Among the arrivals at this year’s Febiofest has been the “Finnish Bob Dylan”, or at least the man who portrays the famous musician on screen in drama The Ragged Life of Juice Leskinen, Riku Nieminen. “I didn’t need to look for a lot of information about him – people came to me to share their stories about him with me. Juice travelled the whole country. He even had a guitar in the shape of Finland,” said the actor. However, when he was offered the role of the rock star five years ago he still read all Leskinen wrote. He also lost 10 kilos and after the filming of scenes from the musician’s youth gained another 30. “I also had to sing worse, because I’m a musical actor and a better singer than Juice was,” Nieminen said during a Q&A.
In the film Leskinen, who drank himself to death in 2006, comes across as an anti-hero. “But it wasn’t that hard for me to play an asshole,” said the Febiofest guest, who has a number of other interests beyond acting. “On Friday I have a rehearsal with Juice’s band because we’re going on tour. Then I’m shooting a crime series, I’m going to DJ at a club in Helsinki, our artistic group has a show coming up in Reykjavik and in August I’m launching my first photography exhibition, on the theme of all-inclusive hotels,” Nieminen said.
At the end of the discussion the actor put a question to the audience, asking what they had made of the movie. “You don’t know Juice but in Finland he’s an icon and his songs are as well-known as the national anthem.” The viewers assured him they had enjoyed the film.