The star of The Killing tells us about her experience starring in Fortitude and her thoughts on the Nordic Noir phenomenon
The new Nordic-themed crime thriller Fortitude premiere’s on Sky Atlantic this week. Viewers will be given the chance to explore the snow-covered town deep within the vicious Arctic Circle, masquerading as perfection to hide its many secrets. To celebrate the first episode which airs on Thursday 29th January, we want to share with you our interview with one of the stars of the show Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing); an actress as bright as the Northern Lights who needs no introduction to fans of Nordic Noir.
What were your initial thoughts when you read the script? What really grabbed you about Fortitude?
Sofie Gråbøl: I had many reasons to want to do this project. One was there are some actors in it that I really, really, really wanted to work with. Actually, there are many. But first, when they mentioned Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci were cast, I remember Michael in The Singing Detective when I was very young and it made a huge impression on me. I think that Stanley is a brilliant actor too. So that was one thing and then I thought the script was quite something. It had the whole universe or atmosphere of Fortitude; it has something that I couldn’t really place and that was intriguing, you know? It wasn’t the sense or the feeling that I’d seen this a hundred times. Also, the fact I don’t often get offered the role of the person in power so that was fun, I thought.
Did it go to your head?
SG: [LAUGHS] Did it go to my head!? Maybe it did actually. Yes, it felt nice.
Why do you think it is that you are not often offered those kinds of roles?
SG: Well, it’s not true. I have played queens but I’m a very privileged actor in Denmark in the sense that I get to play all sorts of characters and genres. I don’t know, I still tend to play the person against the system. You know the little person fighting against the system and here I was the defender of the system. That was interesting.
What are your plans for this year – what’s next?
SG: It looks like I might do a film in Denmark next. I was working in the UK all of last year, I did Fortitude and then a play in both Scotland and in London. I miss working at home actually.
Do you get homesick?
SG: No, no, because I am at home. I’m here for the UK premiere of Fortitude. I have two children back home but I’d love to do more work in England. I really, really enjoyed working here all of last year but I’m also very homebound.
There seems to be a lot of strong female characters in the Nordic universe at the moment. What do you think the reason for that is? Why do you think the time is now?
SG: I think there are many reasons. I think there are a lot of good writers that are working in television right now. I don’t know a lot about the rest of the world, I’m speaking for my country, and there has been a huge evolution in the television series. A lot has developed. Ten years ago it wasn’t considered that interesting. But I think when you have good writers they write good, complex characters for any gender. So, to me, you might be noticing it because they are female, maybe, but really they are just good, complex characters.
What is it that makes the Danish TV series so popular, especially in Great Britain, as we look at Borgen and The Legacy?
SG: But that was because of The Killing [LAUGHS].
…And The Killing. Why do you think people like Danish TV series so much?
SG: It was because of The Killing, actually. Why does everyone like it? I don’t know. I think it is purely because it is good; the quality. But seriously, we make television drama of high quality so that’s one thing. But I think we have been doing that for a number of years without anyone noticing it. And so, if you ask me why The Killing was noticed – it’s still a mystery.
…Because of you, also.
SG: No, no! [LAUGHS] It’s just the strange feeling of timing because nobody expected The Killing to do very well in the UK because it was subtitled and it has a very local story. It’s very Danish. It’s still a mystery to me but it seems to be striking a cord in the UK that it hasn’t done anywhere else.
The Killing has had such a massive impact on British audiences. What have been your favourite memories working in the UK?
SG: I think to sum it up: any creative person always longs to find something that puts you out of your comfort zone and regular routine. Everyone likes that and, to me, it was just really inspiring to meet new people to work with and to be challenged.
Watch the first episode of Fortitude on Sky Atlantic on Thursday 29th January at 9pm.