Exclusive interview with Sofia Helin on ‘The Bridge IV’

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Find out more from the leading heroine of Nordic Noir

There was a glimmer of hope as Henrik pulled Saga back from the edge of the abyss at the climax of season three, however; The Bridge IV sees a major obstacle for our heroine to overcome from the very start. “Saga’s in prison coping with the situation she’s in, so she hasn’t progressed – I would say she’s digressed,” Sofia explains. “She’s not in a good place at the start – but there’s still a big crime case for Henrik to solve with Saga’s help. I would say the final season is more dramatic than usual.”

Fans are looking forward to seeing the relationship between Saga and Henrik bloom – which is no wonder because of the chemistry the duo have onscreen. “He’s lovely. I could work with Thure for the rest of my life. He’s a great person to be around and we have fun together.” Sofia talks about how Kim Bodnia was set to return too: “There was a scene written where Saga and Martin were to meet briefly. It wasn’t essential to the story – we just wanted Kim to do it. It would have been a gift to the audience – but it didn’t happen, which is a shame.”

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While we’ve enjoyed the many awkward and incongruously funny scenarios from Saga’s social interactions, the award-winning actress has been praised for balancing the humour and drama, without turning Saga into a parody. “Now I know Saga so well, I don’t have to prepare myself – I can just switch her on and off!” Sofia shared why she wouldn’t necessarily miss playing Saga: “I’ll miss my colleagues, I already do. I won’t miss playing her because she’s always with me. I could play Saga forever – if I wanted to. She’s not gone. She’s a part of me.”

Not only has Sofia pioneered the Nordic Noir heroine, alongside the likes of Sofie Gråbøl, the actress brought the ground-breaking #MeToo protest to the 2018 Guldbagge Awards stage. “TV production companies and film institutes invited us to talk because they want to promote equality. This is not a war. This doesn’t have to be negative – it can just be about the positive. We’re saying this is what it looks like, so what can we do to change it?” There has also been some backlash from female artists, such as Catherine Deneuve. “This is something that people have put up with for their entire career, so it isn’t easy to change someone’s view. I hope when people change their minds they will be embraced. In Sweden, we haven’t named people – we have gotten together and told our stories. I think that’s a better way than pointing fingers at people, otherwise, it becomes scary. Alicia Vikander has reached out to do the same in Hollywood. It’s a very peaceful movement.”

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Throughout the series, Saga has been hailed as a Scandi crime icon and The Bridge IV will see her rise like a phoenix before going out with a bang. “The proudest moment I’ve experienced playing Saga was when I met students in the UK – they said I was a feminist role model now. I think this is recognised because Scandinavia is very progressive in gender equality, with female characters as strong leads on TV.” So, how did the actress celebrate the final wrap party? “I wasn’t able to be there for the party – but there was a smaller party at my hotel. I invited a few people over for a nice evening – life happens!” We can only imagine what The Bridge IV after party must have been like.

As well as appearing in the adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman, in between filming The Bridge III and IV, Sofia Helin starred in That Good Night, alongside John Hurt in one of his final roles. “I accepted the part because I really wanted to have the chance to work with him. As soon as the camera came on – it was magic,” reminisces Sofia. “It was something in his eyes and his concentration. Acting with John Hurt was really special, like dancing with someone who really knew how to dance.”

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What can we see Sofia in next, post-Saga? “I’m in negotiations for a new project, which you’ll find out soon.” There’s that classic Saga mystique we love. Sofia has worked with The Legacy’s Carsten Bjørnlund on a science fiction movie called QEDA (Man Divided) too. “I wanted to be a part of the film because of the climate change narrative, rather than the sci-fi element. Carsten’s character goes back in time to meet his daughter’s great-grandmother – who is me. It’s all about the probability – or, should I say, the reality – of what the world is going to be like due to our self-destructive ways.”

Because nobody really wants to say adjö to The Bridge – is this really the last time we’ll see Saga Norén? “I have been joking that we should bring back Saga when she is 50 or 60 years old – if she’s still alive! It would be very interesting to see stories about older women. That’s something I’m looking forward to!” You’ve heard it here first – there is potential for a fifth season, with a distinguished female Kurt Wallander or a Martina Beck. “Sure, why not?”

Words and interview by Antony Smith

 

Don’t forget to tune into BBC Two on Friday 11th May at 9pm to watch the first episode of The Bridge IV!