Interview: Anders Danielsen Lie

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Known by his incredible performance in Joachim Trier’s critically acclaimed films such as Reprise (2006), Oslo, 31. August (2011), Anders Danielsen Lie is one of the most remarkable actors of Scandinavian cinema but also of French cinema. We have always been following closely what Anders Danielsen Lie is doing; now he just took a role in Paul Greengrass’ Netflix film 22 July reviving one of the most horrible figures of 21st century Anders Behring Breivik. However, we still love Anders Danielsen Lie. We spoke to Anders about his past and upcoming projects. Keep reading! 🙂

-You started your acting career when you were a child. However, you tell that you never dreamed to be an actor. How did you find yourself acting in films? 

Anders: My acting career as adult started with “Reprise” by Joachim Trier. I was a medical student at the time and had no plans to pursue an acting career. 

-You are a part time actor, full time doctor. How do you still find time to take part in some film projects? Is it challenging for you? 

Anders: During the last years I have been working more as an actor, but I still work regularly as a doctor. It is hard to do both, but also rewarding when it works. It’s nice to have one foot in reality, literally speaking.

-You also have a band. Why don’t you make some new music? How did you decide to make music? As far as I know, the majority of Norwegian population tends to make music. Was it like to follow the mode for you or not? 

Anders: I am currently working on another album, but with my schedule, it is always hard to say exactly when it will be ready for release. I have always played and made music, I think it is my way of doing yoga. 

-Except your first film project HermanReprise is actually your breakthrough. How did you start to work with Joachim Trier? Also, do you like working with Joachim? I think you and him are like a perfect duo. 

Anders: Thank you.. Joachim was familiar with my acting career as a child and wanted me to audition for Reprise. I loved the script very much. So I took a year off from medical school to shoot that movie. After the film we became good friends. It is always great working with him. He is one of the best directors I know. 

-Both in Reprise and in Oslo, 31. August, your characters are quite depressed and melancholic. For example, how was it to be Anders? Did Anders leave trace on you? 

Anders: Not really. I try to stay professional, and even if the aesthetic of the film is naturalistic, there is a lot of distance between the character and myself as a private person. Melancholy is something deeply human, I think we all have a sense of what it is. I think acting is sometimes a matter of finding potentials and possibilities in your mind, and amplify that, more than transforming yourself. 

-Do you find some similarities between you and Anders in Oslo, 31. August, and also Phillip in Reprise? I feel like Anders and Phillip are like my favorite film characters. 

Anders: Oh that’s nice to hear… I guess I have something in common with all the characters I have played, but psychologically it is much easier for me to understand Anders in Oslo, than Philip in Reprise. For me they are very different characters although they have obvious cultural similarities.

-Which places are your favorite spots in Oslo? Would you recommend us some places where Oslo, 31. August or Reprise were filmed? Except Karl Johans gate haha. 

Anders: The Vigeland sculpture park is a very nice spot in Oslo. And north of the city you have great forests and small lakes. Being a capital, Oslo is small and peaceful.  

-Do you have some good memories while filming Oslo, 31. August that you could tell us. 

Anders: There was a special atmosphere in Oslo when we shot that film. Summer that year (2010) was very wet, so the trees were intensely green, looking almost like a rain forest. You can really see that in the film. The film was made quickly, with momentum, and everyone was really pushing the envelope. It is special to shoot a fiction film in your own city, it makes you look at all the places and people with new eyes. 

-What does Oslo mean to you? What is your favorite thing to do in Oslo?

Anders: Oslo is the place where I was born and raised, so it has a special place in my heart. My favorite thing to do is jogging in the woods. 

-Do you have sympathy to French culture? You also take roles in French productions and you speak French. Do you prefer acting in Norwegian films or you are open to everything? 

Anders: I love France very much but I don’t have a specific preference. It has been a huge privilege and challenge playing in foreign language movies. It is something I would like to do regularly if I get the opportunity. 

-How was working with Mikhaël Hers? Ce sentiment de l’été also gave me Oslo, 31. August vibe. Both are my favorite films actually.

Anders: Thank you very much! It was very nice working with Mikhaël. He knew very well what he wanted for his film, and this was my first lead role in a French film, so obviously it was a an experience I won’t forget.

-Do you follow some Norwegian bands? Maybe, do you have some favorite bands that you could suggest us to listen? 

Anders: Norway has a rich music scene. I think I would recommend the bands Broen, Serena Maneesh and the Norwegian DJ Hans Peter Lindstrøm

-How did you decide to act in Paul Greengrass’ 22 July? Actually the thing that shocked me is the film didn’t film in Norwegian even though almost whole cast was Norwegian. I’d prefer the film in Norwegian though. How was giving life to Anders Behring Breivik?

Anders: The film was made in English with a Norwegian cast because Paul Greengrass wanted to reach an international audience and still stay close to Norway, emotionally and culturally. I was asked to audition for the part and of course I had reservations playing this particular character, but this is an important part of Norwegian history, and it felt right to be a part of it. I think a movie can help us remember the victims. 

-What is your favorite film or favorite films? I know it is a tough question. 

Anders: It’s hard to pick one film, because I have always enjoyed many genres. “Heat” by Michael Mann, “Jeanne d’Arc” by Carl Theodor Dreyer, “Goodfellas” by Martin Scorsese, “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott, “Manhattan” by Woody Allen are among the most important. The list goes on and on!   

-Do you have upcoming projects? What are you doing nowadays? 

Anders: There are several new projects in the pipeline, but unfortunately it’s too early to talk about them. 

-You took a role in Mia-Hansen Løve’s new project Bergman Island. I’m actually looking forward to watching this film. How is it going so far? What can you tell us about the film? 

Anders: I can’t tell very much about the film yet, but it was a wonderful shoot last summer at Fårö, the island where Ingmar Bergman lived for many years. Shooting will continue this spring and summer. 

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