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Göteborg Interview: 'A Hijacking’ & 'The Killing' Star Søren Malling Shares His Thoughts On The American Remake & Much More

Photo of Jessica Kiang By Jessica Kiang | The Playlist February 5, 2013 at 4:58PM

So if asked to put an actor’s name to the Scandinavian drama tsunami of recent years, yes, most might point to Mads Mikkelsen, or maybe Stellan Skarsgård -- two Nordic actors who crop up not only in homegrown fare, but also increasingly in Hollywood productions. But one name that might not come so handily to mind, precisely because of his contrasting lack of U.S. credits, is Søren Malling’s. No matter, if you’ve been paying any sort of attention of late, you know his face. We got to meet the “A Hijacking,” the original “The Killing” and “Borgen” star at the Göteborg International Film Festival, where “A Hijacking” was close to wrapping up its stellar festival run.

Soren Malling Killing
He believes there is a fundamental difference of approach between U.S. and Scandinavian TV drama.
SM: You know, Stephen King was asked what were his top ten TV shows of 2012 and three of them were Danish: “Borgen,” “The Killing,” and “The Bridge. “ And “Borgen” was his number one. He was asked why and he said if it was an American TV show and it was about a [female] President, her family life will end up being the winner. But here it’s totally the opposite way around -- she almost skips the family and her work is top priority and he thought that was a very different and very human way of looking at things.

I think maybe we are not so much into “concepts” but being more [about how] life is a bit, oh sorry, and then you fucking die. Sometimes you have to go with that… When we are working we are very concerned that there is always a little man inside a huge character. I mean, I am so much in love with these huge American HBO series coming out -- they are so good, but they are still a concept, there’s a little bit of distance there. I love “Mad Men,” but it’s a huge concept: it’s so well written and it’s spot-on for the period, but I don’t get inside the characters.

As a result, he is not such a huge fan of the American remake of “The Killing”
SM: Well, I didn’t like it. They changed it. They changed it because it was a U.S. thing and it was their own version but again it got a little bit of distance. Sarah Lund is a very, very dark character but the American version of her was not a dark character, much more light. And that whole mystery about who is she kind of disappears. It was good, but because I was part of the original I kind of think, “Come on.”

He will however be reuniting with Sofie Gråbøl, who played Sarah Lund, in his next film “I Lossens Time,” in which she will again play a vocational character.
SM: It’s based on a book by a Swedish author called Per Olav Enquist. I think it was a novel, then it was a play, now it’s becoming a movie. I can’t translate the title [we look it up -- something about a lynx]. It’s about a boy who kills his grandmother and he is in a mental hospital but he doesn’t speak, he doesn’t communicate at all. I play the male nurse who takes care of him and Sophie plays a priest who they bring form the outside because when he does talk, he talks a lot about God.

I Lossens Time” will be released in Denmark in May, and in addition to his regular "Borgen" gig, you can also catch Malling in a small role in the Danish Oscar-nominated “A Royal Affair” (reviewed here) and an upcoming episode of the Kenneth Branagh version of “Wallander.”

This article is related to: Göteborg International Film Festival, Interview, Søren Malling, A Hijacking

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