Dubbed "The Swedish Bombshell," Helena Mattsson surely is making her mark in Hollywood. With a part in prime time's hottest show, as well as 2010's biggest summer blockbuster (so far!), Helena is no longer flying under the radar. I caught up with her recently to talk about Iron Man 2, working with Robert Downey Jr., and playing a gold-digging manipulator on Desperate Housewives.
Celebrity Extra: Iron Man 2 debuted at No. 1 its opening weekend and still dominates the box office. It's well on its way to becoming Summer 2010 biggest blockbuster. This all must be very exciting.
Helena Mattsson: Very exciting. It’s just a really fun movie that I am so glad I got to be involved in. I saw the first movie and I really liked it. I was really excited to be part of this one. I have a really small role, but that doesn’t matter because it’s an appealing thing.
CE: Tell me about your character, Rebecca.
HM: I can’t say too much (to not give anything away for those who haven't seen the movie yet), but I’m playing Rebecca, and I have this one big party scene where I sort of challenge Iron Man with his weapons, and there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on. I throw stuff up in the air. It’s a really big, crazy party scene.
CE: Was yours a physical role?
HM: Not so much. I get to run around quite a bit. I ended up taking my shoes off when we were shooting because I was running around. It was pretty exhausting. I wish I had more of the action stuff to do, that would have been fun.
CE: Is this the biggest project you’ve worked on so far? And what was the vibe on the set?
HM: It was just such a big set with so many people involved. They build all of these beautiful setups for the scenes and they had a lot of extras — just such a big production. It was really, really exciting to step into that and be part of it, and also to get to work with Robert Downey Jr. was really a dream come true. He is such an amazing actor and I admire him so much. I was a little nervous, but it was so exciting to get to work with him and everybody else on set.
CE: Is Robert a lot like his Tony Stark character?
HM: Yeah, I think he brings a lot of himself to his character. He is a character — very much a character himself. He’s a really, really nice guy and a lot of fun.
CE: It must have just been a very surreal experience, to be a fan of the first Iron Man and of the actors in it, and then you get to be in the sequel.
HM: Definitely. It was very surreal just to be a part of something you’ve seen. You’ve seen the first movie and it was such a big hit. Like I said, even though I have a small role in it, it was really, really exciting anyway just to be part of a project,
CE: It would seem to me that there are no small roles in a movie of this caliber!
HM: Definitely. I also definitely realized going to the premiere that this movie was very anticipated. People really loved the first movie and this one is going to be really big too. There were so many people at the premiere. It is definitely the biggest project that I’ve been a part of, which was really exciting. I wish I had a bigger role in it. Shooting was so much fun. I just wanted the shoot to go on. It was that much fun.
CE: Last fall, you also were in another action/sci-fi movie, Surrogates, with Bruce Willis, which is now on DVD. What was that movie like to work on?
HM: That was another really huge set with so many people. We shot in Boston and I was there for a few weeks. It was a great, great experience. That one was about robots, surrogate robots. It was really cool to be a part of an action film like that. It’s sort of a dream come true as well.
CE: You also have a role on Desperate Housewives as Irina, who happens to be Russian. You do a really good Russian accent. Did you work with a professional coach on that?
HM: My accent was really heavy when I first came here. I had a heavy Swedish accent. Although it’s not quite the same as the Russian. I have some Russian friends, and I really wanted the part so I made sure to really look to my Russian friends, and I really started to get the accent down. For some reason, it came easy to me. It’s really fun to do an accent like that because it brings a lot to the character.
CE: I think you are doing a great job with it, because it sounds very authentic.
HM: I was really nervous about that at times because they gave us the lines and the scripts and everything so last minute each time. At one point they gave me a long speech in Russian, and I had like no time to prepare. By the time I got it down completely, they changed it again. So I was really stressed out about that. Just to speak the language properly, you don’t think about that when you watch it. Sometimes there’s no time to prepare.
CE: I love the tug-of-war relationship Irina has with Lynette. It is fun to watch. Is it fun to play those scenes?
HM: Oh my God, it is so much fun to be the villain and to be manipulative. There are so many off-tones and so many layers that only the women understand among themselves. You can always read between the lines. It was a lot of fun. It is also a lot of fun to play a character that’s really far from yourself and really have fun with that and be the villain. So, I’m very excited about that.
CE: What do you like, if anything, about Irina, and how do you relate to her?
HM: Every time you play a character you have to justify everything that they do. As Irena, I had to justify what I was doing and everything, and sometimes that’s tricky to justify some of the things she does, but I made it work for myself. I justified my actions to myself. Purely for the fun too.