Eva Melander trained at the National Academy of Mime and Acting in Malmö. She received a Guldbagge Best Supporting Actress award in 2016 for the Swedish film Flocken and has appeared in numerous TV series such as Modus, Rebecka Martinsson, Jordskott and Beck. She is currently starring as  Richard III in William Shakespeare's play at the Uppsala City Theatre. 

In Border, Eva plays Tina, a customs officer with an extraordinary gift for smelling guilt. Her life is suddenly turned upside down when she falls for a mysterious ferry passenger with similar aptitudes and tastes.

When did Ali Abbasi approach you for the role?
I had read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novella and went to the casting. I had prepared and was really keen to get the part. The second time I came for the casting, Eero was already there. The way we approached the material and discussed how to make it possible, made me feel very comfortable. Once I got the part, I watched Ali’s first film Shelley to get familiar with his work.

How did you prepare for your role that must have been extremely demanding both on a physical and mental standpoint? Ali said you had to be on the set five hours before everyone else because of the prosthetic make-up…
Yes it comprised a lot of physical preparation. I had to gain 18kg. I gained this in two months and a half; it was incredibly tough. I felt bad in my body, depressed, and had difficulty breathing. Thank god I had a fantastic trainer who helped us gain and lose weight. The physical preparation was one thing, but then wearing a silicon mask and trying to express things through the mask was challenging. My character Tina has been treated badly all her life and has learnt to hide her emotions. I had to find deep down in me those suppressed emotions. I discussed my part a lot with Ali.

The film is about identity, trying to fit in. It’s a very universal subject. Is there anything particular that you’d like people to retain from the film?
EV: There are so many layers. I’m just happy that so many people have felt strongly about the film. I spoke to several journalists and some of them had strong physical reactions. One lost his mobile phone, another one had to stand, turn around and sit again during the screening. It’s quite amazing.

Eero Milonoff graduated from Helsinki Theatre Academy in 2005. He has played in over 15 Finnish films such as Dome Karukoski’s The Home of Dark Butterflies and Juho Kuosmanen’s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki for which he received a Jussi nomination in 2016. He picked up a Venla award (Finnish Emmy) for his role in the TV drama Hooked (2015).

Milonoff plays Vore, a mysterious ferry passenger who arrives in Sweden and meets Tina, the customs officer. He soon awakens strange feelings in her.

Eero Milonoff What attracted you to the character of Vore?
EM: I loved the script, the supernatural reality in John Ajvide’s story and screenplay. In everyday life, we experience the tough reality of outsiders and minorities, through the media or in the streets. But the supernatural universe gave me a great opportunity to lift this theme to a different level.

When did Ali Abbasi approach you?
EM: He saw me in The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki when the film screened in Denmark and called my agent. I was busy working on a theatre play but did a screen test and got the part.

What were the biggest challenges for you?
It was hard to gain 20kg for the part, but also very hard to lose them. I tried to find the animal side in me. We’re all animals but suppress that part of us. Here I could let go and follow my instincts. 

Read our pre-Cannes interview with Border director Ali Abbasi - CLICK HERE.