In conversation with Snöänglar and Vikings star Josefin Asplund

Swedish actress Josefin Asplund is on a bit of a roll. Since finishing a short stint on the epic Vikings, she has appeared in a number of other popular shows including Jens Lapidus’s Top Dog and most recently the highly regarded Snöänglar (Snow Angels), which even previewed at Berline Film Festival 2021.

Back in May 2021 I caught up with the actress to learn a bit more about her role in Snöänglar and what else she has been up to in these strange times. As she appears on the video call, she looks radiant and happy. The sun is shining in Sweden.

It feels like summer today here in Stockholm!

After the obligatory talk about the weather, we move on to talking about her latest show that I am excited about but yet to watch: Snow Angels.

Photo Credit: Marica Rosengard

Snöänglar (Snow Angels)

Josefin’s new series has created a lot of buzz and got recognition at the Berline Film Festival earlier in the year. As ever, we have to wait for a hopeful release in the United Kingdom.

Josefin explains a bit about her role and the story:

So the whole plot line is that a five-week old baby is missing and I play the mother of the baby. She is quite a complicated character, she is vulnerable and is showing signs of having an addiction to sedatives. Sleeping so hard at night that she has no idea what is going on.

Then she wakes up one morning and her baby is gone and the story is told in a non-chronological order – it starts when the baby is missing and trips back to what happened before the disappearance, and so on.

That sounds like a great plot, surrounded by great characters. You have the detective investigating the case, the midwife, and then there is Josefin’s character Jenni and her partner Salle, about whom the six-part series centers around. Josefin goes on to explain:

We get to know these characters more and more – following their lives and what has happened before, after, and during the incident. It is a very character-driven drama.

A lot of people have said to me how nerve-wrecking and difficult the series has been to watch but equally they have been fascinated to see what happens next.

Meet Josefin’s character Jenni and her partner Salle (played by Ardalan Esmaili) – PHOTO CREDIT: Johan Paulin

You can feel that intensity and disorientation from the trailer. Halfway through the pace picks up and you feel gripped by the story – watch below.

It is great to see Eva Melander involved, a very well know Swedish actress, and one whose performance in Ali Abassi’s Borders we still can’t seem to shake off. I ask Josefin what it was like working with her and the other cast members:

I remember when we had the read through on the first day and I was just say there thinking what am I doing here? Why am I in the same room with all these people. Shanti Roney is playing her husband and I have been following him since I was like 10 years old – he is such an incredible actor.

So I was almost star struck, something I don’t usually get, but I was talking to Ardalan (who plays her Jenni’s husband Salle) and we were both saying how nervous we were. But it felt great to be involved in this story, I didn’t get the script until after I got the part – but I loved it and especially my character Jenni.

When I heard Eva was involved and also Maria (Rossing who plays a character called Maria), and all these phenomenal actors, it was then that I realised this going to be something really special.

And you can’t really be more sold on a series than that can you? An incredible cast, a dark character-driven story, and a cold, menacing aesthetic.

Josefin’s character is struggling but is she responsible for her baby’s disappearance? PHOTO CREDIT: Johan Paulin

Top Dog

Another series that Josefin was lead last year was Top Dog. The series starred both her and Nordic-noir fan favourite Alexej Manvelov, as two characters from different sides of the tracks having their worlds cross over with dangerous consequences.

The show is based on a Jen Lapidus book trilogy and boasts a seriously strong supporting cast. Yet again it is another show we still haven’t had a release here in the UK on any platform.

Josefin (Centre) and Alexej (Far Right) star in the excellent Top Dog

What’s Coming Up Next?

With the strict Covid restrictions easing ever so slightly, I ask Josefin what she has coming up in the pipeline:

Well I shot a Russian movie this past fall in Moscow which is a period piece about Russia’s most famous chess players and I play the wife of one of them. They are still shooting and wrapping things up but of course it has been delayed with the pandemic etc.

It was so cool to be in Russia and shooting with a Russian team it reminded me of the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because it was such a big set and the feeling of this whole machinery going on with so many people.

You had plenty of takes allowing you time to make it good – that whole experience was really cool.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

It’s worth noting that Josefin’s debut film performance was in David Fincher’s remake of the famous Swedish thriller. We have spoken about this movie before and how, controversially, we prefer the remake to the original.

I know right, I think everyone does!

Josefin agrees. The movie’s totally complimented each other and I have to say I think that Fincher’s version does give respect to the original. It strikes me – how does it feel having your first ever film being directed by one of the best directors out there?

I remember the difference from coming from filming on an American film set and then to a Swedish – it was just so different. When you talk budget it is like two completely different worlds!

It was crazy, I don’t think I was even aware of bit it really was at the time.

I remember being really starstruck when I met David Fincher but not Daniel and my friends where like ‘come on really?’ and I was like THIS IS FINCHER!

It was one crazy first introduction to this business and the industry – but I love to mix it up. Doing something like Snow Angels was very dark and intimate touching on very sensitive subjects, motherhood, and having difficult relationships. Then you got to Vikings where I am just killing people on a field, get married, and fight.

Vikings

In the second lockdown it was inevitable that I would end up binge-watching a huge TV series and I felt that the time had finally come to watch Vikings. At first, I watched a few episodes flinching at some of the accents from the non-Scandinavian cast, then more and more true Scandinavians turned up, the battles got intense, and before I knew it I was well and truly hooked on the series.

I binge-watched the lot and this was where I first discovered Josefin. I wonder whether she still keeps in touch with a lot of the cast after working for quite some time together on the show – most notably one of my favourites from the cast was Peter Franzen (please note there are no spoilers here).

We talk from time to time and keep in touch as we have the same agent. Me and Alex (Hogh Andersen who plays Ivar) were texting this morning – he is filming in Riga shooting some series. We kind of cross paths or message from time to time but obviously it has been hard to see anyone due to everything going on too.

Jasper and Peter (the brilliant brothers Harald and Halfdan The Black) were around when the series ended and then I saw Jasper at a Comic Con. We tend to bump into each other!

It was such a great experience and so much fun, such a great cast, we almost became one big family. When I had started on Vikings I was 24 and there was a lot of us all starting at the same time so we all became quite close, and obviously the older guard there were just so welcoming. We spent so much time together, over in Dublin, sometimes staying there if we couldn’t get home.

One thing that is also incredible is the fanbase for the series – there are 1000’s of accounts that share the Vikings love whether it is: fan art, on-set pictures, and even Pop Art characters. Josefin had shared one image (see below) which we thought we might approach the person behind it to perhaps get one made as a gift. We were surprised when they said it would cost 150 euros! Though it did transpire they handcrafted this wonderful piece – it was custom made!

The incredible work of Daeneryon Custom Pop

I am terrified and fascinated at the same time! Astrid is totally worth it though right?

This is why I find Comic Con so great – the opportunity to meet these fans is so incredible. To me it was a completely new world, I mean we have had some Comic Con’s in Sweden but that kind of fan base doesn’t exist in the same way here in Scandinavia as it does in the States.

So meeting all these people and seeing their drawings and their artwork, the costumes, the make-up, and it is absolutely incredible to see.

Josefin with co-star Peter Franzen in Vikings

What has Josefin been checking out recently?

Being always inquisitive to find out what everyone has been; listening to, watching, or reading at the moment I ask Josefin to see what great recommendations she might have.

There have been a lot of reality TV shows I have been watching recently!

I don’t know why, maybe after Snow Angels had finished I needed something easy. I missed LA…

Call My Agent is great – I am up to the third season of that!

And I have been listening to a lot of house music. I think I miss the sound, the vibe, you know?

We hear you loud and clear Josefin – having binged eight seasons of Below Deck, we can’t judge by any means.

I know that show – I think as an actor it is so interesting to watch. Even though it is directed to a degree there are real relationships happening and that is fun to see. I am such a people watcher – I love to listen and watch, it satisfies such a curiosity.

And what about music?

Am loving Tove Lo at the moment and Martix Garrix – especially his new song!

After damaging my knee I had to rest, a lot, so I picked up quite a few books to read then. I was given a big book to read by the Assistant Director on the Russian movie I was working on. It is Anna Karena, but the English version, but I think it is going to be pretty heavy!

Josefin reveals the book to me on camera and I can confirm it looks like quite a beast. Perhaps ideal to rest one’s poorly leg on and choose to watch some more reality shows instead.

We can’t wait to see Josefin in her upcoming shows – in the meantime, you can spot her in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which is currently on NOW TV / Sky Cinema, and Vikings which is streaming all seasons on Amazon Prime.

Snöänglar & Top Dog are not released yet in the UK but we are keeping a close eye on them.

Interview by Alex Minnis

Snöänglar Images: Johan Paulin | Portrait Header Image: Stina Stjernkvist

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