Interview with Stig Henrik Hoff

published 17 January 2012
written by Majbritt

The Norwegian actor Stig Henrik Hoff who plays Wolfgang Strunk in the new film Into the White by Petter Næss was gracious enough to sit down and answer some questions from the staff. He is known to be a man with a playful and light-hearted personality, and this is definitely the Stig who we heard from last night. You can read all about his experience filming Into the White in Norway’s extreme weather conditions, what he thought of Rupert Grint‘s skiing abilities and how he felt about the character Strunk. What made you decide to do this film – was there anything particular that attracted you to the project?
STIG: The reason I joined the film was first of all the director, Petter Næss! Fantastic director! Second reason was the opportunity to play a German Pilot! Third, it’s a good story!

Petter Næss and Stig Henrik Hoff. Picture taken by Heiko Jungo ( What was it like to be a part of such a mixed international cast and crew? Were there any disadvantages or only advantages?
STIG: So cool to be part of the cast, and that we all are stuck in the cabin, makes a good ensemble, as working in the theater! Of course it was a bit frustration around language, but I was the lucky one, understood all languages! Have you ever worked under such extreme conditions before? And would you do it again? (Petter Næss mentioned that you Norwegians find this stuff really cool).
STIG: I love Norway!! If you don´t love the weather in Norway, you have to move!!
I still live here, and I love the winter and the cold! I´ve shot several films outside in the cold, and honestly this was cozy compared with shooting, in just the shirt, in minus 47 in Kirkenes, North of Norway! I´ll do it anytime!! What was your favourite scene to shoot?
STIG: Skiing and hunting with Rupert was fun !! Did you know about your fellow ’comrades’ before working on the film? Did you know about their previous work and what they would bring to the set?
STIG: Actually I didn’t know anyone else than Rupert from his films. Didn’t have any expectations! I usually don’t! Did any of the other ’comrades’ surprise you in terms of talent, personality etc.? Did you stay in touch with anyone?
STIG: All the actors in Into The White have strong personalities, and are very good actors! We had a great time shooting, a lot of fun and laughs, and Rupert impressed me! Young guy, dead on, always dead on, well prepared and funny, generous, without any moviestar-shit, such a likeable person. Lachlan and I are in touch, he was in Oslo last week to promote the film, and I had a sightseeing with him, showing him all the tourist-things and nightlife in Oslo! Great fun!! In an interview you talked about seeing just how popular Rupert was while filming in Sweden. What was it like to see this craze that surrounds him?
STIG: For me it was crazy to see how much Rupert means for the young ones around the world… Never experienced fans like that!! 300 persons or more outside the hotel…Wow!! Very happy that I could walk around in Sweden without anyone noticing… Again Rupert is very friendly and takes time to talk to a lot of them, taking pictures … etc. Impressive!! When we met up with Petter Næss, he mentioned that your character develops a special kind of friendship, a kind of bromance, with Rupert Grint’s character – how was it to work closely with an actor from a different generation and background?
STIG: To work with Rupert have been a pleasure! His character opens up some closed doors during the film… When it comes to age, I never think of that as a problem, I have worked with a lot of youth, and kids, and grown up´s and dogs ….and as an actor its fantastic to cross generations!! It’s all about energy! Rupert got energy! Luckily!! Were there any funny or especially memorable moments while filming?
STIG: It was sooooooo funny to go skiing with Rupert!! He is a baaad skier!! I’ll never forget how much he laughed while we were shooting!!

Stig Henrik Hoff and Rupert Grint skiing in Into the White. Picture by Daniel Voldheim. What was the best thing you experienced while making Into the White – and the worst?
STIG: Rupert’s laugh was the funniest!! The food was shit!! It was fun to speak German, and English with German accent. My best moment, was the only day I was off shooting, and I ” stole ” a snowmobile and drove off into the white wilderness, with loud music in my ears! How did Petter Næss describe the charcter Strunk to you in the beginning?
STIG: Petter told me this about Wolfgang Strunk: A nonspoken giant, with a secret, who went into the army as an escape from his family business, and all of a sudden feels that he is wanted, and love to be in the wilderness and being stuck with the guys in the cabin! What was the most challenging thing about playing the character Strunk?
STIG: The most difficult part for me being Strunk, was to be silent! I love to talk bullshit ! In the clips we saw at Stockholm Film Festival, as well in the trailer, Strunk seems like a very steadfast and introverted man. Petter Næss described him as “a big brute”. How would you best describe him?
STIG: Yeah… you will find him!! Seeing as Strunk’s ideology is far away from today’s norms, and especially the Scandinavian values: is it more enriching and ’fun’ to work with a role like that?
STIG: It’s a fantastic character to play! Soo far away from who I am, and at the same time so close to me… Have you ever tried working with/on a foreign language before? In what way did the German language challenge you? Did it feel like a barrier in terms of your acting?
STIG: I shot a movie called “Capo Nord” in 2000, an Italian movie, where I spoke Italian, and had a monologue for seven minutes, in Italian!! It’s fantastic to speak another language, it’s music !! Sometimes of course, you miss words you are familiar with in your own language, and to improvise in German is very difficult. Then I make some sounds, that might fit in, while I hope I’m on the right track! We’ve talked with Florian Lukas earlier, who mentioned that he and David Kross were helping out with the German language. In what way could they be of assistance?
STIG: Florian and David helped me out on each line I said in German, and also the most difficult part; English with German accent!! It was great having them around, and of course they helped me to sound as German as possible… We visited Grotli earlier in the summer 2011, and the receptionist mentioned that she hadnt been able to recognise you after your make-over as Strunk. How did you feel about this ‘look’? Is it something we will see in the future?
STIG: Yeah, it was very different from all characters I have done earlier…but perfect for the movie! No, I am not comfortable beeing unshaved, with no hair…. but time will show…

Stig Henrik Hoff as Strunk. Picture by Daniel Voldheim. Describe the whole Into the White experience with one word.
STIG: Tight!

A massive thank you to Stig for taking the time to answer our questions! You truly are the coolest guy, mr. Hoff!

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