An Interview with Lotte Munk
Lotte Munk is an actor known for The Idiots, The Bridge and The Killing. I spoke with Lotte about training at the Drama School at Aarhus Theatre, working with Lars Von Trier, portraying Caroline in The Bridge, and her upcoming projects.
You trained at the Drama School at Aarhus Theatre. Could you tell me more about this?
It was training that was mostly focused on working on the stage, as it was closely connected to Aarhus theatre, and not much film-shooting going on in Aarhus (that has changed, I believe) at the time. Not only the physical location, but also the teachers/instructors background. We were very few students, only 6 persons per class, so we got to know each other quite well- we had a lot of fun and a lot of fights also, personally I found it was very developing in many ways.
Who are your acting heroes/inspirations?
I don’t have any particular hero or heroines, but I very often find many of my colleagues inspiring. The first person I think about is Mads Mikkelsen, he also trained at the same school as myself in Aarhus. He is a fantastic actor and a very kind person, too. The Swedish actresses Lisa Carlehed and Sofia Helin are some of the women I find both very strong and vulnerable in their expression. But I can be inspired every time I meet great acting anywhere, as long as is truthful.
How did you land the role of Britta in The Idiots?
I was cast by Rie Hedegaard. And together with a whole bunch of young actors we were asked to improvise with a teacher from the Drama School of Odense in a gym for many hours. Ha-ha, it was quite chaotic, actually. We were asked to do a lot of different simple drama tasks, in order to see how we reacted to one another. It was a great way to be cast, I think. Because after some time, it was a lot easier to relax and just be in the moment, not worrying so much about self-consciousness. Retrospectively, one could say it was a kind of experiment. Survival of the fittest, maybe…
What was the process like working with Lars von Trier?
I first met him at his house before we started shooting, he invited all of us home for dinner in order for us to get to know one another a little bit better. It was nice just to meet informally and since the role of Britta was not part of “the gang of idiots” it was a help to me afterwards on the days of shooting to know the background and to have met the other actors and himself, of course. So, on the first day of shooting, when I started out playing, I remember he replied; “If you can turn it down by 90 % it will be fine, -meaning don’t play so intense, so loud, so theatrical” …All right, okay “I get your point “, and so I tried to “keep it down”, so to speak.
And he was very demanding in terms of being truthful, wanting the actors to deliver truthfully. It was blood, sweat and tears on the set, the whole way round.
What were the challenges you faced working on a film within the Dogme 95 movement?
Well, since I was not a part of the gang of Idiots, I can´t say I faced any real challenges I couldn´t overcome. I only had 2 days of shooting and it was a totally new and very intense experience for me; I was very young and just finished the Drama School out on my first film-shoot ever. I had no real experience with the film-media yet and I guess I was very naive and pure-hearted. I grew up in the countryside and I remember Lars said to me: “You are the inner-missionary part of the story!” Meaning I represented the evangelical branch of the church of Denmark. These religious people are very strict in their lifestyle, no dancing or singing happy songs. This gave me an indication of which quality I could bring on to the role of the sister, Britta. It was very far from my own private upbringing, but even though something I could relate to.
Are there any particular directors you'd like to collaborate with?
I took the courage to experience the movie Held for Ransom the other day directed by Niels Arden Oplev. I was deeply moved by the story and the balance of fear and hope and the love for humanity. I really admire the ability to tell this important story so forcefully. I also really like his movie Drømmen. So, he is definitely one of the directors I´d like to collaborate with.
Could you tell me more about your role as Caroline in The Bridge/Broen? What was the experience like working on the show?
Caroline was a character who was very loyal to both her husband and sister and was deluded by both of them. As it turned out, that they were having an affair. She loved them both and when the truth was revealed, she had to leave both of them and go on alone. A cruel story but also a new beginning for her. I had just been going through a painful divorce myself a few years before, so it was releasing in a way, to get to play this story, even though my own private divorce was very different to Caroline´s.
For me as an actor it was a great experience to work with all the colleagues involved. The director Henrik Georgsson gave me a lot of trust to find my own expression, and rehearsal-time also for the more difficult scenes. For example were we called in the day before shooting in to rehearse the intimate scene with Claes Bang. This was a luxury to me and made me feel a lot more secure and relaxed on the day of shooting.
Are you currently working on any projects?
It has been a time influenced very much by Covid 19 for me the past couple of months, meaning a lot of cancellations. But there will be new jobs coming up this spring that I look forward to. I work ongoing with communication within the health care workers, such as doctors and nurses for example. I train them to be able to be more conscious about how they communicate with people in crises. I find it very meaningful to use my craft as an actor in this way, when I can help others.
I also played in a couple of short-films in November ´21, great scripts with talented young students from Copenhagen Film and photo-school and University of CPH, so I´m excited to see the outcome of these productions once they are finished soon, I hope.
What are you watching/reading at the moment?
I just finished watching A Very British Scandal with Claire Foy and Paul Bettany, very entertaining and well produced, I think. It´s fantastic to observe how the women have struggled to liberate themselves through decades in the western world. It is a struggle other women are now fighting in other parts of the world right now. I am not reading a book at the moment, but the most recently read was PESTEN (The plague) by Hanne-Vibeke Holst. Her books are mainly about modern women facing both new options and old problems, and have been translated to several languages The story PESTEN is very similar to what the world is going through at the moment concerning Covid and written in 2017 it was just ahead of time.
Finally, I want to say thanks for the opportunity to participate in this interview.
Take care over there in the British islands 😉 or should I say Western Islands…?