisma for the big masses. Being the host of Eurovision festival has elevated
him into an international status. And apart from all that, he is as handsome as
you can get!


I suppose everybody has been asking you in
the past few days about the experience of hosting Eurovision.

Yes, actually everybody has been asking but
you are the first one I am answering to… because after that I started to shoot
this film 8 Days to Premiere straight away. The final of Eurovision Song
Contest was on Saturday night and on Monday morning at 8 o’clock I was shooting.


So no holidays at all after Eurovision…

No, but it is all right, because this is
like a holiday. Actually I enjoy working at this. It was a very good experience;
the entire week when all the delegations were in Helsinki was a lot of fun, although we were
working very long days, many hours. The audience was changing and I was all the
time in interviews, pictures, etc. It was very tiring but everybody knew that
it was just that week, so we tried to enjoy it.


Were you nervous hosting an event that was
broadcasted live worldwide?

No, I was more kind of excited. When you
have an audience of 15-20 people that you know, you are nervous, but in things
like that, with thousands of people inside the arena and then millions on TV,
you do not even get that. I felt I was just making a TV show and performing for
the audience in the arena as good as possible. After that everything has been
nice. I think I was lucky I went straight away to work. Probably if I had had
one or two weeks off, I had been thinking more about it, or “missing it”.


You started to be really popular in Finland after
appearing in the film Helmiä ja Sikoja, in 2003. How was your life
before that?

I was always doing sports, more than arts. I
would say. I have always been a “physical” person. I was playing ice hockey
almost professionally. I quit when I was 20 because I realized I did not want
to be a player. I spent 2 years in Canada in a boarding school and I
played in school teams. During the years there I realized I wanted to be an
actor.


Did you like it there in Canada?

I loved it. I took part of drama courses and
in plays, and then after I got back and I did military service, supposedly I
was going back to Canada to study cinema production but then I applied in
Finland for the theater academy and then I got it and I stayed. That was pretty
much it. This was my dream and I never thought that it happened, but it did.


Do you feel  that everything was going
very fast? Helmiä ja Sikoja was released only four years ago.

I think my life’s pace has been very fast
all the time. I was going from one hobby to another, kind of “I am going to try
that…and then I am going to try that other thing”. I was skating and
snowboarding also, then playing hockey, playing drums (that was the musical
part of my youth). When I got inside theater school I realized this was really
my thing. Then after that everything has gone pretty fast, but that was what I
was hoping to be like. It is just the way it goes, so it does not feel so bad.
My work is more public than some other work from my theater colleagues, who
work in 3 plays at the same time, but they do not write on newspapers about
them, so people don’t know about them so much.


But you do not have the feeling of being too
busy?

That was I was seeking for. I definitely
want to keep both music and acting for the rest of my life. I have been very
lucky.


Did it have something to do the fact that
your father was a singer too?

Well, we never had the question whether it was
all right to become an artist or not. It was more like nobody was pushing me. I
never felt pressured; it was more that I had to find myself, and realized what
I wanted to do.

{mosimage}
If somebody would offer you to participate
in Eurovision in the future, as the singer representing Finland, would
you accept?

It is very hard for me to comment on that. It
depends on the people who vote about the one who deserves to go there. I am
not even thinking about it now. 


You appeared in Paha Maa and you
appeared in a short  cameo in Valkoinen
Kaupunki
. How is your relation with director Aku Louhimies?

The cameo was made before Paha Maa.
Valkoinen Kaupunki at the beginning was not made to be a movie, it was made to
be a TV series called Irtiottoja. So
it was just a cut from that material the taxi driver’s character. I was just
lucky enough to be in one of the clips they put in the movie. Aku kind of tried
me out, to see if I was good enough for the role in Paha Maa. I felt it
was a bit like a test.


What can people expect from this new
project, 8 Days to Premiere, from director Perttu Leppä?

It is probably the most challenging role
that I have ever done. It involves making 3 most known love scenes in the
theater history, they are from Romeo and Juliet, so to be able to act
like that, in Shakespearian language… it was quite challenging, and then with Laura
Birn is very easy to work, she is very talented. The director writes his
own movies himself, and then they direct them and cast them himself. It is
going to be romantic and funny. When the audience is watching, they won’t be
sure if they are watching a scene from Romeo and Juliet or from 8 Days
to Premiere
.

The plot in 8 Days to Premiere
reminds me a bit of this other production, Shakespeare in Love

Do not tell that to Perttu! He would not
like that comment much…