Sofia Helin and Sofie Gråbøl interview each other: We were tired of women who are only for decoration

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Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 21.20.16Our friends at Scanoir (well worth a follow on facebook and Twitter) alerted me to this piece of high awesomeness – Sofia Helin and Sofie Gråbøl, those grand dames of Scandinavian crime drama, interviewing EACH OTHER. AT THE SAME TIME. I use capital letters because this is surely, for fans of this hugely popular sub-genre, a big, big deal. Both have been part of globally successful series, playing iconic characters and their popularity with fans of crime drama is up there with Morse and Sherlock. In the interview, in the Swedish newspaper Aftenposten, they discuss all manner of things, and also try to answer why Scandinavian crime drama has been so successful. WARNING: Slight spoilers at the end of the article.

You can go to the newspaper Aftenposten’s site to read the whole thing (here) but thanks to Google Translate, I’m just going to lay down as many key quotes as possible:

On why Scandinavian crime dramas are so successful, especially in Britain…

Sofia Helin: One obvious answer must be that it is because we have made good productions.
Sofie Gråbøl: We do not have another dramaturgy, for it is usually inspired by the US, but the Nordic countries excel when we tell the little story. We’re really good at it and have a long tradition of zooming in completely. Such as Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg did. We have a high degree of credibility, both in the characters and the subtle nuances,
Sofia Helin: In the 90s there were the British TV series. I think we have developed what we learned there and come with a refined variant
Sofie Gråbøl: When the author told me that during a season we will make 20 episodes that all revolves around a murder, I thought we couldn’t do it. But what happened was that the pace was pulled down. Therefore it is necessary to go in depth, and that was what was new. I think that is why the series was so well received.

On playing strong female characters…

Sofia Helin: One of the questions I often get is how women live in Scandinavia. They are not so accustomed to the women who are in the Nordic television series, these women who suddenly take so much space. Someone who does not just go around in high heels and look good.
Sofie Gråbøl: They were surprised that women were portrayed as real people.
Sofia Helin: I, in any case, cannot bear a female character who is just there for decoration and to fill things out.
Sofie Gråbøl: I think, however, that it is the female roles that are most interesting in many cases. It is they who must get on the path.

On their characters…

Sofia Helin: I was more involved in the script process, and I think that also is unusual. [Gråbøl asks a question about how much Helin is like Saga] I talked to a neuroscientist about it. She said that when one thinks as much as anyone else then it touches the signals in the brain in a different way. It is a natural process. It is strange to think that I probably was a little different in the brain. I want to be me.

[Helin also says that she does get affected by playing Saga, because she is so different]

On Sarah Lund…

Sofie Gråbøl: It was intended that Sarah was going to die, but halfway through the season we changed it. She had to suffer some more. As in a Greek myth, she paid a high price to be truth-seeker.

[Gråbøl also says that she believes that viewers do not want more of Sarah Lund]

On The Bridge and the future…

Sofia Helin: For me it’s the end. Despite everything that happened to her, I think that it was a little happy ending for Saga.

[Helin could not say if there would be any more series of The Bridge]

For all our news and reviews of The Bridge, go here

 

 

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