In 2019 there was one movie that everyone in the horror community (and beyond) was talking about – Ari Aster’s follow up to Hereditary: Midsommar.
Ari’s second directorial piece takes you on a journey that is twisted, disturbing and at points feels completely baffling – a trademark Ari is becoming known for. The film is based around Midsummer time in Sweden, a place held fondly in Nordic Watchlist’s heart, so a film that combines Sweden and horror was always going to be high on Alex’s watch list!
We have been lucky enough to speak with one of the stars from the film, Swedish actor Vilhelm Blomgren. Vilhelm played the Swedish friend who you could say is kind of responsible for the group experiencing all the events that followed…As well as his role in Midsommar, we speak to him about one of our favourite cities in Sweden, other projects he’s been involved in, and what Sweden is really like during Midsummer festival…
WARNING: Interview contains Midsommar spoilers.
Nice to ‘meet’ you Vilhelm! We see that you spent time studying in Göteborg, what do think of the city and West Sweden in general?
Yes, I did my acting training in Gothenburg and to be honest I didn’t get any feeling of the city until I worked there a year after my graduation. During my three years of study I just went from my apartment to the university and then home again. The school took most of my time and energy. But then I worked in the city at the Gothenburg opera house where I played the part of Claude in my favorite musical, Hair. I really appreciate Gothenburg and everything that it has to offer. A very large archipelago, the city is is very tiny so you get a sense out of it fast and you can walk everywhere, yet it is a ”big city”. A very pleasant combination.
Have you got any other favourite spots in Sweden or elsewhere in the world?
I grew up on an island in the Baltic sea called Gotland so that place has a very special place in my heart. I have to mention an island out of the Greek mainland called Hydra. A beautiful place with approximately 2000 people on it. Wonderful view, beautiful buildings and amazing food.
You starred in HBO Nordic’s first original series Gösta – are there plans to return to do a second season, have you anything else coming up?
Gösta was probably the best work-related experience in my life. We were a small group of people that just had so much fun and did this special TV series about these very unique characters. We lived in small cabins in the forest and had breakfast, lunch and dinner together for three months. Only wonderful people and the most inspiring work method. Complete trust from the director and the co-actors.
From what I know there is no plans to do a second season, unfortunately. But you never know!?
Sometime during 2020 you can see me pop up in the movie ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’. A small part but a fun character.
I just made a short movie last week that I think is going to be very beautiful.
How did your casting come about with Ari Aster, and what was it like working with him and the cast?
I remember that the instructions I got from the casting director was to record myself walking in the woods, witch I thought was a bit strange. But I did that. The guy who helped me with my self-tape was the guy who played my father in Gösta and he couldn’t pronounce the word ”anthropology” so after a lot of takes I sent in the version where he was closest to the correct pronunciation – ”antrollopghy”… But that did not bother Ari obviously. Then it went pretty quick. I got the part a few weeks later and that was like a month from when the shoot was about to start.
Ari is a brilliant director and has every little moment already figured out in his head.
I was very impressed by his eye for the visuals and that was of course also because of Pawel Pogorzelski´s extraordinary cinematography.
The cast was wonderful. I new some of the swedes already and it was nice to have all of them there. And the international cast like Florence, Will, William, Ellora, Archie and Jack was so nice. We had dinner almost everyday and hung out doing escape room every weekend.
Watching Florence Pugh work was mesmerizing. She is so talented and it was inspiring to see her work moral and kindness towards everyone on set.
There are discussion groups on Reddit and in other parts of the internet about your character, Pelle, debating whether he was good or bad – whats your thoughts on the character?
I have seen some of those discussions and I absolutely love them. I mean in one end there is one crowd who loves Pelle and thinks that he is the best boyfriend in the world and that Christian got what he deserved. And then there is always someone that makes a comment like ”What are you guys talking about? Pelle is not meant to be a good character”. In my opinion Pelle is truly a good and kind person. Even though his intentions are to let all of his friends die, and he is of course aware that they don’t want to die, but he has this view of life that is above life and death. His view of death is that it it a great honor. To be able to experience death and everything that is death is a privilege that not everyone gets to experience, until they are 72 obviously, and they jump from the cliff…
Viewers who haven’t experienced Midsummer in Sweden may be a little scared by the films portrayal – ease their minds by telling us what it is really like in Sweden during Midsummer?!
I´m sorry, Sweden is exactly like it is portrayed in Midsommar. You are all very welcome!
What have you been listening to, reading, and watching recently? Any recommendations?
I´m always watching The Office US. I’m a real nerd. The best gift I got for Christmas last year was a t-shirt that said ”Scott – Schrute 2020”. My Instagram feed is like 50% the Office memes.
Also the final season of Homeland is very good. I watched a series on Netflix called Stranger. I liked it. The other day I saw The escape from New York for the first time. It was really bad. The only thing I liked was the sound when they were hitting each other. That was fun!
I´m currently listening a lot to Maggie Rogers! I really like her voice. I have also been listening through Jason Robert Browns material. I love his musical arrangements.
Finally, what is your tip of the day?
Yesterday I had an afterwork via video chat. That was really nice. It was me and two friends and we all prepared a quiz of around 5 questions. I love quiz! So my tip of the day is to make a quiz and call your friends.
Some fascinating insight into the movie there, and we also loved learning more about Vilhelm himself. A huge thank you to Vilhelm for the interview (you can follow him on Instagram here @vilhelmblomgren) we can’t wait to see what he gets up to next!