Shooting Star: Samuli Vauramo


Samuli Vauramo got his big-screen start as an extra on the Oscar-nominated "The Man Without a Past" from fellow Finn Aki Kaurismaki but has made his name playing the tough guy in action movies. And he already has picked up his own nickname, "Sam the Slam," for his willingness to take a beating in action scenes for Guy Moshe's upcoming "Bunraku."

The Hollywood Reporter: What has been your most challenging role to date?

Samuli Vauramo: Playing a solider in "Tears of April," which was physically the most challenging and also one of the best learning experiences I ever had. I play a solider in a civil war we had in Finland and for the shoot we decided to use method acting. So for the entire shoot, I lived in a military tent, I washed in the lake, which was maybe six degrees. I had to cook my own food, to chop my own wood. It was all very authentic and true to the story.

THR: Do you think being a Shooting Star will help you get more roles outside Finland?

Vauramo: I hope so. It's a real challenge making films in Finland. We're such a small country and we make maybe 15 films a year. I've managed to get out a bit -- I've done two Danish-language films. But it's a struggle to get out of such a small community. I hope being a Shooting Star will help me get more work outside Finland. But I'm also just looking forward to meeting all the other Shooting Stars. One of the greatest things about this profession is that you get to know so many different people.

THR: Would you like to try roles outside of the action genre you've specialized in so far?

Vauramo: Well, when you're trying to get out to do international films, that's the problem, the last thing you'll get offered is something you've never done before. You always get the stuff you've shown you can handle. For me that's action and adventure. But I like it. I'm trained in martial arts, I've been a solider, I do gymnastics. When I was a kid, I was watching James Bond on TV and I told my mum: "I want to do that when I grow up!" And as it turns out, I get to do both -- acting and action.

THR: How did you get your nickname?

Vauramo: It was during the shooting of "Bunraku" from Guy Moshe. We were shooting in Romanian and I have a small role in the film. When I got the job, I promised the director I'd be able to do my own stunts, without knowing what they were going to be. It turns out they were falling down. A lot. On very hard surfaces. I got really thrown around, again and again. But it impressed them, that I could take it. And I got the nickname Sam the Slam.