Culture / Interview

“It Comes With Meetings of My Vulnerable Sides”: Maja Jul Larsen in Conversation

After working on Borgen, MAJA JUL LARSEN is the brains behind DR’s Cry Wolf, a hit drama now making waves on Channel 4 in the UK…

Where did the idea for Cry Wolf come from?

Well, I was quite fascinated with the role of a social worker, and the fact their responsibility is to help the family but, at the same time, they have the power to remove children… so it’s a very difficult double role, and it’s very difficult to know who good parents are. I’ve just become a mother, and I find it comes with many doubts and meetings with my vulnerable sides. I could use a social worker as a detective.

I imagine writing involved considerable research…

I did extensive research before writing, speaking to people for almost a year. Holly is loosely based on a girl I met, who wrote a school essay about her family life. I spoke to Holly’s actress, Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl, about this girl, and she asked many questions about what the position is like in real life.

Tell us about the logistics of filming.

It was important to me that it wasn’t a story about Copenhagen, but could be anywhere in Denmark. We found homes and a municipality, and ensured we had coast, fields… a Danish summer landscape. We shot it in blocks of two episodes, with each block lasting six weeks. We needed breaks, so the children could continue going to school and keep their daily routine.

How did you find Flora, by the way?

We had a very talented casting director called Jette Termann, who saw over two hundred girls I believe. Flora had been in a children’s music show, with a completely different tone, but we knew she had experience and we needed someone who could handle being a star for eight hours. Pernille Fischer Christiensen, the director, worked to prepare her for the role, and I adapted the script to get her into character. She blew our mind… she’s just amazing, and many of the takes were done first time. She just clicked. And has a depth to her that’s quite rare.

Finally, Maja, I know you’re still involved with Borgen… anything you can tell us about the upcoming series?

I can’t say too much about it, but I can you Birgitte Nyborg is a foreign minister, and it focuses on Greenland…

MAJA JUL LARSEN is a screenwriter. Cry Wolf is available now on All 4 in the UK.

This article is a Fika Online exclusive.

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