Nordicana 2015 opened with a treat for fans of Danish drama, the premiere episode of The Legacy (Arvingerne) season 2, screened ahead of its broadcast on Sky Arts HD this Friday. A gripping family saga, season one followed the Grønnegaard clan as they got plunged into emotional and legal feuds over the estate of their deceased artist matriarch. With disputed wills, secret adoptions and familial recriminations, The Legacy was Dickens by way of Dogme 95. We spoke to stars Trine Dyholm (eldest sibling Gro), Marie Bach Hansen (youngest Signe) and Jesper Christensen (avant-garde composer Thomas) about what drew them to the project, the joys of directing your fellow actors and the new family order for series 2.
But first, the small matter of Jesper Christensen wanting a picture of his interviewer… [Some SPOILERS for series 1]
[The cast poses for a photo on Jesper’s phone. Gestures to me] Jesper: You have to be in it!
[photograph taken] Jesper: Now you are immortal!
Trine, What was the initial appeal for you in joining The Legacy?
Trine: I was attracted to the project because of the people making it, and also because of the characters and the topics. I think it’s important stuff. And I like when characters are so diverse and they are not good or bad; they are both, as we are as human beings.
Gro is perhaps the most complex character within the show, capable of great tenderness but also great vindictiveness. Did that draw you to the role?
Trine: She is very complex. I am often surprised of how she will react in different situations, and I like when you can’t say how a person will react. We are very much involved in the creative process. The writer (Maya Ilsøe) would invite us in at an early stage to discuss how things were going to be. So she is really inspired by us.
Jesper, Thomas is in many ways fans’ favourite character, a free spirit but also one of the wisest characters in the show.
Jesper: If you had watched the whole second series you wouldn’t have asked that question! You just wait!
You also directed the opening episode of series 2, as with episodes in series 1. Is working with actors you’re familiar with a help or does it pose a greater challenge?
Jesper: its 98% positive. It’s just wonderful to not have to work with poor actors! [If they were] I couldn’t imagine how I would have survived! It’s just wonderful. They know their parts, they’re very, very good. All the conversations around it are so easy.
Marie, there has been a significant time jump between seasons. Signe goes from [SPOILER] inheriting family home Grønnegaard to inviting the family back in, being almost a guest in her own home. Was that an interesting development for you to play?
Marie: Yes, it was very interesting, what happens in the family after the trial, after the fight. We talked a lot about that, and I think it’s a new journey that begins with the family in the house.
Denmark has a relatively small acting community, does that contribute to a greater sense of camaraderie between the actors?
Trine: It is a small business because it’s a small country. But I think it has more to do with the way we work. We have a level hierarchy in Denmark. Actors are very equal with the director in a way. They can tell them, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we did it like this?” So we kind of make it together. We’re used to that from theatre as well. That’s just a tradition.
One of appeals of season one was the twists and turns, both legal and emotional. Are there more to come?
Marie: I would say there are a lot of surprises in the second season.
Trine: It’s at another level. And now the family has a new order, and they just have to find out how to fill their parts.
The Legacy: Season 2 will premiere on Sky Arts HD on Friday 12th June at 9pm. Season 1 is available on Blu Ray and DVD now.