There’s a renewed interest in Swedish film today, and once again Sweden is exporting actors and directors to Hollywood just like in the good old days.
Recently Nordstjernan has covered a lot of Swedish film, and there’s no denying it: There’s a renewed interest in Swedish film today, and once again Sweden is exporting actors and directors to Hollywood just like in the good old days. Directors like Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) and Daniel Espinosa (“Fast Cash”) and actors like Alexander Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny and Joel Kinnaman are hot. Says Pia Lundberg, Director of the International Department at the Swedish Film Institute: “American talent scouts are always courting us. They keep an eye on our actors and directors, even our technical behind-the-camera personnel. Sweden is in right now.” Sweden has had a good repute since the days of silent movies, and Ingmar Bergman is still very much in focus at all international film conferences, but Lundberg says that a few films and a few actors recently also broke the barrier, which in turn has created a domino effect.
The “New Swedish Wave” was set in motion after Tomas Alfredson’s highly acclaimed vampire drama, “Let the Right One In” and continued with thriller blockbusters like the Millenium trilogy and “Fast Cash”. Hollywood is now busy making its own versions of all these films. And several Hollywood production companies are trying to make a film based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s zombie novel “Hanteringen av odöda” (Handling the Undead), before it has even turned into a Swedish made film. Lindqvist is the author of the vampire novel “Let the Right One In”. “The remake market is much bigger internationally,” Lundberg continues. “What this tells us is that it’s an uncertain market that is suffering from the recession. Everyone would like to produce films that are proven to work. Earlier Americans just bought the rights to Swedish films and then it all sort of fizzled out, now it’s actually happening.”
But it’s not just the stories Hollywood is after, it’s also the directors and the actors. Daniel Espinosa (director of “Fast Cash”) is highly sought after, whereas Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) left the project “The Danish Girl” to Lasse Hallström, so that he instead could focus on the screen version of John Le Carré’s novel “Mullvaden” (“Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy”). Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, who has played major parts in the HBO series “Generation Kill” and “True Blood” is now preparing for the filming of “Straw Dogs”. Alexander’s brother Gustaf has a lead in Peter Weir’s action drama “The Way Back” where Colin Farrell and Ed Harris also have parts. And Joel Kinnaman (who plays JW in “Fast Cash”) is also preparing for a career in America. He has moved to Los Angeles and is set to play the lead in a new TV series called “The Killing”. Actress Tuva Novotny will soon be seen with Julia Robert’s in the drama comedy “Eat, pray, love”, while Helena Mattson, who has previously been seen in series like “CSI”, has gotten a part in “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming film “Iron Man 2”.
Says Jenny Planthaber at the agency Agentfirman, which represents many of the hottest Swedish talent internationally: “Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium films) is also getting a lot of proposals from Hollywood, as well as Europe. We have daily contact with the US.” There is also of course already an established group of Swedish talent in Hollywood, most notably directors Lasse Hallström and Mikael Håfström, and actors like Max von Sydow, Stellan Skarsgård, and Peter Stormare. But the new generation of Swedes are getting different parts, often playing heroes, unlike in the earlier days when they often got stuck playing the bad guys. Still, there are more men than women who are exported. Helena Lindblad, film editor at Dagens Nyheter, believes that has to do with the Hollywood ideals. “Hollywood might not be interesting for highly qualified Swedish actresses, who must subject themselves to severe beauty ideals in order to compete with American actresses,” she says.
Here they come, Hollywood - make way for the Swedes! Swedish talent in the shape of both directors and actors are - once again - taking over Hollywood. From left to right: Alexander Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny, Joel Kinnaman, and Tomas Alfredson.