Eva Röse

Eva Röse is a critically acclaimed Swedish actress who has starred in over fifty feature film and TV productions and has acted in over twenty stage productions at the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm and the Stockholm City Theater. Eva Röse received a MFA from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in Stockholm in 1998. Her breakthrough came a year earlier as the female lead in Láurus Oskarsson’s TV drama “Blue Flowers of Desire.” Eva Röse is mostly celebrated for her diversity and ability to master all genres of film and theater. To mention a few, she is known for her roles in the feature films “Knopps” by Josef Fares and “Storm” by Mårlind/Stein and for her role as Niska in the TV series “Real Humans” directed by Harald Hamrell. Two of her most recent productions include the TV series “Honor” and Danis Tanović’s film, “The Postcard Killings.” Eva Röse can currently be seen in Stefan Jarl’s feature film “End of the Day” and the TV series “The Days the Flowers Bloom” and “Helt Perfekt.” Eva was awarded “Voice of the Year” in 2018 for her strong and fearless activism in the #MeToo movement and for the future of female filmmakers and actors and was a European Shooting Star in 2006.

Tara Karajica caught up with her at this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival, where was a member of the Short Competition Jury.

 

 

 

 

What made you want to become an actress?

Eva Röse: I’ve always been into storytelling – stories, fairy tales, books… I started reading when I was very young and I had my own fantasy worlds, which were like living in a parallel universe of storytelling. So I guess it wasn’t a very big step for me to choose acting as a career. But it wasn’t something that ran in my family. I was quite alone with my dreams, but I was very convinced since I was seven years old that this was what I was going to do. My parents also used to take me to the theater when I was very young, which made me realize that it was actually possible to work as an actor, to live that life.

How do you prepare for your roles? How do you choose your projects?

E.R.: I do my research and then, I let my self go… If I play a police officer or a lawyer, I study what they do and I maybe work with police officers or lawyers. And I listen to music a lot. I try to use all my senses when I prepare for a part. It’s hard to put it in words; it’s about intuition and your inner music. Sometimes, I make a choice because of a great script. Sometimes, it’s because of a great director. Sometimes, it’s because of a great co-actor or because the location is very interesting or fantastic or the adventure is bigger than the script and the director. It’s not very often that all these parts connect. You’re very lucky if everything connects, which it rarely does. You have to find an interest in some parts of filmmaking. Find your own light and follow that spark.

You have starred in theater, in film and on TV. Which medium do you prefer? Which one brings you more freedom?

E.R.: The theater brings me more freedom, definitely. The actors are the storytellers. We carry the story in  our  hands. As a  film actor, you do your part of the story, and leave most parts to the director. After my first movies,  I decided to conquer the technique of  filmmaking:  how you work with lights, the camera and the angles; how you work with the blink of an eye, with just an inhale, and all the small gestures. In the beginning, I was scared of  the technique, of standing in the wrong spot. But  it’s  like a dance. You’re dancing with the camera, with your co-actor and the light. It’s beautiful.

How much is there of you in every character you play? Do you manage to dissociate yourself from your persona in order to become someone else?

E.R.: No, no… We already have it all inside. It’s not only an illness to have multiple personalities… As an actor, you need empathy and courage. I’m not disconnecting myself from myself. It’s the opposite. I go deeper.

We are a big army of people who want to change things. An unstoppable force with both men and women.   Women are producing, writing, directing and are more invited now.

You were awarded the “Voice of the Year” Prize last year for your strong and fearless activism in the #MeToo movement and for the future of female filmmakers and actors. Can you talk about that?

E.R.: In Sweden, there was a strong movement called “Silence, Action.” started by actresses who finally had enough of  living in this patriarchy, which we were born and raised in and of this business that is full of old structures. And in the history of producing art, film or theater, it’s always been a boys’ club because men had the power. In Sweden, we try to live equally, but we are not succeeding even if we are really, really in the forefront. So we who can use our voices without being imprisoned – we have to.  Being an actor is a vulnerable profession and people can use that, especially those in power. So what we wanted to do is shine a light on this and say: “We will no longer play this game. We want equality in this industry and in this society.” We inspired sixty-four other industries to come together. Lawyers, teachers, nurses, doctors finally said: ”ENOUGH! We have to talk about this. Who’s silent in the room? Who speaks? Who’s in power? Who has the money? Whose stories do we tell?” If you don’t stand up against inequality, you’re part of the problem. This is about misusing of power and this business has a lot to work on on that front. And those who are most afraid are the ones who have the most to lose so, of course, there are many scared men out there. They don’t want us to be equal. But I believe that if we can create things together; if we give female filmmakers, producers and scriptwriters the same amount of time, space and money, it’s only going to be good for the whole industry. I would say it’s a long, long way to go.

Have you succeeded in instigating change?

E.R.: Of course! The biggest achievement is that we broke the silence. Now, when I sign a contract in Sweden, I also sign a contract on behavior on a set – what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s about sexual and gender-based oppression, about attitudes and structures, about being part of the culture in our society and on the film set and the hierarchy and to be able to actually see what’s going on and act on it! With a lot of power comes a lot of responsibility. So you have to be aware of your position of power if you are a director, a producer or a star on a show. When people are being used, scared, or neglected, then the light of the business fades away and the magic dies instead of there being more people to tell stories, to be brave, to surprise us.

How do you feel about the situation of women in film today? How is it in Sweden?

E.R.: We are a big army of people who want to change things. An unstoppable force with both men and women.   Women are producing, writing, directing and are more invited now. For example, I have been on a show that’s been running for a long time and I can say now: “If I am going to do this, I am going to have a producing credit too because I am not only the actor here.” I’ve had this experience for so many years, so I can be an executive producer and be part of the writing process. You can do that now and it’s welcome, I wouldn’t say with open arms everywhere, but there’s money in this and money talks to some… So things are happening and the biggest thing is that people understand that we can no longer be silent. The film industry is a reflection of our time, so we have to tell our stories. And we’re 50% of the population and we’re buying cinema tickets, so you do the math…

Exactly!

E.R. So, that’s what I’m fighting for! And we have to do it together. This is not a battle of the sexes, not women against men. #MeToo is a global movement for human rights!

Going into a slightly different direction, is there someone who inspires you? Do you have a favorite female filmmaker?

 E.R.: There are many… Agnieszka Holland, Dee Rees, Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Debra Granik, Ava Duverney, Susanne Bier… And I am really inspired by Isabelle Huppert. She’s been one of my favorite actresses since I was young.

Do you have a favorite role you played, one that has stayed with you and that you are proud of and of the work you’ve done with a particular character?

E.R.: As you can understand, I’ve gotten this question a hundred times!

I can imagine!

E.R.: And I could have a standard answer, but I don’t! Because I have to reflect on it every time! I’m not sure… I don’t know… I would say that I just leave them. There are some that are still with me. It’s like a love story. Then, it fades away and you can have it as a nice memory, but no, I don’t have a favorite part.

You are also a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Can you talk about that role?

E.R.: I’ve been working with them since 2007 and I have travelled the world with Unicef. My work with them is to be a witness and a part of what they do and take that information back home to Sweden and try to make people open their hearts and their wallets because, as you know, Unicef, doesn’t get any money from governments – just from fundraising and people. So I’ve been to Mauritania, Nepal and India and my task has to do with schools for girls. If you educated a girl, you educate a village.

You have The Postcard Killings, Danis Tanovic’s new film and Honor, the TV series that is coming out very soon. What else do you have in the pipeline?

E.R.: Yes, we have the gala opening for Honor next week and I am really looking forward to that! It’s already been sold to different countries and it’s a project that was born out of an idea of four actresses who wanted to work, write and produce together. It’s about four female lawyers who are fighting for justice for girls. That’s really of our time. And I will start shooting the new season of the crime series Maria Wern, where I’ve been starring as the crime inspector for ten years. And then, I have this comedy show that has just been nominated for Best Comedy Show of the Year on Friday. So from Danis’s film to this comedy drama… There’s a lot of stuff going on and that’s how I like it. Just dance!

 

 

 

This interview was conducted at the 2019 Sarajevo Film Festival.

Tara Karajica

Tara Karajica is a Belgrade-based film critic and journalist. Her writings have appeared in "Indiewire," "Screen International," "Variety," "Little White Lies" and "Film New Europe," among many other media outlets, including the European Film Academy’s online magazine, "Close-up" and Eurimages. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists as well as the recipient of the 2014 Best Critic Award at the Altcine Action! Film Festival. In September 2016, she founded "Yellow Bread," a magazine dedicated entirely to short films, ranked among the 25 Top Short Film Blogs and Websites on the Planet in 2017. In February 2018, she launched "Fade to Her," a magazine about successful women working in Film and TV and in 2019, she was a member of the Jury of the European Shooting Stars (European Film Promotion). She is currently a programmer for live action shorts at PÖFF Shorts, Head of the Short Film Program and Live Action Shorts programmer at SEEFest and Narrative Features Programmer at the Durban International Film Festival. Tara is a regular at film festivals as a film critic, moderator and/or jury member.

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