Interview: Sofie Gråbøl, Fortitude

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screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-09-46-17We still love Sofie Gråbøl. The groundbreaking Danish actress was outstanding in The Killing – which bashed down the doors when it came to Nordic Noir – and has been a joy to watch in pretty much everything she has appeared in before or since. She popped up in series one of Sky’s enjoyable if entirely daft crime/horror mash-up, Fortitude, and now she’s back for a second run. We managed to get hold of an interview with Sofie, which you can read after the jumperoo.

The Killing Times: What sort of person do you think Odegard is?
Sofie Gråbøl: Hildur Odegard is the governor of Fortitude, so obviously she’s a power person. I would say she is very strong minded and not afraid to be dominant, but she’s also, to me, the mother of Fortitude. She’s very protective and loyal and wants what’s best for the town. But with all mothers, what’s best is subjective, isn’t it?

TKT: How did Odegard face up to the challenges of season one?
SG: She was, in season one – as in season two – under a lot of pressure, both privately and professionally. I know from my own life that if you’re really in a crisis you can actually only survive from moment to moment. So I think she struggled to do her best to keep the community together, to keep her own life together. Where do we find her at the start of season two? When we meet her in season two, and this goes for a lot of the characters in Fortitude, things have changed a lot and it has definitely affected her. She suddenly finds herself in a place where the crisis is over, but there’s definitely a posttraumatic period where there is time to reflect, and in this new season, I would say, Hildur realises she’s not happy.

TKT: Tell us about the relationship she has with Erling Munk?
SG: She has known this person for 20 years, but it’s not a warm relationship. He is the person she is fighting in order to protect her community, because his task is to bring all the bad news about the government cutting down on support, on food supplies, on fuel supplies, so Hildur is very annoyed by this bureaucrat. Also she’s a woman who has a strong sense of freedom and of doing things her way – which is the best way. She’s not fond of the bureaucratic way of doing things that comes with politics. She’s not very diplomatic, I don’t think, and obviously Erling Munk is the embodiment of the bureaucracy and all the rules that must be followed. No, she’s not very keen on that.

TKT: And what about with another new character, Michael Lennox?
SG: Michael Lennox, who is played by the lovely Dennis Quaid – so much fun to work with and to be with, he’s just brilliant. Michael Lennox is an old friend of Hildur, they’ve been friends for 20 years and I think he is the only person she really feels close to and confident with. They understand each other because they both find themselves in situations which are hard. There’s a loneliness that they share. I’m very glad she has Michael in this story. They start on a journey in season two. It’s a very beautiful relationship.

TKT: The show can get quite gruesome…
SG: Well Fortitude is definitely still a world of very, very dramatic brutal murders. I don’t think the audience will be let down this time. It’s so absurd sometimes when we sit in the make-up room in the morning, you have the actors in all the chairs and you say to the person next to you, “So what are you doing today? What scene?” And they say, “Oh, I’m eating a baby today, I think”. And I, oh, [claps] I love it. So you still have that, but also I think there are some very strong characters and nuanced personal stories. You get to know the characters better, it’s a tighter story this time, which I think really suits it.

TKT: Did you enjoy filming season two?
SG: Well, as with the first season, we have a great cast; we have a very rare ensemble feeling. We have some lovely new people entering our family: Dennis Quaid, Michelle Fairley, Ken Stott. We sometimes go to Iceland to shoot and all the actors stay in a hotel out in a remote place, which brings us very close together, in a lovely sense. We take long walks, we eat together – that also generates a strong sense of being a group and belonging, and it adds to the sense of place, because it’s very different from being in a studio in London having to imagine everything. When you’re put into that vast, beautiful, rough landscape it adds to the sense of what Fortitude is all about.

Fortitude series two: Thursday 26th January, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

For all our news and reviews of Fortitude, go here.

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