ELSA: Peter, you must drown in offers of meaty roles in Scandinavian thrillers, and could take your pick - so what was it about False Trail that won you over?
PETER: It was a great follow up to The Hunters (Jägarna). The director Kjell Sundvall is an old friend. Rolf Lassgård (as Erik Bäckström) the best there is in Sweden and most of all - it was a darn great script!
ELSA: Europe and especially Britain cannot get enough of Nordic Film Noir - are you a fan? If so, do you have a theory on its box office kerching and popularity!
PETER: 'Kerching' is a new word for me! Scandinavia has always had a thriving movie scene. Both exotic and mysterious, it comes and goes in waves, and the flavour of the month. But being born in Sweden makes me proud that the tradition from the birth of Hollywood is still going strong.
ELSA: Torsten is riveting because he is uncomfortable to watch and you never quite know what he'll do next. What makes Torsten tick? Does he have a conscience?
PETER: Yes, of course he has. I think he has been good to his stepson for many years. But by the time we enter the movie Torsten has gotten himself into so much trouble on a personal level. He has too much on his plate for just one man, and somehow he believes that he stands over and above all the others around him, which is hubris, pride and arrogance.
ELSA: Was Torsten's twisted persona/character tricky to create, or did he come easily to you?
PETER: These types of characters (baddies) are always fun to do, because they allow you to behave in ways you would never (hopefully) do in real life! It's like being a kid and cutting into all the lines at Disneyland. To be honest, on stage and on screen it's really boring playing the good guy!
ELSA: False Trail's landscape is so powerful that it is almost a character in its own right! Did you relish shooting 1,000km north of Stockholm in Överkalix?
PETER: Yep, my old home turf! It has its own special Swedish accent. It has unique locals who are stubborn and self-sufficient. Oh, and it has THE best food in the world...all fresh from Swedish forests and lakes.
ELSA: How did you cope gutting a still warm deer (älg, rådjur) that Rolf had just shot in the forest scene - because some 'townies' found that quite difficult to watch!
PETER: Done it before! Unfortunately, they cut the end of that scene because all hunters carry a ladle on their belt that can be used for water, coffee, beer, vodka.
Where I grew up it was a tradition for the guy who shot the moose or deer to take the first shot of fresh blood and drink it in one go. I did so for three takes: the first take was horrible and I nearly threw up. But the second and third takes went down fine. When we showed that scene to a film test audience, it was just a little too much for them! I was sorry to see that scene cut and think it was a mistake - because it says a lot about what kind of man Torsten is!
ELSA: For me, one of the highlights of False Trail is you and Rolf Lassgård squaring off on screen - circling each other like two great Titans. It's cinematic gold and a treat to witness...you share super-chemistry, right?
PETER: I am madly in love with him! He is pure talent, and he is also an absolute joy to sit and talk with in between takes. Rolf is 100% master of his craft.
ELSA: And for once Peter, you acted alongside someone just a little bit taller than you are!
PETER: No…Rolf came straight from the musical La Cage Aux Folles in which he had been wearing high heels for a year...that's why! If you look again, you can see how he sometimes has a very feminine way with his arms and hands too.
ELSA: Some of the False Trail locals depicted come across as rednecks - it almost felt like we were visiting a smalltown American backwater, do you agree?
PETER: It is a backwater: it's northern Sweden where Russia, Norway and Finland meet. There are no border patrols anymore. No police. People take care of their own problems...in a good way, most of the time. It really is the Wild Wild West up there!
ELSA: How did 11 years at Dramaten, Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern (Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theatre) shape the actor and director you are today?
PETER: To be on stage performing every night in front of a paying audience is invaluable. 4 years of drama school without having to wait tables, (you get a grant); gives you performing tools and skills that you will never lose. The theatre is a solid platform on which to stand. It was a gift to be young, 20 and working with older generations. Just watching them, learning from them, and developing yourself can only be done at such a place as a National Theatre. Look what magic London's Royal National Theatre delivers. I love that place!
ELSA: I vividly recall your assured London production of Strindberg's The Dance of Death at the Almeida Theatre in 1995, (which co-incidentally, I attended with your fellow Dramaten' actor Ralf Tjernlund). Are you keen to direct again?
PETER: I would love to direct again, but so far I've been lucky being busy with my acting. I was born a director. I will die a director. In between the two - I act!
ELSA: What do you miss about Sweden when you are in America?
PETER: Nothing and everything!
ELSA: What do you miss about America when you are in Sweden?
PETER: Nothing and everything!
ELSA: Your band 'Blonde From Fargo' would sell out in minutes and go down a storm in England, do you plan to tour, and can we look forward to another album?
PETER: Yes...we will tour this Summer believe it or not, unless some great movie shows up!
Interview by Elsa O'Toole
About the film
The distributors of The Killing and The Bridge, Arrow Films, announce the release of False Trail on DVD and Blu-ray, available to buy from 28th January 2013.
From Director Kjell Sundvall and the producer of The Hypnotist Peter Possne, with the star of Wallander, Rolf Lassgård, False Trail is the latest Nordic Noir thriller to hit the big screen in the UK. Set in an isolated town in the frozen wastelands of northern Sweden, False Trail is a dark, twisted murder investigation that devastates a local community.
It’s been fifteen years since Erik (LASSGÅRD) was forced to leave the Norrland Police Department. Since then he has become the National Murder Commission’s best interrogator. When Erik’s boss orders him back to his home town to solve a brutal murder, he hesitantly returns as the thought of going back stirs up unpleasant memories. What at first appears to be a simple murder soon proves to be something much more complicated, as Erik finds himself with a new nemesis, Torsten (STORMARE), to contend with and events take a very sinister turn.
False Trail, (original title Jägarna 2), sequel to The Hunters (Jägarna), stars Rolf Lassgård (Wallander) as Erik Bäckström, Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) as Torsten, Annika Nordin as Karin and Kim Tjernstrom as Peter. Directed by Kjell Sundvall (Jägarna), written by Björn Carlström and Stefan Thunberg and produced by Björn Carlström, Per Janérus and Peter Possne (The Hypnotist).