Culture / Interview

“The Weekly Shop Became Difficult”: Bjarne Hendriksen in Conversation

Continuing our look at Cry Wolf, BJARNE HENRIKSEN is the series star, and has also been given prominent roles in some of his nation’s biggest films and series, including Borgen and The Killing

Bjarne, this has been a huge success in the UK, though it hasn’t caused the same mania as The Killing twelve years ago. You had a starring role in the first series of that drama… what was it like living as a suspect?

The whole of Denmark was transfixed, which made it fairly hard to do the daily shopping, and even just walk around in the street… everyone was asking “is it you?” and saying how sick things would be if it was… I was worried I’d be beaten up, in fact. Nicolaj Kopernikus, who played the murderer, was terrified when he read the final episode’s script. They gave us several possible endings, and only revealed it last minute. When Nicolaj found out it was him, he was so terrified he asked to leave the country!

And what about coming to the UK, another country transfixed?

It was particularly strange to meet English actors who’d I’d grown up with coming up to congratulate me on my work. And I’m like: “but you’re my hero!”.

How did you prepare for the Cry Wolf role? Did you arrange interviews with social workers?

I met about five social workers. My ex-wife, in fact, is also a social worker, so I knew something about it before I started, and I knew what sort of person would take on a job like this.

And when did you say yes to doing it?

When I read the script. I thought finally there’s something on television that would work around things in our society we don’t usually talk about. In Europe, we have a society that looks good and happy on the surface, but with a sub-world. I remember driving my ex-wife to work and she’d point out houses… “drugs”, “incest”, “violence”, “narcotics”, “alcohol”… and they were lovely houses with neat gardens. All the energy to keep up a façade is immense. I wanted to make my performance as authentic as possible in tribute to the social workers who know that.

What exactly are you up to at the moment?

At the moment, nothing. I’ve been reading audiobooks (a series on the Viking age). In springtime I’ll do some filming again, and in autumn I’m doing some theatre in Aarhus… it’s a very different character I’m playing there, but I won’t say too much now!

Intriguing… well we look forward to it. Just to come back to Cry Wolf… how did the logistics work? Where’s it set, for example?

It was set in the provinces, near Kalundborg, on the other side of the island to Copenhagen. In fact, though, much of the filming was in suburbs of Copenhagen, designed to look as ordinary as possible.

Finally, while you, obviously, are marvellous, we’ve got to mention your co-star, Holly (played by Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl)… what was she like to work with?

She was fantastic… really disciplined. Now she’s a big star – a rocket – really booming out there. And yes, I think she’ll stay an actress (you can never quite tell to begin with). I’ll watch out!

BJARNE HENDRIKSEN is a Danish actor.

This article is a Fika Online exclusive.

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