Big Game star and director talk about working with Samuel L. Jackson

Big Game is an action-packed film that leaves you with a smile on your face. When Air Force One is targeted by a terrorist organization, a young boy, Oskari, finds the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) stranded in the woods in Finland. Oskari is on a quest to become a man and bring home big game to prove his worth. However, when Oskari and the President start traveling together they soon realize that they may be the hunted, not the hunters. We had the chance to talk with the director, Jamari Herlander and star of the film, Onni Tommila. ~Greg Chisholm 

Jalmari, you wrote and directed the film, let me ask, what was the inspiration for the movie?
[The] inspiration comes from movies from my childhood. Indiana Jones films, First Blood, Cliffhanger, films like that.

What made Onni the right choice to play Oskari?
I’ve worked with Onni a lot. He is also my nephew. When we decided with the producer that [the] president will meet with a 13-year-old boy in the forest, it was clear that he will be Onni.

Onni, this is your first English language film, how difficult was that?
Uh, well… not so difficult actually because I have English as a subject in school. I’m okay with English so it wasn’t so hard. Some of the guys making it were from Norway so we had to use English in that too. You know, off camera.

Onni, would you like to do more English language movies?
Well, of course it’s easier in Finnish but if it’s in English I don’t mind, so yes.

Samuel L. Jackson played the president in this movie. How did you manage to land him as the star?
Jalmari: It was [a] stressful process. We had something like two months before the Cannes Film Festival. We had to be able to have someone starring in the film so we could start shooting by the end of summer. We had agents sending the script to everyone and Samuel wasn’t on my list. I never thought it would be Samuel L. Jackson but one day I just heard that he actually is really interested in the script and he loved Rare Exports and that was quite big news to me. We managed to make a deal with Samuel and the rest is history.

Onni, how many of the stunts did you do yourself?
I would like to say that all of them but, actually I did none.

Jalmari: They actually have quite strict regulations of having Onni doing anything even remotely dangerous. Onni could have done a lot of them.

Jalmari, what do you want viewers to take away from the film?
I hope they find it entertaining and to have seen some kind of adventure they can’t see in everyday life to be able to witness something like… almost unbelievable. It’s the reason I want to make movies. To be able to see something I can’t see in normal life. Something fantastic or really weird.

Onni, what was it like to work with Samuel L. Jackson, did you know who he was prior to this film?
It was really fun. At first I was really nervous. All that of course because he is a really big Hollywood actor. We did become friends and I wasn’t nervous at all. It was really fun and easy to work with him. Most definitely my time with him will stay in my mind for the rest of my life because it was really cool.

Did you have any archery experience before or was it something new you needed to learn for the film?
I didn’t take any lessons because I have shot with a bow before, a few times. I know how to do it, not perfectly but I know how.

The ending of the movie left room for a sequel, is there a sequel in the works?
Jalmari: No, I don’t think so. It was just a fun idea to leave that kind of little twist in the end. I have an idea for a sequel for Big Game but I am not actively doing anything about it. It’s just an idea.

What’s are your next projects?
Jalmari: I am going to start writing the next film after the summer. I am trying to say no to Hollywood film. I am trying to continue on the path I’ve chosen.

Onni: Yeah, tomorrow is my last shooting day on a Finnish film but after that I don’t know what I am going to do. Just waiting [and] hoping that someone would like to have me in their film.

Thank you for talking to us about your film!
Onni: Thanks.

Jalmari: Thanks a lot!

Big Game releases this Friday on VOD and at the following theatres:


Oakville – THE DRIVE-IN









Montreal – DU PARC

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Kim • December 25, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

    I would love to see a sequel, the movie really leaves room for one.
    I really enjoyed the movie and the fact that It’s an action adventure that works for almost the whole family. It’s hard to find good family adventure movies that aren’t dominated or overshadowed by blood, cussing and sex scenes. I found this movie refreshing, kept me interested and guessing, not so predictable. It was really good and I hope they will consider doing a sequel.

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