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The Princess From Hallingdal

Inga Josefine Ibsdotter Lilleaas is long, almost as long as her name. With her bright red lipstick and blue puppy eyes she emerges as a Hollywood princess. Imagine Liv Tyler accidentally straying into the Starbucks in Nordregate, Trondheim. All of this despite the fact that she originates from a small farm and prefers her coffee black.

As a matter of fact, she’s not only a trained rider (the family has two horses), but she also has basic shooting skills.

– I’ve taken some classes, and shot with my dad. It requires precision and concentration, which is delicious, but most of all I like bangs, she says laughing apologetically.

Despite having, in the film Kvinner i for store herreskjorter, played against Hallvard Holmen, Henriette Steenstrup and Anne Krigsvoll, she does not necessarily like the thought of fame:

– I would like to have attention for the work I do. I’m working on stuff I want people to see, and I make it not only for myself. In that sense, I’d surely like to have recognition for the work I do, but …

She pauses for a bit, squinting her eyes.

– … everything surrounding it seems uncomfortable. It scares me a little.

The film was recorded with the help of students. This is not the first time Inga has worked with them, she played in a work commissioned for ISFiT in 2009 while studying psychology at NTNU. She insists that she enjoys working with students from Trondheim, and that those she worked with this time were super professional, good people.

Hallvard was also very talented, she thinks:

– He is a very funny man. Very nice and supportive! It’s very good when you are new and do not quite know what you’re going into. It’s good that those you’re working with are aware of it and take care of you.

The character she plays in the film, Sigrid, was defined in advance as author Gunhild Øyehaug had already written the script. Nevertheless, she has helped to shape it.

– It’s silly to get to the set and believe you know the character better than her, because I don’t. I’ve made suggestions, but kept to her definition of the character. On the other hand, I certainly colored the character with my own ideas!

In the film Sigrid falls in love with the older writer Kåre Tryvle, played by Holmen. There are two sex scenes in the film and one scene where the two characters are flirting. The sex scene was difficult to record, not least because it took place in a small room at Bakklandet where it was very hot and many people were involved.

– Being intimate is intimate, whether it’s real or not. Being naked and pretending to be close to someone you aren’t close to is basically a stressful situation. Luckily you become accustomed to it, and everyone approaches it with professionalism, knowing that it is difficult. It is generally difficult for the body to go through.

Inga says herself that she comes from a physical theater school, where she was doing acrobatics. In addition, she has been dancing.

– I’m very bad at taking choreography! I prefer doing improvisation.

If one takes into account her one-year program in psychology, and the fact that she knows the Halling accent, as well as accents from the east and north of Norway and learned Portuguese as an exchange student to Brazil, it is not hard to imagine her as something close to the perfect actress. As if to emphasize this she insists that she is just as happy on stage as in front of the camera, in the same way that she enjoys the cinema and theatre equally as sources of entertainment. Yet she is humble.

– I feel very privileged and have worked very hard all my life for my ambitions. I feel like I’ve come a long way already, and it’s a very good feeling. I feel really privileged to have the opportunity to do things like this film role which many others my age could have done just as well.

When asked who she most would like to play against, she is uncertain:

– It’s the kind of question I must have time to prepare myself for. I can’t choose or remember who I love on the spot! How would you respond?

– I very much like the work of Leonardo DiCaprio, I say.

She smiles.

– There are so many to choose from! If I were to choose realistically I think it would have to be Espen Skjønberg. I think he’s incredibly clever. Don’t quite know what it would have been in then … probably something new … a story about an old man and a young lady, she says.

Whether it’s humility or pride that drives her, so she insists on taking the time – along with fellow star Anne Krigsvoll – to be present when Gunhild Øyehaug reads from Vente, blinke after the interview. This despite the fact that no one in the audience seem to heed neither her nor Anne. Strange really, that no one bats an eyelid at the sight of a Norwegian film star who looks like a Hollywood princess. And that is long, almost as long as her name.

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