In Sweden, Melander is already a familiar face, with leading roles in TV shows such as the Scandi-noir drama Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders. I wanted to create something that looked odd but was real enough that you'd believe these trolls could be human.". If that’s all it took to crack the Best Actress race, she would rank alongside Olivia Colman in “The Favourite” and “Roma” breakout Yalizia Aparicio as the frontrunners of the pack. I went through a lot of mindfulness apps, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, I’m going to be totally empty in my brain.’”, The long hours took a toll, at a time when Melander was still carrying the grief of a recent bereavement. Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen review: did you know Audrey Hepburn danced for the Nazis? Abbasi initially told Lundstrom he wanted makeup that could be applied "within a hour" to accommodate Melander, who appears in virtually every shot. Melander’s character takes her acute sense of smell for granted, assuming it’s her only useful skill, until she learns the bizarre secret behind her existence that empowers her. It makes it hard to refuse when she asks me not to reveal the biggest of Border’s twists. On a normal day, Melander might be in the make-up chair from 2-6am, in order to start shooting at 6.30am. The story was always about somebody else. With her sharp, intelligent blue eyes, blonde curls and electric grin, the 44-year-old couldn’t be further from forlorn, troglodytic Tina. She began listening to meditation apps. “One year before shooting my mum died, so it was kind of a fresh sorrow going on within me. Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox. “You move your voice into places we don’t use when we talk,” Melander adds, once she’s got her breath back. “I was trying to move myself out of my body and go to other rooms in my mind,” she said. While her shy character struggles to look her customs colleagues in the eye, over an hour of animated conversation Melander barely breaks eye contact. Privacy | What’s on TV tonight: Don’t Rock the Boat, Deliveroo: Secrets of Your Takeaway, and more, How The Untouchables transformed Sean Connery's screen image, Life as a Bond girl: 'Of course Sean Connery tried to seduce me', Why Mick Jagger is cinema's greatest scene-stealer. I had to figure out how to work within that.”, Abbasi spent almost two years searching for the right actress to play Eva, and initially wanted to avoid prosthetics by casting unorthodox actors who looked the part. Sign up for our Email Newsletters here. Instead of using silicone to build a face for Melander's character, Lundstrom chose gelatin for a more natural look (the edges can get "wrinkly" with silicone, he says). Find out more, The Telegraph values your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. (Melander was on a strict diet because she'd gained 40 pounds for the role). Part of my brain felt like this was insane, but exciting at the same time.” It was also very uncomfortable. Then, she would subject herself to a 10-hour shooting schedule. Border star Eva Melander on her Oscar-nominated transformation: ... On a normal day, Melander might be in the make-up chair from 2-6am, in order to start shooting at 6.30am. “I really tried to find people who looked different, unsymmetrical, and overweight,” he said in a phone interview. What makes Tina uniquely useful to the police is that she seems to have a kind of superpower: she can smell guilt, sniffing the air whenever a wrongdoer sidles past. 8:30 AM PST 1/11/2019 "We eventually got it down to two hours and 45 minutes, working with two makeup artists doing half the face each," says Pamela Goldammer, the key makeup artist on set. I’m very happy we can do that today.”, Before moving to Stockholm to study theatre and psychology at university, Melander hadn’t imagined that she would end up as an actor, and glossy TV shows had almost put her off drama entirely. When Vore asked whether she liked insects, Melander did something unexpected: she blushed. The Swedish-language film draws inspiration from Scandinavian folklore about baby-snatching monsters, but is firmly set in the real world. “Horses and dogs have a smell organ under their upper lip,” she explains. “It’s hard to sleep at night. It’s a transformation that earned Border an Oscar nod for Best Makeup, putting the small Swedish film in the running against major Hollywood features Vice and Mary Queen of Scots. To make matters worse, her sleep cycle was ruined by an exhausting filming schedule. "My instinct was always to tone it down," says Lundstrom, "to do less, not more.". FACEBOOK “You get sweaty,” Melander said. The Hollywood Reporter is part of MRC Media and Info, a division of MRC. “I totally agreed that we should change my body,” Melander said. Eva Melander does more acting with her upper lip in Border than some actors do with their whole bodies in a lifetime. “Tina and Richard III both don’t have it easy, because of their appearances and the way they approach the world,” she said. Melander impressed him, he said, because she was able to convey the experience of feeling love for the first time. “They were just written from a familiar point of view — girlfriend, wife, friend. It took more than 18 months of auditions for the film’s director Ali Abbasi to settle on the right actress. In “Border,” Swedish actress Eva Melander buries herself in the role of Tina, an ostracized woman who feels out of place in society because of her otherworldly appearance. “Border” is now playing in New York and Los Angeles. But Border has made her an international star. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe. “You could definitely read it as a coming out story, but you can weave in a lot of themes,” says Melander. The glue that holds these disparate parts together is Melander’s understated performance. Terms of Use | In the end, however, assembling Tina's face — with nine prosthetic elements including forehead, eyelids, ears and chin, along with a wig and asymmetrical yellowed dentures — took more than three times that. This dark fairytale owes much to its leading lady’s remarkable physical transformation, but audiences gripped by “Border” would never recognize its star on the street. The idea of finding something attractive in the strange and even disgusting certainly comes through in a visceral scene where the pair consummate their love. 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"I took some of his features and adapted them for Tina, because there is sort of a gender swap thing in the story, where Tina is a bit masculine and Vero [played by Eero Milonoff] is a bit feminine." She has appeared in over a dozen feature films and TV-series and gained significant attention for the role of Tina in the dark fantasy drama Border. The blue-eyed blonde looks nothing like her animalistic creation in “Border,” and the specifics of that transformation make it clear that she’s delivered the most astonishing performance of the year. “I’ve always found that I can identify with the way she does serious people who have a lot of feelings inside, but there’s always a sense of humor in her work,” Melander said. All rights reserved. “This was my toolbox, and it was covered with silicon, gelatin, and glue. Once again, the material asks a lot of her: She appears in every scene of the two-hour production, which has no intermission, and requires a lot of tricky maneuvers. “Watching those sniffer dogs. Interview: Border’s Eva Melander and Eero Milonoff written by Charles Trapunski November 23, 2018 Border is a movie that we had designs on seeing all through the Toronto International Film Festival and since then the film has been selected as Sweden’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film for next year’s Academy Awards. About Our Ads “People don’t call me asking me to do what I’ve already done,” she said. Only her top lip remained exposed. She didn’t have much of a choice. She takes care of her characters while looking at them with a little bit of distance.”, Melander has embraced her ability to attract roles that don’t resemble each other. “The lip and nose move together,” she said, squeezing her face together like wrinkled plastic. “When I was younger, watching TV I was a bit unsatisfied, because it was only ever TV people on the TV. “It was so tiring,” she says. Melander describes the character as “half human, half animal”. There was not so much to do in the sense of culture, but I’ve always been very curious about other people, watching, absorbing people around me - it’s like I’ve been collecting people since I was a kid, and I wanted to bring them up somewhere, onstage or in a film.” To relax in her spare time, Melander sculpts clay figures. She had an inner life that the other characters didn’t have.” But then he had to confront a practical concern: “I was afraid she looked too good and was too thin,” he said. “We’re ripping things apart, trashing things, painting on the walls.