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An Interview with Anders Danielsen Lie

Having made his onscreen debut in Herman at the age of 11, Anders Danielsen Lie has worked on films and series such as, Reprise, Oslo, August 31st, Personal Shopper, 22 July, Nobel, Cléo & Paul, This Summer Feeling, and Norwegian Cozy. In addition to being an actor and a musician, Anders also works as a qualified doctor. I spoke with Anders about his preferred profession, his most challenging role, collaborating with Joachim Trier, and the upcoming Bergman’s Island.

Besides acting, you are a doctor and a musician. Did you always want to pursue a career in acting?

No, I dreamed of being a musician, but I have always had many interests and have never been able to choose. It feels like a huge privilege being able to do many things.

Is there anyone in the industry who has really inspired you?

Many people have inspired me. If I had to choose one person in the film industry, I think it would have to be Lars Von Trier, because he never makes something uninteresting. Even when he doesn't succeed, he is interesting. In music, Herbie Hancock is my biggest idol.

What was your most challenging role, and why? I think every role has its own particular challenges, often things that I can't see in advance. Playing Philip in Reprise was hard because of the character's mental illness. Anders in Oslo, August 31st was hard because of the depressed mood. In 22 July I had to find a good balance between reality and fiction. So I guess each project brings its own difficulties, which is part of why I enjoy acting. But when I look back on my career, I think Philip in Reprise remains the toughest job, also because my experience was so limited at the time.

I particularly like your performance as Phillip in Reprise. What drew you to the role, and how did you prepare?

Thank you, that's great to hear because I think of that performance as flawed, which is not necessarily a bad thing in my book. I often enjoy performances that are not perfect, or has something “off” to them. I had no plans of pursuing a career in acting when I was asked to audition for the part. I was working as a doctor in a psychiatric hospital, and most of my patients were young people with psychotic disorders. So it was pretty interesting to research for the part! But I didn't know anything about how to prepare well for a lead role. I was all over the place, not very good at separating the different parts of the job. I love the film, although I think I could have played my part better today. It was a life-changing event. I would never have worked as an actor if it wasn't for that film.

Oslo, August 31st was your second collaboration with Joachim Trier. What was the experience like, and do you plan on working together again?

Oslo, August 31st was a very intense, focused experience. I worked hard, very methodically. The key to that film for me was trying to reach certain emotional moods and places, and being able to shift fast between them. All the scenes came out of those moods. Working with Joachim is always a pleasure, for actors he is the best director on the planet. We are making a new film this fall, which will be the closing chapter in the Oslo trilogy, Reprise and Oslo, August 31st being the first two chapters.

You also play a role in the upcoming Bergman Island. Can you tell me more about this?

Bergman Island will be Mia Hansen-Løve's first English language movie. I can't tell very much about the project now, but it was shot on Fårö Island in 2018 and 2019, and it is of course closely linked to Ingmar Bergman. It was lovely working with Mia, whose previous films I admire. I am looking forward to the release of the film.

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