Walter Presents has delivered another exciting new show from the Nordic region, this time in the guise of Sweden’s Partisan.
Alex spoke to one of its stars, Pelle Holmström, about the show, what to expect (no spoilers in this interview), and discuss some music he has been working on too.
Nordic Watchlist: Partisan is finally coming to our screens in the UK – what can you tell us about the series and your role in it?
Pelle Holmström: It is and that’s amazing. That this story gets to be told even outside of Sweden which I find is very important.
I can tell you a little, but this is definitely a series that is easy to give out spoilers if too much information is being served. According to the story of the series, I think IMDB said it very well. Quoting them, Partisan is:
“Set in the idyllic surroundings of Jordnära, a gated community that runs a very successful organic farm. A man takes a job offer, soon learning about their unorthodox rules and routines.”
What got my attention with the script was a lot of things. To mention a few I would say, the tension, the beautifully described environment, and the thrilling tone of the script that made me want more and more.
What I also like a lot is the fact that this is a story like nothing else that has been made in Sweden before. The amazing team behind the show has really flipped the coin in the way this genre is normally made. So kudos to them!
My role is Victor and I am one of the people that has spent his whole life in the community, he doesn’t know much about the outside world but has a longing to learn more about it. He is a young guy becoming an adult that is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He wants to find love and someone he can talk to for real.
[I like] the fact that this is a story like nothing else that has been made in Sweden before.
When I read the script, Victor felt like some sort of light to the show, so when I worked with the character It was important for me to dig in the opposite.
NW: This was your first TV Series – how did it feel working with the likes of Fares Fares and Amir Chamdin?
PH: Not only that, but it was also my first drama in front of a camera ever. So getting to set the first day I was more than nervous, I didn’t get much sleep the night before. I think I woke up at 5am and then went to the gym for 2 hours or something like that.
Filming with Fares
Also knowing that my first scene to shoot was with Fares, that is not only an amazing actor but has also been a part of creating the series. So of course I felt a responsibility to disappoint him when I got the role.
He was amazing, I remember he said it’s common to be nervous the first day of a new show (not knowing this was the first time ever for me). But it was so nice working with him and he would be more than helpful to come with tips on how to think with all kinds of things while shooting.
Inspired by Director Amir
During the whole shoot, I worked mostly with Amir since he directed it. I don’t know if I could get a better start in this industry when it comes to a Director. Amir is one of the kindest, loving persons I’ve met. He brings such a calm and warm energy to the set, which is for me a very important ingredient as a director.
We filmed with a very high tempo and would sometimes just do one shot per set. But with Amir’s visual brilliance my trust was in his hands! I felt very free as an actor working with him, I was totally free to come up with ideas and he is a good listener so we would always find something interesting to work with.
Amir is an inspiration to me, I would love to direct more in the future and I will for sure bring some of his magic with me forever. I’m also so thankful for Amir’s trust in bringing me on the show to play the role of Victor.
NW: You’re also a musician. Tell us about your new single ‘The Water Stays The Same’?
PH: I am, having a hard time sticking to one thing hehe.
But I actually started it all by studying three years in university to become a musical theatre artist so it all kind of makes sense.
This song is a song I and the other singer Anton Martin wrote together with Peter Von Arbin. We had no plans for the session but this song came up and we decided we should release it. I would recommend everyone to listen to the song and decide for themselves what it is about.
I love working with Peter and Anton even though I often feel like I’m lacking musically when I’m with them.
NW: Is there an album on its way?
PH: There is no album on the way but I’m planning to release an EP during 2022. The EP will be a solo project and maybe there will be at least one more song with me and Anton. Music for me is more a source of keep creating and telling stories.
NW: What else have you got planned next for 2022?
PH: At this actual moment I’m in post-production of a short that I wrote, directed and played the leading role in. The film is produced by Gabous Production and filmed by Albin Karlén. We were a small team of 6 persons shooting it.
Everyone was very talented, I managed to get the best make up artist I know Kassandra Munoz Godocito, the brilliant Johan Karlsson playing the other role, Johan Gabous assisted me on the direction and produced it, Anton Eriksson on sound. We also got a lot of help from my family.
Me, Anton and Peter are currently writing music for it and the film is starting to take form! It’s a poetic existential film about mental illness. Hopefully, it is finished at the end of this year.
NW: Whereabouts from Sweden are you from and where are some of your favourites places to visit or hang out?
PH: I’m from Sollefteå, a small town up north. This is almost in the middle of Sweden. It´s a beautiful place with calming quiet nature, I try to visit as often as I can. This is also where we went to film my short film.
My top 3 places have to be Sollefteå, Stockholm and Sandö. Three very different places that have a special place in my heart.
NW: What have you been watching, reading, and listening to recently – any recommendations?
PH: I watch a lot! I see it as a part of my job, watch, analyse and keep watching. It’s the perfect school if you keep analysing the good and the bad.
I love stuff that is consciously written to change our society for the better. Maid is an example of these kinds of shows. They had a topic that was clear and made all the right choices of how to portrait each character to make us realize what has to change.
My go-to film is Captain Fantastic. Also here they are questioning our way of living and putting it in perspective. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cinematic photo, Captain Fantastic has it!
I have to say Handmaids Tale as well. Music, there is only one song now and that is The Water Stays the Same.
Partisan is out in the UK on Walter Presents / All4 from 19th November
Interview by Alex Minnis