Happy Constitution Day to Norway! Being ‘Nordophiles’ (A person who loves all things Nordic) we managed to get our latest Nordic fix by digging deep into BBC iPlayer and unearthing the gem that is TWIN – a new NRK series available now.
I’ve been travelling to the Nordic regions for 10 years and it was really nice to see one of my favourite places in Norway featured in the show. Especially during this current state of lockdown, it was wonderful to see the incredible scenery of the Lofoten Islands which brought back fond memories and was igniting my wanderlust once more! Aside from the stunning scenery, the show has many other things to love about it and reasons to watch; find out here what we loved, with exclusive insights from one of the actors and the music composer from the show.
Back in November 2018 when I was on a trip to the Lofoten islands, I had asked to make a detour to Unstad Beach as I heard it was an absolutely stunning area to visit. Light wasn’t on our side but we managed to get there just as a storm cleared and we managed to get the last bit of light. The surf was looking perfect and as we strolled along the beach we met some surfers who had travelled there from as far away as Hawaii and France!
This beach is featured in Twin, where the character Eric lives and surfs, and is real and well-known in the Lofoten islands. It attracts surfers from around the world and there is also (a couple of times briefly glimpsed) the Unstad Arctic Surf centre were you can hire gear, book lessons, or eat – and the food is amazing there!
Gunnar Eiriksson’s character Frank
Watching the series you would not have guessed that this was the actor’s first TV series. Frank’s character is so key to the series as he slowly begins to unravel the mystery that has occurred with his good friend Eric. His character, in a way, reminded us of Frances McDormand’s Marge in the famous Coen Brother’s movie Fargo – there is this innocence to him where he is simply only trying to help and be the good cop amongst the odds being stacked against him trying to do his job. Gunnar has previously been on stage with a number of plays (including a theatrical version of Robin Hood) – his debut on our TV screens shows he is a talented guy and we look forward to what he does next.
It is likely the last time you saw the 6ft ginger-bearded Norwegian he was fighting for his life in Game of Thrones. If you never followed it then you might recognise him from Fast & Furious 8, The Last King, or his earlier work in the brilliant Force Majeure and In Order of Disappearance (two Scandinavian movies we love)! Kristofer is one of those fascinating actors who does so much with his face – the director of Force Majeure recently said in a Q&A about the movie how the actor can emit so many emotions without saying a word. In Twin this is very much on show as his character is so quiet – plus he is playing two versions of himself!
His fellow cast member Gunnar Eiriksson (who plays Frank) had this to say about working with Kristofer:
I actually had my professional theatre debut with Kristofer Hivju! This was before HE started slaying white walkers and staring at strong, beautiful women. And the beautiful thing is how he hasn’t changed a bit! He is still this curious actor, always coming up with ideas and always listening to others suggestions. He is like a child in play while searching, and then extremely professional when we start rolling. He is just a lot of fun, just as you would imagine!
Composer Martin Horntveth’s Score
The score for the show works so perfectly for the characters and the imposing landscape that linger around them. As a stand-alone piece the soundtrack is rather beautiful and certainly worth a revisit and listen once you have seen the show. We spoke to Martin about his approach to putting the score together:
In the tv series TWIN I wanted to use the main character, Erik, as a inspiration. He comes from a surf-backpacker-DIY lifestyle so I wanted to have sounds from rock music and surf music as the main instruments. Most of the music is written for electric guitar, Wurlitzer, bass and drums. My plan was to have a ‘small band’ to play where you normally would hear a big string section or more orchestral sounds. I wanted to use the naked, close and dry sounds of the band instruments to be a contrast to the huge mountains and beautiful nature surrounding our cast. – COMPOSER MARTIN HORNTVETH
You can listen to more of Martin’s musical projects over on his website which you can find here: www.martinhorntveth.com
Lofoten Islands scenery
One thing that is ever present throughout the TV Show is the unparalleled beauty of the landscape that acts as the backdrop. The Lofoten Islands are based up in Northern Norway and are composed of jagged mountains that steeply look like they are falling into the sea with pockets of land that are connected by the bridges – the TV show did a wonderful job in really showing the viewer what this location is truly like.
Lofoten, fantastic Lofoten. I am actually from a place further north, so I’m used to extreme nature all around. But lofoten is something else. It has everything, and that just gives so much when filming. The scenery is a character on its own. As an actor you often have to imagine things. Imagine you surroundings, imagine the weather, imagine all sorts of things. In lofoten we had it all, we didn’t have to imagine at all, it was all there! That lets you focus on your work, and as an actor, that’s such a gift.
– GUNNAR EIRIKSSON (FRANK)
So for all those Scandiphile/Nordophiles out there this is a wonderful piece of work that combines a great cast, scenery, and musical score. We highly recommend it and when we are all finally able to travel again be sure to consider heading up to this beautiful part of the world!
“I remember we were filming a scene in the evening, and the sun was setting. It looked like a postcard or a screensaver, stunning. And the director just went: “No, we can’t use that background. It’s too beautiful, the audience are never gonna believe it. Turn around!” – GUNNAR EIRIKSSON (FRANK)
You can watch the entire series now on BBC iPlayer – go check it out and let us know what you think!
Feature by Alex Minnis