Well received by the trade press (including Screendaily - CLICK HERE and Variety CLICK HERE) when it first screened at Berlin’s Special Gala in February, the film tells of the formative years in the life of Astrid Lindgren in the 1920s, before she became the world-renowned children’s author. The film unveils a little-known dramatic event in her life, when she had to leave her son Lasse for a few years in the care of a foster mother in Copenhagen.

The film was produced by Avanti Film’s Maria Dahlin, Anna Anthony, and Nordisk Film Production’s Lars G Lindström with support from Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

After Sweden and Finland, the film will open in several territories including Norway (September 28), Russia (November 8), the US (November 23), Germany (December 6), Netherlands (December 20) and Denmark (January 31).

Pernille, why did you want to do a biopic about Astrid Lindgren?
Pernille Fischer Christensen: I grew up with Astrid’s stories. She was one of the most important artists for me and her stories made a big impact on me as a child. I also grew up in Småland and spent many summers there. My mum worked with children. We would read and discuss stories, themes about life, death etc.

One day I saw in a newspaper a photo of Astrid in Denmark, holding a child [her son Lasse] by the hand. The article was promoting the book ‘Astrid Lindgren‘s life in images’. I bought it for my mum. That was 6 years ago. In the book, there are many photos of her as a teenager and a young woman. She looks skinny, sometimes depressed, but also full of fire and spirit. I knew nothing of that part of her life. I decided to dig into Astrid’s past to know more about her and her child and read many of her books, over and over again. I understood how those formative years where decisive in her becoming a writer.

….and why do you think that those formative years influenced Astrid’s storytelling?
Her books are full of lonely and brave little boys. She also told interviewers about a recurrent nightmare: she’s asleep, someone knocks at the door, she says I’m asleep don’t bother me. She eventually opens the door and a little boy says: 'I have no one to take care of me'. Having to leave her child for a few years in Denmark was really traumatic as she had a strong sense of what’s right and wrong.

How did you collaborate with co-writer Kim Fupz Aakeson?
I did a lot of research and reading, we exchanged ideas and started writing together. It looks like a simple story, but it took a lot of time to find that simplicity. With a biopic, you simply have a lot of responsibility. I kept asking myself: is this true to Astrid Lindgren, to her spirit, am I pushing things too hard?

Being a Dane, was it an advantage for you to bring to the screen such a seminal Swedish personality who was an influential public figure as well?
PFC: Perhaps it gave me extra freedom to touch this iconic person. But my interest really was to show her as a human being.

Astrid had a rebel spirit and that spirit is also present in her books. Is that also something you wanted to pay tribute to?
Yes. The film is very much about the freedom of the mind, and the consequences of being free. Astrid embodies courage, freedom, free speech, she’s a great philosopher and discusses major topics in life with simple words.

Her message is super important right now. She would tell us think, again, and again, from another perspective, like Pippi, just turn things around. Perhaps Kato is evil in Mio, my Son, but he wants to be free from evil. She has a message that is so vibrant and topical. This is why we’ve received so much wonderful response on the film.

Do you feel the film will appeal more to women than men?
PFC: No. Many men cry in the film as well. What was important for us was not to judge or take sides when we see the 50-year-old editor in chief of the Vimmerby newspaper, having a relationship with the very young Astrid. We tried to say they are doing the best they can right now in their lives.

Astrid Lindgren had a big influence in opinion making, and a feminist ahead of her time. What do you think she would have said about the #MeToo movement?
PFC: Well she is the creator of Pippi Longstocking! What do you think Pippi would have said: Get the hands off me!!

Alba August what did you know about Astrid Lindgren before playing the part?
Alba August: I grew up with her and her name was everywhere in my bookshelf. There is this museum where I used to go in Stockholm, where you could spend hours in her universe. I was of course nervous to play her, but also excited. I didn’t know about that part of her life and felt that was a super important story to tell. In the 1920s, so many women had to go through traumas of having to give up their child. For my role, I knew nothing about being pregnant and having a child, but I was lucky to have Pernille and other female crew members guiding me.

How did you prepare for the part?
AA: We prepared for two months before shooting. I did some research about Astrid’s childhood, tried to figure her as a character, how she behaved, her mimics. She was quite complex. Then I had to learn how to type, and fast! That’s not as easy as it looks. I had to learn how to dance, to live during that time, the family, political context. The preparation work was crucial.

In what way to do relate to Astrid’s personality?
AA: She loved the freedom of childhood, being impulsive, natural and struggled with becoming an adult, following rules. I can recognise myself in that. At school, I often struggled, I was always impatient, and theatre that I did from an early age, was a way to survive those school years. I was a bit of a rebel, like Astrid.

Do you look differently at Astrid’s stories now?
When I got to know how brave she was, I had even more respect for her.