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BWW Interview: Olli Haaskivi Talks FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER & Staying Connected in the Pandemic

Following the release of the episode, BroadwayWorld had the chance to speak to Haaskivki about playing Dr. Wilfred Nagel.

BWW Interview: Olli Haaskivi Talks FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER & Staying Connected in the Pandemic

Olli Haaskivki starred in episode three of Marvel's "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" as Dr. Wilfred Nagel.

He is the doctor responsible for the super soldier serum having reverse engineered Dr. Abraham Erskine's (Stanley Tucci's character in the franchise) serum.

This was a pivotal episode and character for the series as THE HUNT for the super solider serum is in full force, and Dr Nagel comes face-to-face with Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Daniel Brühl (Zemo), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter) and Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) in his lab who all want to know the truth.

Olli has appeared in the off-Broadway premieres of Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons), Who's Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War (Actors Temple), and The Rafa Play (Flea Theatre).

Following the release of the episode, BroadwayWorld had the chance to speak to Haaskivki about the role, the opportunity, and where he hopes to go from here.

Read the full interview below!

I'm such a huge fan of "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" - tell me what the world has looked like for you since the episode aired!

You know, it's so funny because I am still largely in a kind of lockdown mode. Oftentimes when something airs, just moving through the world during normal times, your barista will have watched it and want to talk about it, or someone on the subway is watching it on their phone and you're standing in front of them.

So, I don't have any of those things! Especially because when I have stepped out a couple of times, I'm wearing a mask, sometimes I'm wearing two masks. It's funny, because on one hand, the world has felt like it has felt for the last 13 months sitting in my family's home, watching television on my laptop or something. But it's also felt really different in that a lot of people have reached out! A lot of people are watching it worldwide, so I'm hearing from people I haven't talked to in years. People are writing really nice messages on Instagram, and I get to talk to lovely people like yourself who are interested in the series and in the role. So a lot of it feels exactly the same, and then it's also a little different.

How has it been different experiencing totally digital fan interactions when you know somewhere in your mind that, someday, you'll have that in-person experience again?

There's maybe something about it that's even nicer than it would be during normal times, because, pre-pandemic, if someone from middle school texted me because they watched the episode, I'm sure I would always text them back, but that might not turn into a really sweet, long conversation the way that it does now. So much of this last year has shown just how badly we need each other in so many ways.

So now that we're talking about it, maybe there really is a sweet side to it! I miss face to face interaction, obviously, and in terms of show business - I'm used to going to auditions in people's casting offices and usually in those auditions you'll hear a director say, "I watched you on this!" Or a casting director will say how excited they were to see that the episode just came out or whatever. So, you get a sense of career-building a little bit in those moments. But now I'm just sending tapes into a black hole, it can feel like! So you don't get that kind of interaction, either.

I mean, I think all of that - it's on its way back. It does feel like a really unique moment to have this gigantic thing happen that has worldwide reach, but not really have any sense of it beyond my screen.

I read that you filmed the episode even pre-lockdown. Have you had anybody you've been able to commiserate with while you've been waiting that long for it to come out?

Yeah! I'm in touch with a couple people from that set. A couple of the assistants and I text and email. I talk to Sebastian Stan from time to time. The director and I have emailed a little bit. You typically stay in touch with a couple people after a job! And this time, a lot of the staying in touch has involved, "Have you heard anything? Do you know where they are in their process?"

But yeah! So many people on that job were so fantastic, and fun, and welcoming. I'm excited to see them in person sometime soon.

Also, one of the things that's been a little sad about it is I bet if we were operating in a more normal atmosphere, there would be an event or two to go to where you'd get to see everybody, and celebrate with everybody, because I think there's so much to celebrate in this series. It's just support in text messages these days!

What was it like for you psychologically to keep the secrets that you knew for the past year?

I think you get used to it as an actor. Obviously, Marvel is a next-level version of that kind of secrecy, but it's not uncommon to do a job and be told that no one can ever know you were here! No photos anywhere!

I've been on a couple of shows and done a couple films that keep things pretty under wraps. I did two episodes of "Mr. Robot," and other things like that that were very locked down in their own way. So, this did feel like something I'm used to, but because I love it so much I was really anxious to be able to tell people, and to talk about it with people. It feels like a real relief to know that the day is here.

Can you tell me a little about your on-set experience?

Yeah! It was so wonderful. So much of my career so far has been recurring on some shows, doing two or three episodes of this and that, and guest starring on shows where, sometimes, you just come in for a day. And you never know what you're getting yourself into. Every set has its own culture, and its own atmosphere. You can show up and you can be really surprised by any number of different kinds of environments, and then you're expected to adapt quickly and work at your highest possible level, even though you don't know anybody. It can be a really strange, disorienting, and uncomfortable experience.

And you never know what you're in for when you show up on your first day of work! This was just the warmest, and the most inclusive, and the sweetest - I was really blown away by it. They made me feel like I had been with them from the beginning. I wasn't expecting that! It's such a gigantic project, and I can see a world where something like that is run in a way that's maybe a little impersonal, and we just have to slam through all of this as fast as we can because it's such a huge undertaking. But every single person was so welcoming. I really felt like I was part of the family, and I was not anticipating that one little bit.

I also think it's partially why these projects have so much resonance for so many people around the world. There's something you can kind of sense, when these things are made in a way that makes every person involved feel creative and feel valuable and feel like they're really part of the team. It doesn't feel like an accident that then the products you make are better and richer and deeper. People respond to that.

As a viewer, you can definitely tell the depth of care that's put into literally every single shot. It's really amazing to watch.

Seriously. Yeah.

How would you compare your experiences in this TV sphere to your experiences working in theatre?

It's interesting. It feels like sort of a paradox, because, one one hand, acting is acting, and you're always just trying to tell your part of the story as well as you can. Doing a scene with an actor on camera, you're trying to communicate in the same way you would doing a scene onstage. On one hand it's no different at all, and on the other hand it's extremely different. There are many different technical considerations, and obviously the most basic in some ways is that in theatre, you go through the whole story every single night. On camera, you're just shooting little pieces, and somebody else assembles all of it later. I think I really get a lot out of bouncing between the different mediums. I think each one makes you a better actor in different ways. I feel like I'm a better theatre actor because of the film and television I've done, and then I think I'm a better actor on camera because of the theatre I've done. It all sort of feels like one big melting pot. It's cumulative experience making you better all around.

I feel like especially in the past year the line between acting for the screen and acting for the stage has become much less clear.

Yeah! It'll be interesting to see how that filters down after. We can't erase it! I feel like those adaptations we made - I don't think people are going to be doing plays on Zoom forever, hopefully, but there are things that we've learned from those processes, I'm sure, that will continue to inform what we do even when we're back in the theatre.

Could you tell me about any projects you have coming up?

It's the sort of life project! I'm moving to New York next week for the first time in a year to try to get this next chapter going and see what my new routine looks like and what my new life will look life - I don't think we can say "after the pandemic" just yet, but now that the world is hopefully stabilizing a little bit. I'm auditioning a lot. There are some things that feel possible that are floating around. But I'm excited to find out what the next part I play will be, and if it were in the theatre I'd be so thrilled. I'm so anxious to get back onstage and back in the same room as people who are processing the same thing all at the same time. I've definitely got my eyes peeled!

But I also think being a part of something like "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" sets the bar pretty high for what the next thing will be. I know that an actor's career is so random. You are at the mercy of people that are gonna hire you for something. So everyone jumps around a lot, in terms of types of roles and types of projects. It could be anything, but I hope that the next thing feels like something of a natural progression from this awesome job that I loved so much.

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From This Author Sarah Jae Leiber