Transcript: Press Conference for Into the White at Oslo Film Festival

published March 2012
written by

Moderator: Lachlan Nieboer, Rupert Grint, Florian Lukas and David Kross and Stig Henrik Hoff.
So, good morning, everybody. Did you have a nice party last night?

Everyone: Yeah!

itw pc1Moderator: I will ask Petter: You have been waiting for this day for quite a while. If you have one word, or one message today, what would that be?

Petter Naess: Rock on. No, I’m just very happy to finally come out with this movie, this Norwegian movie in Norway, which I made for a Norwegian audience. And hopefully and luckily it will be travelling the world as well, but I wanted to… That was only one word? That’s not my strong point. No, but I wanted the movie to be a different war story in Norway, it plays in Norway, there’s a few Norwegians, but first of all it’s a new angle, a new way of portraying human beings behind the uniforms in World War 2. We have seen a few stories about our heroes, the story has been told many times, and of course it will be told again, but we will see something different. That’s about it.

Moderator: And Peter Aalbeck, you chose to come to Norway from Denmark for the first time. Why were you drawn to do this story?

Peter Aalbek: Because I have the privilege of selling the Elling movie, which proved to me that Petter Naess has the capacity of making film for an international audience and then, here we have a type of World War 2 movie where there actually was no heroes, but at least there was no villain either, so actually for once we had a story where we could reflect on wartimes, on the relationship in-between human beings that sparked through the mirror of the remote cabin in the hillside of Norway. So I thought the story was extremely exotic in a way and then placed in that – for the rest of the world – quite fantastic landscape. And everyone from the international scene that have watched the movie have said “Wow, does Norway look like that?” and I’ve said “Yes. It does, yes.”

itw pc9Moderator: Cold and freezy!

Peter Aalbek: No, beautiful! And scary.

Moderator: Florian, you play Mr. Horst Schopis, and you met him once – at least once

Peter Aalbek: Once, yeah.

Moderator: Can you describe him? What was he like?

Florian Lukas: He was a real gentleman and he was very kind to me. And he offered me… he said to me: “You can ask me everything, so please start to ask me questions whenever you want” So he was very open to everything, so he told me a lot about this time and yeah, he was a real gentleman and, you know, like a real old-fashioned officer, in a way. And he had a lot of friends here in Norway and it was great to know someone who was not some old Nazi-officer or something like that, but a very kind person. So we had a great dinner last year, and he told me a lot about the time and that helped me very much.

Moderator: And Lachlan, you play this Davenport.

itw pc5Lachlan Nieboer: Davenport

Moderator: How would you describe Davenport as a character?

Lachlan Nieboer: Not dissimilar to Schopis, I suppose. In terms of that they’re both… He perceived that Davenport was a real gentleman. And when I met Horst, I was astonished at how addressed he was, and how he was a genleman. So Davenport, I suppose, what we have to go on, on the real name he is based on, and we saw a clip of him, just walking gently down a road in Norway. And he’s very tall and saw himself as a gentleman and that’s what we have to go on. And for me, it was like he was slightly superior, or at least act like he was superior but did not really mention that, just sort of be it.

Peter Aalbek: And you mentioned that you copied a teacher from your university?

Lachlan Nieboer: That’s true.

Peter Aalbek: That’s fun to know, that you there was a teacher you used to know and then copying him now in your professional life.

Lachlan Nieboer: It’s true, I won’t mention his name.

Peter Aalbek: Oh, he’s not Norwegian!

Lachlan Nieboer: No, it’s true, he was my teacher at university and he certainly bore himself like a genleman.

Peter Aalbek: And for those of you who don’t know, Mr. Horst Schopis came to Norway for the first press conference in March last year and sad to say he passed away in August. Otherwise he would be here today.

Petter Naess: He would have been in his 100th year.

Moderator: Yes. And then I have to ask you, Rupert: What made you to want to do this gunner Smith?

Rupert Grint: I thought it’d be a great challenge and I thought that filming in Norway would be very exciting, and it would be a complete change of scenery to filming Harry Potter. After ten years of doing the same thing it was kind of, just refreshing on the mountain for three weeks. I play Smith who’s this great character who’s real force and angry and edgy and, yeah, really really fun playing him, and a great experience.

Moderator: And you look like you had a nice time on the mountain and the cabin. And David, what about you? What made you come and do this movie?

David Kross: I thought it was really interesting to get the arm chopped off. No, of course I watched Petter’s film Elling and some of his other work as well, and I really enjoyed the films and I thought it was a great story as well, and also to work in Norway, which is a really beautiful place. And also it’s a great cast, which was a really good bunch of people, and I was, yeah, that was the main thing, I think.

itw pc6Moderator: And Stig Henrik, you spent quite a few weeks together at Grotli last winter. Could you tell a story from the shooting? The most memorable moment?

Stig Henrik Hoff: The weather. The weather conditions changing all the time. There were so many things that were working against us all the time. It was so difficult to shoot in the mountains. But of course those guys know that, so when the chances. And we had bazookas with kind of smoke with four or five guys and somebody changing to the other side, and the wind machines and everything, so… But I have to say the main thing was that shooting in Norway for me which is my country, and being together with Petter who is one of the best directors that we have, and also to have this cast is… when we did the film, we all worked so close together, and we were always talking to each other even when we were off the camera. We were always going on. It was a great bunch of people, and I liked that. And also the script was fantastic.

Moderator: And then we can ask Ole Meldgaard, why did you start writing the story?

Ole Meldgaard: To show that I do now approve of war, and we wanted to show that war is absurd. And we knew that they had this way to go, then, and in the end had to make friends, and we wanted to show that they changed, or that they learnt something. And we wanted to show that war is absurd so it’s an anti-war movie. And we wanted to make it, maybe, a little bit like a theatre play, and when Strunk was shot, with that shot ringin in the mountains, so we have one shot, just one shot in this movie, so this is not a normal war movie. It’s not Platoon 2, we’re making, it’s a very low-key war-movie. We kill rabbits.

itw pc7Petter Naess: We kill rabbits.

Moderator: Anyone has a question?

Press: Petter, you mentioned that this is the film you always wanted to make. Would you still all agree with that, and what were your favourite scenes?

Petter Naess: Me?

Press: Yeah.

Petter Naess: My favourite scenes… I think they come in a very good order. They… I like the scenes, I like all of the scenes, I don’t have any favourite scenes, but it was very important for me to add a unity to the stuff, to have the drama and the seriousness, but also the humour, the absurdity of this encounter. They try to maintain their authority, they are the vain people there in their uniforms. I like to portray men in situations like that which is quite silly, so I like all the humour about it. First of all, I like the movie!

Peter Aalbek: One scene, and we have to thank the writer for doing this, is the scene where you see the two officers, each in their uniform, and then they undress. Besides the uniform, they had the same type of underwear and actually prove that, “here we are, two human beings, you know, in the same type of underwear, and now we have to take off our uniforms and we’re here”. And it’s a scene which, you know, probably looks very simple in the script, but that actually proves that mastermind behind the script here, that allows yourself to tell you such a story in such a little scene.

itw pc2Press: This if for Rupert, and how did you prepare for the role this film, like with the accent?

Rupert Grint: Yeah, it was, it was quite a weird accent. And it was an accent I wasn’t quite familiar with. I always listened to a lot of Beatles and a soap opera that was called “Brooks Hide”. But yeah, it was fun to do, I mean, the accent kind of suited that kind of crisis and that kind of character. And a lot of the times noone understood what I was saying, so yeah, it was good fun.

Press: Again a question for all actors: Can you relate to the person you were playing in any way. Short answers.

Lachlan Nieboer: To some degree, I mean, I’ve never been a soldier, and… yes, I’ll leave it at that. Yes and no. A short answer.

Rupert Grint: No, not really. I’m quite a laid-back, kind of calm person after all. And that’s not quite Smithy…

Moderator: Well, he had a woman waiting for him… What about you, Florian?

Florian Lukas: Yeah, definitely. Cause that’s so nice about acting, you know, in that moment I’m just the person I’m playing, so I don’t have to think about all the bad things in that time, and all the horror and the horrible things that have happened in this time, and just to think what the fuck the the Germans in Norway? And so, it’s still strange to be here and to play in such a story. But in the moment when I act, I can identify very strongly and I’m very connected to this character, and yes, I am of course Horst Schopis in his time, in this moment, and that’s great, yeah.

itw pc10Stig Henrik Hoff: I think that’s right fantastic thing, I mean that’s our job to be a character, and if you don’t love the character, you’re looking down on him and that never makes a good character. I mean I have to love it, or I’m not doing my job.

David Kross: Well, I think it’s difficult to imaging how it really was in war, I mean, to think “What would I do?”. But I think I understood my character, what it was like to grow up with that ideology of Nazi Germany and this is what he thought, so he got taught all about it, and this is like a brain-wash. And he really sticks to it, he sticks to it through all this horror which they experience in Norway, especially with him and his arm. So I think I can good relate to it.

Stig Henrik Hoff: And it’s all difficult for us, I mean, we now know everything about the war, we know what everybody was like, and we got the knowledge and we know who were chosen to do this or this or that. And when you’re stuck in a situation like we were, you know, you don’t know how we would be, like, we would be amateurs as they told us at the beginning. I mean, when you’re playing, you kind of know what you’re doing, but when you’re in the cabin, we’re all amateurs, what you behave like. But that’s the point, that it’s so easy to be clever in 2012, to tell how people reacted in 1940, so I think that’s a point as well. I mean, the feelings, they’re simple: Are you hungry? Simple. Are you not hungry? Simple. Are you talking too much? Simple.

itw pc3Petter Naess: That was the hardest thing for Stig. To be the big silent guy.

Moderator: So now, for the cast, we have one more question before we wrap this up, okay.

Press: I have a question for Rupert: How do you plan your ongoing career after this?

Rupert Grint: I think I still take it as it comes. It’s still kind of a strange experience since the last Harry Potter film. I’m just picking things that appeal to me and, yeah, just enjoying it. And what appeals to me about it is the great story and…

Press: Do you have like a strategy to pick roles that will make people think “He’s not Ron Weasley”?

Rupert Grint: Erm, yeah, I don’t really have it planned, it’s just… I mean, yeah, I’m maybe lookig for characters that are not wizards.

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