Kyss Mig: Interview with Josefin Tengblad and Liv Mjönes
I met Josefin and Liv at Hotel Rival in Stockholm. I was blown away by their beauty. It is one thing to see them on screen, and a whole different thing to meet them in person.
I was curious about Josefin, being both an actress and producer, her résumé speaks for itself. She recently launched Lebox, her own production company, to be able to get Kyss Mig out. Liv is pretty new to me, but she is a veteran in the Swedish movie industry. Kyss Mig is sure to launch her and Ruth Vega Fernandez into stardom.
The three of us sat down to talk about how the movie was made, what they had to go through, and the hype that has been growing around the movie.
Tell me, what was it like making the film?
Josephine: Oh God what a question! [laughs]
Liv: My process differs quite a lot from you [points at Josephine]. Yours is a much longer process than mine. When I got involved, well then you had been at it for three years already.
J: It took five years to make the movie. From the time we started until now, it has been five years.
I read about how difficult it was for you to get the film made, but I did not realize that it had taken so long.
J: It takes time to make a movie. All movies take a couple of years to make. In some ways, it’s quite a normal process, but it’s clearly a long time. Five years is still five years.
So how long did it take to film it all?
J: We had a really hectic schedule. We filmed for six weeks.
[Jaw drops to the floor] What?
J: Which is incredibly little when compared against the standard. Eight weeks is the minimum. But since we were on a low budget, we just had to do it.
The film did not look low-budget at all. I was really taken by the photography, it was very nicely done.
J: Ragna Jorming is a fantastic photographer.
For me it seemed more like a Hollywood production.
J: We worked very hard to make it appear so. It was the technology companies that went in with their own effort, we could use much more than what we paid for. When working with so little money it’s essential that people give of themselves. All the actors did that as well. Everybody that has been involved has done it. You can work in such a short time if you work with professionals.
Liv, this is your first starring role right?
L: Yes it is.
How did you get involved with the project?
L: It was Josephine who called me, asked if I wanted to read the script and do a screen test.
[To Josephine] Did you have an idea of the actors that you wanted to play the roles?
J: Alexandra (the director) and I made a list of our top names that we wanted to screen test for us. Liv was, we knew from the start that she was a strong candidate because of what we had seen her do. Liv is really the best we have in this country right now.
L: Good! [laughs]
J: Yes but it’s so nice to be able to say it when you really think so. We made a very intimate audition because I work as an actor myself, so I did the screen test with Liv. It was just me, Alexandra and Liv in a very safe environment at my parents’ house [laughs]. Just to make it as stripped down and intimate as possible.
[To Liv] Was it hard to get into the role of Frida?
L: Well, I had one person in mind. I filmed the screen test against Josefin. We had instant chemistry and I thought to myself, “This screen test was fun“. It felt so good with Josephine, so I wondered if I could do it with someone else. But it went pretty well with Ruth.
J: We found Frida first and then we looked for Mia. With Ruth, she lived in Paris so we wondered if she could come and screen test for us. We flew her here, they (Liv and Ruth) tested against each other and I just went, “Woah!”.
The fact that you had to fight so hard to get the film done — has it scared you from making more movies or given you an appetite for it?
J: Well, the thing about appetite, just that feeling that “everything is possible” – I have that setting in general. There I have gotten an appetite, I feel that everything is possible if you have the heart and believe in it enough. Meanwhile, I am now tired. The thought of doing this kind of project, I don’t think that I will make such a project like this again, a project that has been so personal. I am a little beat. But the appetite is there.
Now that you have started Lebox [Lebox.se], have people begun to knock on your door with scripts?
J: Absolutely, very much so.
Has something already captured your interest?
J: Yes. But for me it’s about waiting until I find what I’m passionate about. I’m not the type that rushes into things. There is a lot of development to be done, so I’ll just let it grow for a bit. Because projects need to do that. Alexandra and I worked on this script for ages until we felt that “now it is ready to fly”.
[To Liv] Do you have any future projects?
L: I will be home now for a few months [after just having a child]. I work a lot at the Stockholm City Theater. I also have films that are done and that will soon premiere.
The film has gotten lot of hype before its release, especially internationally — through the sites like AfterEllen.com. What plans are there for the movie? Where will it be shown?
J: The movie is going places, absolutely. It was pretty awesome when I was in Cannes this year; we could not show the movie, but we did screen the trailer. It was amazing how many bids we received, from all over Europe and the USA. The movie will have a festival run. Right now we are at a stage when we are trying to figure out what we should accept. We must wait for the right distributor and the right amount of money. But the movie will travel around the world. That is a fact.
[To Liv] Are you ready for international stardom?
L: I’m not ready but if it comes, bring it on!