Actors have a protracted historical past of indulging in facet tasks: Some use their off time to write down books, whereas others even entrance rock bands. But it surely’s truthful to say that few thespians navigate a twin profession fairly like Anders Danielsen Lie, who at present stars as a lingering love curiosity in each “Bergman Island” and “The Worst Particular person within the World” — an indie-film doubleheader that prompted one critic to dub him “the artwork home’s subsequent nice ex-boyfriend” — whereas nonetheless working full-time as a physician in Oslo.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Lie, 43, advised me over a latest video chat, and he wasn’t kidding: In early January, he was named greatest supporting actor by the Nationwide Society of Movie Critics whilst he labored three days every week at a vaccination middle in Oslo and two days every week as a common practitioner. “It feels type of summary as a result of as an actor, a very powerful a part of making a film is the shoot itself,” he stated. “Then, when the movie is popping out, it’s type of a surreal expertise.”
Count on issues to get much more surreal because the acclaimed “The Worst Particular person within the World” lastly makes its method into American theaters on Feb. 4. On this romantic dramedy from the director Joachim Trier, Renate Reinsve — who received the best-actress prize for the position on the Cannes Movie Pageant — stars as Julie, a younger 20-something attempting to determine her future. For a while, she takes up with Lie’s character, Aksel, an older, charismatic comic-book artist, and adopts his settled life as her personal. However even once they break up and Julie discovers new pursuits, she finds her bond with the cocksure Aksel laborious to shake.
Lie beforehand collaborated with Trier on the well-reviewed movies “Reprise” (2008) and “Oslo, August 31” (2012), however “The Worst Particular person within the World” has proved to be one thing of a breakthrough: Already, the web has crafted video tributes to his character, and the movie has struck a chord with audiences preferring easy, human stakes to superhuman ones. “It felt like we made a really native factor from Oslo, and we have been afraid if anyone else on the earth would perceive,” Lie stated. “However individuals on the opposite facet of the planet can determine with it. That’s what’s so good about function movies, they type of deliver individuals collectively.”
Listed below are edited excerpts from our dialog.
With Aksel and Julie, it feels just like the qualities that drew them to one another ultimately drive them aside. How would you sum up their relationship?
He’s good at articulating her feelings and ideas, and that’s one thing she most likely wished at an earlier stage of their relationship, however at this level, she’s simply aggravated by it. He’s a fairly variety individual, however he’s additionally, in a refined method, attempting to dominate her through the use of language as his instrument, as a result of that’s what he’s good at.
Is Aksel a “unhealthy boyfriend,” as a latest Self-importance Truthful article asserted?
I don’t see him as a nasty boyfriend in any respect, really. She’s not unhealthy; he’s not unhealthy; they’re simply human. They’re put in conditions the place they must make laborious selections and find yourself feeling just like the worst individuals on the earth, nevertheless it’s not likely their fault. It’s life’s fault, in a method.
Within the movie, we watch Julie swipe between totally different identities, attempting on new jobs, new passions. Did you act the identical method at that age?
I personally thought that my 20s and 30s have been laborious, powerful years, as a result of I spent a lot time attempting to determine who I used to be and what to do. I nonetheless haven’t made that selection, however that doesn’t trouble me a lot anymore. I’m blissful sufficient to have two children and a spouse. Perhaps it’s so simple as that.
Once you have been youthful, did you’re feeling strain to make an final selection between appearing and drugs?
This has been my ongoing id disaster.
Perhaps that’s simply the bifurcated life you’re feeling most suited to.
It’s positively a bifurcated life, and generally it appears like an id disaster as a result of it’s simply lots of hustle making the calendar work out. It’s laborious to mix these two occupations, and generally I additionally surprise a little bit bit who I’m. I’m attempting to suppose that I’m one thing deeper than that: I’m not the physician or the actor, I’m another person, and these are simply roles that I am going into.
Your mom is an actress. Did that have an effect on the way in which you regard an actor’s life?
My mom just isn’t the standard actress — she’s not a diva or something like that. She’s a really bizarre individual, and I believe it’s vital to have a foot in actuality if you wish to painting individuals onscreen with confidence and credibility. However I’ve grown up seeing how it’s to be an actress and the way it’s to be a physician, and ended up being each! I most likely ought to go into psychoanalysis or one thing.
Your father was a physician. That just about cut up you proper down the center, doesn’t it?
Precisely. Perhaps it’s an inheritable illness.
Does one profession inform the opposite?
Working as an actor has improved my communication abilities as a physician as a result of appearing is a lot about listening to the opposite actors and attempting to ascertain good communication, usually with individuals that you simply don’t know very nicely, and that jogs my memory a little bit little bit of working as a physician. I meet individuals, usually for the primary time, and so they current a really non-public drawback to me, and I’ve to get the appropriate data to assist them. It’s a really delicate, laborious communication job, really.
You made your movie debut if you have been 11 in a movie referred to as “Herman.” How did that come about?
My mom had labored with the director, so she knew he was looking for a boy my age, and he or she requested if I used to be fascinated by doing an audition. I didn’t actually know what I had signed up for — I used to be 10 years outdated, and it felt like only a recreation that we have been enjoying. I keep in mind when the director wished me to do the half, he got here to our home with flowers and stated, “Congratulations,” and I used to be frightened as a result of I spotted, “Now I actually must play that position and ship.” For the primary time, I felt this anxiousness of not doing an excellent job, the very same feeling I can get now in entrance of a shoot that basically issues to me. I might be terrified of not rising to the event.
After that movie, you didn’t work once more as an actor for 16 years.
“Herman” was an amazing expertise. I felt like I used to be enjoying with explosives. I used to be coping with feelings and manipulating my psyche in a method that was type of scary.
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Do you suppose that sense of being overwhelmed by it as a toddler could inform your choice to guide this bifurcated life? Appearing can by no means fully overwhelm you now since you even have a wholly totally different profession occurring on the similar time.
You ought to be an analyst. I believe you’re onto one thing right here as a result of I’ve all the time felt that it wouldn’t be good for me to work full time as an actor, particularly when the components are actually darkish and emotional. I’ve usually thought that I’ve to discover a psychologically sustainable method of working as an actor. I don’t know if I’m there but, however I’m beginning to see how I can defend myself.
It’s attention-grabbing that you simply rejected it for thus lengthy, till Joachim Trier requested you to audition for “Reprise.” Had that not occurred, do you suppose you ever would have returned to appearing?
After I was requested to audition for Joachim’s first movie, I had no plans of doing any appearing — I had one yr left in med college and had different plans. However I’ve, many occasions, requested myself why I preserve doing this, as a result of I’m very neurotic as an individual and if I carry out onstage I get very, very nervous. It prices me lots to do that, and I usually ask, “Why do you do it if it’s so laborious?”
So why do you?
I believe the method of making a fiction and the transgressive expertise of coming into that fictional character is one thing that fascinates me. It’s like you’re discovering and amplifying potentials in your self that you simply’re most likely not capable of discover in actual life.
Have you ever ever executed that “come out to L.A., meet the Hollywood individuals” factor, or do you continue to preserve all that at arm’s size?
I’ve been to L.A. many occasions, however I don’t have naïve illusions about what it’s wish to be a movie actor. It’s vital for me to be on this business for the appropriate causes. I positively have ambitions, however I hope they’re extra creative ambitions and never profession ambitions.
I believe these are good ambitions to have. I’ve seen European actors who’ve an enormous second like yours, and so they money in shortly to play the unhealthy man in an American comic-book film.
Perhaps it might be nice enjoyable to play that character! However I attempt to have a protracted perspective. I wish to work with this for a very long time, and I don’t wish to be somebody who pops up one yr and then you definately by no means hear about that actor once more. I wish to construct a profession over time.
After all the pieces that’s occurred this previous yr, have you ever felt extra drawn to appearing or drugs?
In a super world, I wish to proceed doing each. Over the last 5 years or so, I believe I’ve managed to discover a steadiness that’s significant and that doesn’t exhaust me an excessive amount of. However I don’t know. I preserve suspending that closing selection.
If there hasn’t been a closing selection by now, possibly there’ll by no means be one.
Chances are you’ll be proper. We’ll see.