50 Nordic Film Days - Lubeck, Germany - November 2010

Q: What have you done during the past year?

SS: This year I have filmed Kenneth Branagh's "Thor" followed by two to three months off. Then I made Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia". That lasted about six weeks. Right now I am filming "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", directed by David Fincher. That will take 35 days so I still have enough time for my private life.

Q: You've been involved in very different films - action films, historical dramas, thrillers, even a musical. Do you have a favorite genre?

SS:  I don't have a favorite genre. I try very consciously to do many different genres so it remains interesting to me.

Q: What was the most challenging role of your career? Which film is your favorite?

SS: I can't answer that simply. There are about ten films, which I particularly like. None of them are absolutely perfect but there are some characters that are remembered in the long term. Hans Petter Moland has given me three of the best roles of my life - the really evil guy in "Zero Kelvin", the alcohol-dependent father in "Aberdeen" and the role in "A Somwhat Gentle Man". They were all close to my heart. Well, so was the character in "A Simple-Minded Murderer" for which I received the Berlin prize in 1982. There are also other movies that I like. "Breaking the Waves", for example, which I'm proud of. Also, "Good Will Hunting", "Insomnia" and "Good Evening, Mr. Wallenberg". Most of the films that I look back to proudly are European productions. The more money involved, the less brave the filmmaker. The more money put into a project, the more input from the financers.

Q: What do you think is the difference between a Hollywood production and Scandinavian films?

SS: The main difference is obviously due to the different directors. If a movie has a budget of 150 million dollars, then the director has not much to say, such as David Fincher. They must pay attention to th extreme cost of the film. In European films with a small budget, a director can do much more as an independent designer of the film work. He is responsible for everything and can make the movie he wants. He can be much more daring, take more risks and make more sophisticated movies.

Q: In this new film by Hans Petter Moland, you play a murderer who is released from prison after 12 years. How did you prepare for this role?

SS: Well, you don't have to commit a murder or have been in jail to play such a role (smiling). When I play a baker, I don't need a year of working as a baker. It is much more in the representation of the character of these people. That's the interesting thing.

Q: Is there perhaps a character in a novel or a specific person you would to to play?

SS: As a child, I read "Oliver Twist" and wanted to play him. I guess I'm too old for that now (laughing).

Q: Is there a certain type of character who you would never play?

SS: Yes. There are films in which I would never act, but in terms of roles, I am interested in everything that is human.

Q: What is your strength in acting? What do you value most?

SS: To be on time. I'm really good (smiling). I think that's why I get the special rates. And I do not cost much (laughing).

Q: Your current project is "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". You will embody a sadistic killer. How do you prepare for such a role?

SS: I think sadistic killers are not so different from everyone else. Of course, he is a psychopath. But psychopaths are good at hiding what they really are. It's all about acting.

Q: Some actors do not like to watch movies. Do you? And if so, which ones?

SS: I like watching independent films. "The White Ribbon", for instance. That's one of my favorite films. I do not look to explosions and car crashes do not thrill me. I do better with what happens to people rather than what happens with cars.