With Guest-starring Roles on NBC & HBO shows in his Resume, Actor Petteri Lassila Welcomes Innovative New Projects
“I have not met or seen many actors as creative or dedicated to the craft than Petteri. I find his work to be exciting, innovative, creative and thought provoking.” — Adam Chambers, director of “Seeing Red,” Best Microfilm at 2022 IndieX Film Festival
Enthusiastic Finnish-born actor Petteri Lassila, who has appeared in theatrical and screened projects around the world, has also played three different characters on NBC’s Killer Siblings and also co-starred opposite Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor/producer Issa Rae on Insecure, HBO’s romantic sitcom.
In addition to those high-profile Network and Premium-TV appearances, Lassila has achieved additional recognition, including: being a lead in an ensemble performing in Unreal City, which won the “Best Immersive Show” at the Hollywood Fringe Fest; and, he also received several Actor Nominations for his portrayal in Darling, You’re So Mean To Me, a dark comedy that explored the true meaning of love. He also got a nomination for “Best Acting Duo” with his co-star Maria Tuner. Tongue-in-cheek, one enthusiastic reviewer called it “shockingly offensive” and Lassila recalls:
“It was such a joy but also happily challenging, as we shot all my parts as a one-take. So, in addition to ‘normal acting’ I had to learn a sort of choreography because the mark you’re normally supposed to hit in a regular movie set was constantly moving. And you couldn’t be thinking about something like that while you’re having an argument with your partner and trying to hide a mistress in a moving box. I know, right?! It was rewarding to get accepted to 10 different movie festivals, such as Queen Palm Film Fest with other amazing films such as Academy Award nominated short animation Sister.”
But, Lassila who studied at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in LA and “immediately fell in love with the City of Angels,” has not been resting on his laurels. In fact, he has additionally studied with world class talent like Juilliard-trained Diane Venora, who taught him to “always keep training.”
He talks about what he learned from Venora, who won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for performing in the wonderful Charlie Parker biopic, Bird, directed by Clint Eastwood: “She said, ‘acting is about meeting a crisis and dealing with it,’ and that always stuck with me. Acting brings you directly to the issues you need to confront. If you’re running away from life, you’re not gonna be a great actor.”
And, that’s what ambitious Lassila is aiming to do. But where did this all start?
Back in Finland, he credits his parents for being supportive and encouraging and also adds, “I feel very lucky, especially when it’s been really hard and when I’ve been discouraged, they’ve been there for me in such a compassionate way.” That loving family background also gave him a captive audience at home: “I’m the youngest of four kids and I loved doing different impressions in our living room, from Freddie Mercury to Mr. Bean. I would crack them all up.”
Indeed, he has a fun anecdote about his big sister, recalling, “The first theater show I saw was my big sister performing in Fame — I went to see every single one of her shows, and completely fell in love with it. Then my first theater production was also Fame in high school. It was the first real spark for me, and I ended up doing three more productions with them and by the time I graduated, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I actually even had a spot in the University of Helsinki to study mathematics, but instead I ended up studying and acting in Los Angeles. On top of which, when I was in the Academy Theater Company in LA, my director was Betty Karlen who was in the original Fame TV Show.”
Indeed, Lassila admits the fantastic experience he got at the Academy included learning techniques and gaining knowledge that has propelled his present success. He recalls, “I was lucky to have some fantastic teachers and directors. It was crucial for me to hone and get confident in my craft. I got to learn comedy techniques from great actors like Amir Korangy and Ian Ogilvy. I had some great voice and speech teachers such as Alex Wright. And, then Adam Chambers, who recently directed the award-winning Seeing Red, really got my creative juices flowing and I’m so grateful for him.”
So, what’s next for Lassila, who’s been working back in Europe?
“I played the main antagonist in a film called Nuori Rakkaus (Young Love) by a wonderful Finnish writer and director, Matias Raassina. My character is sort of a Lannister-type of ex-boyfriend of the female lead who comes to create some trouble for the main couple. It’ll be released at festivals later this year. I’ll also soon be working as the Finnish voiceover artist for a big Nordic production company.”
Above all, he’s also keeping in mind Venora’s words, adding, “I take my craft very seriously and I’m really curious. I’m always well prepared when I come on set or rehearsals. And I love the collaboration part of this artform. However, while I take the craft seriously. I’ve been told I’m very good at taking direction, and I believe it’s my job as an actor to serve others, the writer, the director and the vision of the story etc.”
Moreover, some of Petteri Lassila’s other TV/Film credits include: guest star on Rantabaari; co-star on Modernit Miehet; and the lead on Lans & Kefir.
Additionally, during the Pandemic, he won Jona Xiao’s “Career Activate Self-Tape Challenge” for his hilarious monolog, Welcome to Hell.
His theatre credits include: Don’t Dress For Dinner (with Ian Ogilvy/AADA Company); Suburbia (with Betty Karlen/AADA Company); Chekov’s The Seagull as Treplev (directed by Diane Venora); Kirka — The Musical; and, Unreal City.
And, apart from attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in LA, his broad range of training includes: studying with Diane Venora (Uta Hagen/Laban technique; vocal coach, Julia Gregory; and, musical masterclass, Daniel Koek.
As for particular projects in his sights, Lassila admits, “I have a special place in my heart for dark comedies. and at their best, they manage to be both incredibly entertaining, moving, healing and impactful at the same time. Life can be kind of a dark comedy. So, I’d definitely love to be part of this type of a show or a movie, like Succession, Jojo Rabbit, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri…But, I’m open to what the future brings.”
Whether its Network or Premium television or Hollywood and international movies, Petteri Lassila will be there, ready for his close-up.