During our long Nordic weekend at Nordicana 2015 we had the opportunity for a quick chat with the cast of Danish historical drama 1864, now available on the BBC iPlayer. We spoke with Jakob Oftebro, Jens Sætter-Lassen, Marie Tourell Søderberg and Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, aka Laust, Peter, Inge and Claudia.
How was the casting process for finding brothers Peter and Laust like?
Jens: We knew each other beforehand. We did individual castings for the first round and then we actually met for the second round.
Jakob: When I read the script I thought, ok, if I’m gonna play Laust…then Jens should play my brother.
In the series Inge’s diary is what glues all events together and Claudia is the one reading it. Later on, we also learn that they are related in a way. If your two characters could meet, what would they tell each other?
Marie: I think they would mostly look at each other and maybe find something of themselves within the other person’s eyes…
Sarah: I think both characters can identify themselves with each other because they are both suffering in two different times.
Marie: and also they are very strong women, so it would be like a mirror for them.
Sarah: Yes, they are both survivors and they’re warriors in their own way.
Obviously there are lots of fighting sequences but there is also lots of emotional stuff and it’s a period piece. How did you prepare for your role?
Jakob: Well, we learnt to shoot and load the real guns…
Jens: I read the book which the series is based on and I also read some of the soldiers’ letters, which were quite inspiring. So, we tried to read up on history and then just went for it. After all, they were people just like us.
It was quite refreshing to see a female character like Inge doing something crazy for love, which is normally something you see happening with men; women are usually expected to be much more rational. How was playing Inge for you?
Marie: I immediately fell in love with her. I think she’s just the most beautiful character ever and I think she’s also the best version of me. She’s both courageous and poetic and so incredibly strong and the most beautiful thing is that she is able to see the light even when it’s dark. And in the end, when she’s forced to marry Didrich, she insists on finding love in that as well, and I think that’s the most powerful character trait within her.
As a performer, what makes a good director?
Jens: I think Ole (Bornedal) is very very good at getting his actors into the ‘mood’. Even though the set was really big with hundreds people running and yelling, he was really good to take the time to bring us into the right mood. He was never stressed and I think that was a really good quality.
In your opinion, what’s the importance of telling this story now?
Sarah: I think Ole told us all that this was more a story about love than about war. And it’s also a story about time, the time that is and the time that was and the time that suddenly disappears all in front of us, we try to catch it but it’s gone…
Marie: and as you say, time is nothing and everything, and at the same time and it’s an universal story.
What’s coming up next?
Jakob: I’m going to do another TV series this autumn, so that’s next for me, we’ve just started shooting actually…
Jens: I’m probably going to do a series as well, but that will be 2016. It’s about the Danish royal family, which is quite an interesting project.
1864 is available now on Blu-ray & DVD, order your copy here.