Bron Season 3 is premiering simultaneously across Scandinavia this week. How does it feel to enter millions of homes at the same time?
Sofia Helin: I work in Prague right now on a new TV show and people come to me all the time. It’s only now that I start to realise how big the series actually is all over the world.
You’ve lived five years with Saga Nóren. When it started was it a surprise that such an anti-social character would turn into an iconic figure?
SH: I had no idea. When the first season was about to be shown in the UK, I attended an internal meeting at the BBC and I thought no one will know me there. I came into the room and everyone said: of it’s so great! I love the show!! I was taken aback by people’s reaction and how they embraced my character.
How did you collaborate with Hans Rosenfeldt on the creation of Saga Nóren?
SH: The script was already finished when I came on board. But during season 1 I started to get involved. Ever since we’ve worked very closely with him and my input has gradually increased. Hans has been very open-minded to my suggestions.
How have you worked on building your character? Did you draw inspiration from other female cops that you like?
SH: I have worked on several films with the director Maria Blom [Dalecarlians] and she has helped me develop a technique, which is to create the character from the inside, modulating my voice, my body, the way I apprehend the people and the world around me. I’m not interested in looking like someone else. I prefer to jump into a character and say OK, what happens now? How could she be? How would she act?
Saga formed an odd couple with her Danish colleague and only friend Martin Rohde/Kim Bodnia. How does she cope without him in Season 3?
SH: At the start of production of Season 3 we had a kind of crisis since Kim Bodnia left the show and we all had to get a new grip on the season, to find a whole new plot without Martin Rohde. The idea from the beginning was to put Saga in a vulnerable situation, and all of a sudden, without Martin in the picture, she was just that-all alone and exposed. Saga is in a point in her life where she feels trapped. She has failed in trying to live a’ normal ‘life as a couple and her investigative job feels different without Martin. She had difficulties in Season 2 but that was NOTHING compared to Season 3!
What are the main underlying themes in Season 3?
SH: It’s about the modern family, how the traditional nuclear model has changed with sub-themes such as gay rights. It’s also about taking responsibility for your actions.
And your mother shows up ….
SH: Yes, and it makes it horrible for Saga. She had closed the door to her mother years ago and had no relationship with her. She is actually scared of her. She is forced to deal with her past.
Bron really launched your international career. You must love the episodic format that allows your character to have a long screen life. Any idea if Saga will continue to live in another season?
SH: I had an idea during Season 2, of Saga and how she would be in Season 3. But today I have no idea how she will evolve or continue to exist….
You have one of the title roles in the upcoming Danish futuristic thriller Fang Rung. What can you say about your character?
SH: I play an environmental specialist, looking for solutions if fresh water would be destroyed by the salt from the sea. I became quite depressed while shooting the film as I realised how the threat from natural disasters is so close to us and can impact our children.
Do you often look for roles that can deliver a message to a wide audience?
SH: Of course. I look for that, but the most important is that a role has to turn me on. I can never tell in advance, but can feel it inside.
Have you been offered English language projects?
SH: Yes right now I’m working on a British/German co-production, the spy drama Back to Back (Berlin-der geteilte himmel) set in Berlin in the 1970s, on both sides of the Wall. Oliver Hirschbiegel is directing. We are shooting in Prague until December. It is a great project in which I speak German and English. The script by UK screenwriter Paula Milne is brilliant.