Thomas Hedengran and Sandra Larsson are the stars of new Swedish psychological horror film Marianne. Thomas is well-known for his supporting roles in big domestic films such as Jägarna, Hamilton, The Invisible and Frostbitten. He’s also a highly experienced actor on the stage. This is his first leading role in a film. As for Sandra she has also done theatre work and minor parts before. In essence this is her breakout role in film. Here is our interview with Thomas Hedengran and Sandra Larsson.
What first attracted you to Marianne?
Thomas – The first thing that I liked about Marianne was the script and the fact that the whole story is exciting and scary. I also like the touch of Swedish folklore and that the story happens in that beautiful location that we filmed in.
Sandra – When I first read the script, I loved the fact that the relationship between Sandra and her father was so infected but I felt, at the same time that she wanted to be understood by Krister. Something else that caught my attention was the fact that you never know if Krister really is hunted by a monster (Mara) or if he is mentally disturbed.
Your character Krister is going through a major erosive phase of his life, for you how much of a challenge was it to play someone that is undergoing such uncertainty and devastation?
Thomas – I like to experience the emotional roller-coaster that Krister had. It was fun and of course it was hard but I liked the challenge. I think the development of his stages through the movie, it’s always nice for an actor to have those kind of bridges. It’s always a treat when you have the opportunity to play such a complex character.
Equally, Sandra is quite a tough role in that it requires alot of emotional investment, how do you prepare for a character full of emotional hardship and yet at the same time balance her naivety, because we have to remember she is only 18? Did you have to do much research?
Sandra – I used a lot of my own experiences from when I was 16-18, how I looked at people and made it more like “Sandra”. I looked how young people with problems act in different situations; with family, school, friends. I looked into myself and tried to imagine how an 18 year old girl with that much drama in her life would react in special situations. I´m not similar to Sandra at all, I usually try to have a conversation if there is something I don’t like or disagree with, so I guess I just did the opposite when I played Sandra. I wondered how anyone, especially a girl that age can keep on living her life when more and more trouble comes in her way.
How do you approach your first major movie role?
Sandra -Well, I have played a lot of theater before, and thought that making a movie would be just like playing theatre but in front of a camera. It wasn’t… So much of my preparation for this movie was reading about the difference between theater acting and movie acting. I read interviews with actors and tried to work a lot with my facial expressions and toning down my voice.
Krister has more then a flawed relationship with his daughter Sandra. Why does she feel so much hatred for him, is it because he doesn’t care for her or he doesn’t know how to care for her?
Sandra– I think their relationship is very complicated, not only because Krister is father to a teenage daughter (this in itself can be really complicated) but Sandra knows Krister has been with other women when was still married to Sandras mother Eva. I think she wants to forgive him but she can’t.
Krister has been absent in his daughters lie, he tries to reconnect with Sandra following his nightmares and visions. But what do you believe is holding him back and has for so long?
Sandra– I don’t know if Krister wanted to protect Sandra or if he didn’t want her to think he was mad. Sandra knows Krister is trying, but he isn’t trying hard enough. And she just can’t forgive him for what he did to her mother.
Through his encounters with the Mare, Krister is forced to assess his relationship with his daughter, as an actor how do you approach and explore someone who is consumed by flaws in his life?
Thomas – I always dig in to the one person and see what things or feelings that I could play with. It was so easy to approach the difficult parts when you have such a brilliant actor as Sandra who plays my daughter. It was very interesting emotionally.
Clearly Krister has many flaws. But what flaws does Sandra have which may have pushed her father away or enhanced the deterioration of their relationship?
Sandra – Sandra is a girl with a lot of problems and she has a lot of pride. She doesn’t want to admit when she is wrong. In a way I think she blames Krister for her unhappiness.
Incidentally what was it like sharing scenes with such a terrific actor like Peter Stormare?
Thomas – I loved acting with Peter Stormare again, I worked with him in a film called Hamilton many years ago. He is very supporting and funny and lovely in everything he does and extremely professional. I hope I work with him again!
You and Thomas Hedengran have a great chemistry on set. The audience can really sense the disintegration of this relationship. For you Sandra what did you learn from such an experienced actor like Thomas?
Sandra – Thanks! Well, a part of my dream of becoming an actress was fulfilled! Working with an experienced actor in a movie! Wow! I remember at the beginning I asked Thomas if he did watch his own movies, and if he did, didn’t he feel like he could have done it better. He answered “You have to learn to be kind to yourself.”
And Thomas working with Sandra, playing a broken father, did such a part have an effect on you and maybe help you reassess your own philosophy?
Thomas – Not really, I have to kids so I do that all the time.
What’s up next for you guys after Marianne?
Thomas – At the moment I am working with a comedy on stage and I did that play during the filming of Marianne at the same time.I’m still doing that until the beginning of May 2011. In february I will also work in a TV series.
Sandra – Right now I really look forward to seeing the movie! I have applied to an acting school (Teaterhögskolan I Göteborg) and of course I’m searching for more acting jobs!
We would like to give special thanks to Thomas and Sandra for being so generous with their time!
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