n e w b i o f i l m o g r a p h y a r t i c l e s s t u f f l i n k s
"I want to learn new things."
Interview by Therese Thomasson, Aftonbladet Puls
A studying actress with five extrajobs. Puls has met movie topical Rebecca Liljeberg.
Rebecca Liljeberg is afraid of the dark. In the evenings she runs rather than walks through town. At home she thinks there are ghosts in the closet.
– I have no idea what I'm afraid of. I'm frightened by the darkness and desolation.
– I'm afraid of being murdered, raped or robbed. Perhaps, she says.
At the same time Rebecca Liljeberg is one of the toughest 18-year old girls in Sweden. She moved away from home when she was 15 years old. She is a moviestar, but she thinks it is more important to do something useful. For the moment she studies at komvux, but she has five extrajobs at the same time.
– If I'm not totally wrong you have been in a movie? says the man behind the counter of the café and smiles. Rebecca takes a step back, looks down at the floor, smiles and says: "Yes." Then she disappears into the place. She still looks like that 15-year old girl in "Fucking Åmål" who listened to Broder Daniel and dreamt about Elin.
But today Rebecca Liljeberg is just as old as her mother was when Rebecca was born. She is a grown up.
– I grew up pretty quickly. Even before I played in "Fucking Åmål" I had moved away from home. My parents are divorced and I have a lot of siblings who are much younger than me. I have always felt responsiblity for them. I was pretty well prepared for what happened after "Fucking Åmål". I was prepared to work hard, says Rebecca.
Had to learn to ride
She started her acting career as a 10-year old with a role in "Sunes jul" ("Sune's christmas"). This autumn Rebecca turns up in "Sherdil" and in Richard Hoberts "Där regnbågen slutar" ("Where the rainbow ends"). "Sherdil" is a movie for horse-girls.
– I play a girl who saves the life of a horse which was going to be slaughtered. We run away into the woods, she tells.
Rebecca has never been a horse-girl herself. She had been riding with her cousins when she was young, and before the movie production she took riding lessons during a year to be able to do the riding scenes.
In "Där regnbågen slutar" Rebecca plays the daughter from another marriage to Mikael Persson played by Göran Stangertz. After "Fucking Åmål" Rebecca has become an established actress.
– Yes, I receive quite a lot of offers. Some of them are good, some not. Often I'm receiving offers long before a production decision is taken, therefore I don't know if it's going to be a movie or not, she says.
She has just recently been in New York to promote "Fucking Åmål". She doesn't know how the movie will be accepted, but Rebecca had success. An American castingcompany has already went in touch with her. She is open for the thought of moving to New York for a while.
– New York is so much bigger than Stockholm. There are so much more things to do. Whenever you want you can do whatever you like. It ends up with you doing nothing. On the streets there are all sorts of people, really all sorts of people.
Dropped out of the gymnasium
Rebecca dropped out of the gymnasium because she didn't have the time to combine film shooting with the school. This year she reads in the gymnasium course at komvux. But she hopes to be able to shoot a movie already next summer. At least it is a well paid summer job. What movie she is going to play in she won't say.
At komvux Rebecca studies the natural science program. The schoolmates are ten years older than her. They also have study loans. Rebecca is not allowed to have that because she hasn't turned 20 yet. Instead she has five extrajobs: waitress at a restaurant, relief and companion for disabled kids, webpagemaker and columnist in Svenska Dagbladet.
– My big hobby is computers. I make some websites for different companies, Rebecca tells.
She also likes to write. Just like Agnes in "Fucking Åmål" Rebecca writes a diary and has done so since she was 11 years old.
– I have thought about writing as a profession. But I don't know if I have enough patience to write a book. I have tried, but I get tired after a while. I must change subject, she says.
Helps disabled boy
The waitress job at the restaurant is quite new. She works one day a week and jumps in extra. She is also companion to an 11-year old disabled boy.
– I go riding with him. Thanks to the companions disabled kids get the chance to come out and do things without the family, but still with someone who knows about their disease, Rebecca says.
Once a month she meets another disabled boy who is seven years old. Rebecca is relief for the family.
– It's because the other siblings also need to recieve attention from the parents, she says.
Rebecca doesn't believe in a future as an actress. Instead she wants to work with children, perhaps as a doctor.
– It's important to get something out of life. For me it's to learn new things. I don't think I want to be an actress my whole life. It feels strange working with something from 10 years of age and then do it the rest of your life, she says.
She is interested in medicine and how the human body works. For Rebecca it's important to be useful and needed.
– It's a bonus that you are really needed when working as a children's specialists. And that's fun.
Rebecca thinks that her role in the entertaining business is more floating. It's difficult to feel needed and that your actions means something.
– No, it doesn't feel like you make a contribution as an actress. At least you don't notice it immediately. Of course it's nice to make people happy, she says.
Then she almost becomes mad and says:
– There is so much abundance when you are an actress. You get well paid and everybody attend to you. Still you know that you don't do anything useful.
She is not hesitant about her ability. Rebecca knows that she is a good actress. Not least "Fucking Åmål" has strengthed her self confidence.
– I'm best at being natural and not to exaggerate. Mostly I'm guided by my feelings and then I try not to think too much about what I'm doing, she says.
Besides being recognised in town and receiving offers for film roles, Rebecca has also been doing several interviews in newspapers, TV and radio. Often they deal about herself as a person.
– It feels a little strange talking so much about myself. I never get used to it, she says.
Rebecca has already seen the backside of being a celebrity.
– Yes, I have had a really hard time with the media. Now I have moved away and nobody has my phonenumber anymore. Before, journalists from every newspaper called me all the time. Sometimes in the middle of the night, early in the morning or late in the evening, she says and continues:
– It was like me being their property. It seems like they have the right to do anything they want. Often they wanted me to confirm one thing or another.
"Is it true that you...?" or "I have some quick questions about this and that".
It's threacherous becoming a celebrity. She believes that many loses both themselves and their real friends when the breakthrough comes.
– Many arrives into the celebrity world like through an explosion. Then they build up their whole life around the fact that there is people who are interested in them and wants to talk to them. But one day all the interested people are gone. Then there is nothing left. Extremly few get known when they are 18 years old and can live on that for the rest of their lives.
Today Rebecca has a few but close friends.
– When it comes to friends my self confidence has become worse. I have difficulties believing that they really like me. It has become worse after "Fucking Åmål", she says.
Of course there are boys in Rebecca's life. But she doesn't want to talk about her boyfriend.
– Relationships is something that just recently has become important to me. When I was younger I was less serious. Now it takes a bigger part of my life.
She believes in love and is sure that the right one exists.
– There is probably several who can be right for you. Think about how much people there are, there must be more than one who is okey. Then there are some who are right only during a shorter period of time.
A stormy life
Rebeccas parents got divorced when she was one and a half. She describes her life as stormy.
– It's really quite hard growing up with parents who lives at separate places. It's a hard job dealing with mum's new guys and dad's new girls. It has happened a lot in my life. I had a kid sister who died some years ago. It's never fun when kids dies, she says, without wanting to talk more about it. Rebecca lived with her mother in Nynäshamn until she was 15 years old, then she thought it was time to move away from home.
– I was pretty tired of Nynäshamn. I had a summer job in town and got offered a room in a community of artists. When I couldn't stay there any longer I got an apartment in Älvsjö, she tells.
Since then she has moved around at friends and her own apartments.
For the moment Rebecca lives alone in a one room apartment at Kungsholmen.
– When you are getting used to live away from home it's difficult moving back. I have received a lot of help from my mother and I have good contact with my father who lives in Bagarmossen.
Her family is still very close to her.
– Because I'm so young the love for my family is important. I need to know that mum and dad loves me. My younger siblings means most to me, she says.
A strong feminist
Rebecca is a feminist. But she likes cooking, cleaning and making it cosy.
– For me feminism is equal rights for men and women. Equal pay for equal work. It's about being accepted for whom I am without being prejudiced.
Her big hobby is computers. She is good at programming and for some of the teachers it was difficult to accept that a girl enjoyed technology.
– At computer lessons in high school it really took a long time before the computer teacher realised that I was good with computers. He thought that only boys could be good with computers.
Her mother is her role model.
– At home my mum has done everything, from baking bread to fixing the car. I have never thought about sexual roles, there has only been mum.
Rebeccas mother was only 18 years old when Rebecca was born. And Rebeccas grandmother was 20 years old when Rebeccas mother was born.
– Sure, it's in my genes to have children early. If my life had looked a little bit different I had thought about getting children now. But I don't believe that it would work for me to have children.
– And I really don't feel like changing my life, she says.
But probably there are a lot of 18-year olds who dearly would like to change life with Rebecca Liljeberg.
Translation by Peter