Thure Lindhardt: The Danish Man of Mystery

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We uncover the new face on the Øresund beat and get a closer look at the intriguing Nordic star

Thure Lindhardt is a face you will no doubt recognise. He graduated from the Odense Theatre School and has starred in film and television from his native Scandinavia to Hollywood. In English-language cinema, Lindhardt has worked under the direction of Ron Howard, Neil Jordan and Sean Penn. He has played an assassin for the Danish resistance, an intellectual junkie and now a policeman with a mysterious personality, to name a few. Thure Lindhardt has been acting since the age of twelve and since this time the Danish actor has honed his experience in theatre, film and television to master his chameleonic approach. However, one pigment that remains in his plethora of roles is the deep and visceral intensity that lends the perfect shade of intrigue and darkness to the dominion of Noir.

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In The Bridge III, we first meet Lindhardt’s character Henrik Sabroe halfway through the first episode of the new season. Perhaps due to the echo of the previous, unsettling scene when Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and Hanne Thomsen (Kirsten Olesen) meet the victim’s unstable son Morten Anker, not to mention Henrik’s introduction occurs at night; there is something alluring and furtive about him. As the guise of darkness and the ominous music fades, a pensive Henrik comes into view. His childlike curiosity that accompanies his dark set eyes make it difficult to gauge his character. What are his intentions? Does he have a moral compass? In the complex genre of Nordic Noir we are familiar with flawed detectives and anti-heroes succumbing to a controversial fate. Therefore – can we trust Henrik or is he another off-beat character we will warm to, just like we did with Saga?

Let’s get to know the actor and the man behind the mysterious visage from his on-screen repertoire…

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Scandinavian cinema

One of Lindhardt’s first roles saw him cast in Bille August’s drama Pelle the Conqueror (1987), starring Max von Sydow, Sofie Gråbøl and Lars Simonsen (who played Martin’s ultimate adversary Jens in The Bridge I & II, 2011-2013). The film set in the 1800s portrays a group of Swedish people immigrating to Bornholm Island in Denmark to start a new life of their dreams. This epic story highlights the xenophobia and inter-Scandinavian conflicts that are often commented upon in Nordic series, including The Bridge. Pelle the Conqueror received a staggering eight awards at the Robert Festival in 1988, including Best Film and Best Actor for Max von Sydow. As well as four Bodil Awards and international recognition by winning Best Foreign Language Film at the 1989 Golden Globes and Academy Awards ceremonies.

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It wasn’t until his brief appearance in the crime drama Strisser på Samsø (1997– 1998), which also featured future stars of Scandi-crime and drama series Lars Mikkelsen (The Killing I, 2007 and Those Who Kill, 2011) and Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, 2010-2013 and 1864, 2014) that Lindhardt began cultivating an adult journey into acting. Not long afterwards, the Danish actor appeared in the miniseries Edderkoppen (2000), which shone a light on the criminal underworld operating in Copenhagen in the shadow of the Second World War. As 1864 actress Marie Tourell Søderberg states in our interview: “Denmark is such a small country so the Danish field of actors is so small; we are just colleagues.” Not only does this apply to the abundance of stars including Nikolaj Lie Kaas (The Keeper of Lost Causes, 2013), Trine Dyrholm (The Legacy, 2014) and Troels Lyby (Accused, 2005) but, here, Lindhardt began his four-time collaboration with filmmaker Ole Christian Madsen.

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Lindhardt’s mesmerising performances in Madsen’s Angels in Fast Motion (2005) (‘Nordkraft’) and Flame and Citron (2008) earned him critical acclaim. His portrayal of an intelligent drug addict in the hard-hitting Angels in Fast Motion defined his career with a Robert Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2006. The brutal insight into the effects of narcotics was taken to greater extremes as Lindhardt further emulated his character Steso by losing 18 pounds to play the part with a method realism.

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The subsequent historical thriller teamed Madsen with Lindhardt and fellow global talent Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, 2012 and Hannibal, 2013-2015) in Flame and Citron. This account, based on the real-life events of two resistance fighters: Bent “Flammen” Faurschou-Hviid (Lindhardt) and Jørgen “Citron” Haagen Schmith from the infamous ‘Holger Danske’ group, the pair target Danish saboteurs amidst a Nazi occupied country. The film illustrates the turbulent period with two heroic, yet volatile compatriots. Much like the lesser known events of 1864, the representation of the key historical events in Danish history that take place in Flame and Citron was an important concept to amplify for writer-director Madsen.

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The Left Wing Gang (2009-2010), based on a true story, continues with a potent historical crime narrative. In this instance; a wave that stretches from the 1970s to the 1980s, during the reign of a gang of activists and thieves, including political party heads of a communist organisation. Bo Weimann (Lindhardt) was imprisoned for seven years for his association with the group. Ulrich Thomsen (Festen, 1998) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters, 2011 and Game of Thrones, 2011-2016) also star. The theme of resistance can also be seen in the actor’s fourth film with Ole Christian Madsen – his ensemble portrait of the 1960s social upheaval in Itsi Bitsi (2014), with Lindhardt and co-starring Ola Rapace and Marie Tourell Søderberg.

Fans of The Bridge may also be interested to hear that Thure Lindhardt has starred with Kim Bodnia (who played Martin Rohde in The Bridge I & II) in the dark-witted festive comedy The Christmas Party (2009) (‘Julefrokosten’) and the actors are due to appear together once again in I Want to Be Like You, which will be released in 2016.

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Lindhardt in Hollywood and the UK

The Dane’s major foray into English-language cinema sent him Into the Wild (2007) in Sean Penn’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s novel. Here he shared an openness for sexuality and the wilderness as one of many colourful characters that explorer Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) meets on his hitchhiking travels to Alaska. Joining Scandinavian stars Stellan Skarsgård and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Lindhardt strived to uphold order within the Vatican City as Lieutenant Chartrand in Ron Howard’s second re-imagining of Dan Brown’s best-selling Robert Langdon series Angels & Demons. In one of his notable scenes he finds himself trapped within the exclusive archives with Tom Hanks.

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In Keep the Lights On (2012), Lindhardt played the love interest of Zachary Booth (Damages, 2007-2012) in a dysfunctional love story directed by Ira Sachs (Love is Strange, 2014). Esteemed Danish actress and filmmaker Paprika Steen (Festen, 1998 and Love is All You Need, 2012) also co-starred in the powerful, emotional drama of a homosexual relationship doomed for failure, borne from a brief encounter.

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In addition to Lindhardt’s vigour for drama, he has also expanded his capacity as the villain. In Neil Jordan’s British-set horror Byzantium (2012), Lindhardt plays Werner: a vampire hunter on the trail of the immortal Clara Webb (Gemma Arterton) and her daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) in modern day England. A year later, he enlisted in the action-adrenaline franchise Fast and Furious 6 (2013), as well as the final season of the period crime series, centring round the corrupt family in 1492’s Italy – The Borgias (2011-2013).

So while we get used to the new man in Saga’s life in The Bridge III, we can tell that the actor Thure Lindhardt is a new force to be reckoned with, along with his palpable enigmatic air.

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Continue watching Thure Lindhardt and Sofia Helin in The Bridge III on Saturdays from 9pm, with thrilling episode double-bills on BBCFour.