By Mitchell Jordan
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Swedish actor Jakob Hultcrantz Hansson has made a considerably name for himself with his regular roles in crime TV shows.
Most notable of all is his latest role in Midnight Sun, an eight-part crime series about a series of grisly murders taking place in Sweden’s remote north. Here, Jakob plays the tough-as-nails Thorndahl, a local cop you definitely wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of.
But as it turns out it was also Jakob who was responsible for softening up the gruff law enforcer, too. Jakob recently took some time out to speak with Scandinavia On My Mind about the success of Midnight Sun, and how he first caught the acting bug.
Jakob2

In Stockholm. (Photo by Baldur Bragasson)

How did you first start acting, and why?
I was close to my emotions as a child. All emotions. On the one hand I was small and shy and on the other hand, a storm, going berserk and a class clown. For me, acting boils down to playing. But one has to play for real. Acting is neither easier nor more difficult than that.
You recently played the policeman, Thorndahl, in Midnight Sun, a crime thriller set in the remote town of Kiruna, Sweden. How would you describe the character of Thorndal, and what did you enjoy most about playing him?
Thorndahl is a tough guy. “He is as hard as the rocks surrounding him” were the words used in the role description, but I felt it was important to find a counterbalance. Men with a fragile inside need to build solid walls. I wanted something soft hidden inside him. I’m so grateful that the directors Björn Stein and Måns Mårlind felt the same way. They also wanted a complex character in Thorndahl.

 

Midnight Sun continues on the popularity of Nordic Noir TV. You have also starred in other crime series set in Scandinavia, such as Mattemorden and Rebecka Martinsson. Do you personally enjoy Nordic Noir? Why do you think the rest of the world enjoys watching Scandinavian crime so much?
I like the ordinary tone that you often find in the genre. We have a long tradition of crime in Scandinavia. The things you work a lot on you will get good at. I’d love to do other genres as well, though. I wouldn’t mind wielding a sword every now and then.
Midnight Sun also presents a rather critical look at Sweden in terms of the struggles faced by its indigenous Sami people. How did you feel about this?
Nothing can justify the abuse the Sami people were subjected to. Many still carry the wounds. They have parents and grandparents who have been directly exposed to degrading treatment and experiments. They have been deprived of their language, their traditions, their culture. For that we all should be crying. And we should learn from it. 
 I would recommend everyone also see the award-winning drama, Sami Blood. It’s a wonderful, poignant film that provides a deep understanding of how oppression has inflicted a painful wound that may never go away. 
Midnight Sun is a thriller that raises questions about cultural differences, prejudice and tolerance. The series started lively discussions at every lunch table when it aired in Sweden. I am grateful and proud to be part of a production that is so elaborate.


My Scandinavia: Jakob’s five favourite places
 
Fryksdalen, Värmland
This is where I live with my family. I love to go for a night swim on a warm, late summer night in our own lake.
Fryksdalen

Fryksdalen, Värmland (photo courtesy of Jakob Hultcrantz Hansson)

 
Riksgränsen, Sweden
It’s hard to beat when it comes to downhill skiing. Less crowded, lots of snow and close to nature.
 
Ivar Lo Johanssons park, Stockholm, Sweden. 
Great views over the city of Stockholm, close to pubs and restaurants but still a hiding place. There are other places as well that I just cannot give away. 
 
Geirangerfjord, Norway
Breathtaking nature and views.
Geiranger, Norway. (Photo CH - Visitnorway.com)

Geiranger, Norway. (Photo CH – Visitnorway.com)

 
The Alma löv Museum of Unexp. Art, Värmland, Sweden
This is a wonderful, tucked-away little museum in the countryside. You have not seen anything like it. I go there on average once a week during the summer. Cannot get enough.
More than just a museum. (Photo courtesy Alma löv Museum of Unexp. Art)

More than just a museum. (Photo courtesy Alma löv Museum of Unexp. Art)

About the Author

The boy with the thorn in his side. Still looking for the light that never goes out.

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