Triangle of Sadness actress Hanna Oldenburg tells us about playing a waitress on a superyacht and walking the red carpet

In what has to be probably one of most hotly anticipated movies from the Nordic region in some time for us Triangle of Sadness really can’t come soon enough. Alex was fortunate enough to catch up with one of the films star Hanna Oldenburg who discusses her role in the film and what to expect from Ruben Ostlund Palme D’Or winning masterpiece.

Photo Credit: Chloe Hautier

In May we saw you walk the red carpet at Cannes film festival – tell us how that experience was?

Yes, I walked the red carpet six times for different film premieres. I’ve been to Cannes twice before, but this was the first time I walked the red carpet there. It’s different from other film festivals, much bigger and very exclusive, with lots of unwritten rules you’re supposed to be aware of that no one tells you. What people don’t know is that it’s quite a scary and stressful situation and most of the time you feel completely lost until you learn how it all works.

I made tons of mistakes. For the Top Gun premiere, I thought I’d walk to the red carpet, instead of taking a car. What I didn’t think of was that Tom Cruise had 1 million fans waiting for him on the streets, so it was like being at Coachella, packed with people. I had to take my stilettos off, carry them in my hand, and hold the designer see-through dress made out of crystals I was wearing with the other hand, walk through the crowd, realizing it was impossible to get through.

I’m quite short and didn’t see anything to be honest. So I decided to walk in the car lane the whole way with my bare feet, having the police yelling at me for being in the middle of the road, started running to make it on time, arrived late anyway, soaked in sweat and with feet totally black from the oils and dirt of the street. Arrived barefoot to the red carpet, and put the designer heels onto those feet just before I walked in. It felt ridiculously decadent. 

By the fourth try I kind of got the hang of it. However, just trying to find the photographer who’s taking your photo in the sea of cameras is pretty stressful. You have to walk slowly enough to find him/her before the carpet ends. They sometimes shout your name, and sometimes you just try to make eye contact with anyone that looks willing to take your photo. “Anyone? No? Yes?!” Then make a quick pose before the festival staff asks you to leave and go up the stairs “Please, madam, walk faster, no more poses for you. You have to leave now madam!”. It’s hard to get a good photo on that second of posing before you’re asked to leave, haha!

Then Julia Roberts comes in, looking fabulous, they play the song Pretty Woman, and she walks down that carpet for 5 min’s while everyone shouts her name. A magical moment. Then the day after you see your own photos, and you blinked in all of them.. I had a great time, and really needed those six times of practice! One day, I’ll walk like Julia.

Photo Credit: Chloe Hautier

What can you tell us about your role in Triangle of Sadness and have you any fun stories to tell from the filming of it?

I play a stewardess who works on the luxury yacht where the film is set. The film is a social satire that makes us look at our own behaviour. It makes fun of all characters in the story from billionaires and influencers, even the staff on luxury yachts.

My character had a relationship with her boss to advance in the hierarchy. It’s interesting what’s going on that the guests don’t know about and all groups of people have their own hierarchies. For people working high end service it’s always “yes mam, yes sir” and “the guest is always right”, but when the guests are not around these characters only talk about how big the tip might be. It’s ironic and wonderful how a film that makes fun of high society and various forms of capitalism, wins the most prestigious award in Cannes that’s known for being just that. The film industry is ready to laugh at itself. 

Hanna with co-star Woody Harrelson at Cannes Film Festival

One of the funniest scenes we filmed was the vomit scene. We were perhaps 40 actors and extras in a dining room and many of them were getting seasick in the scene, and started vomiting all around the room, on the tables and on each other. My character works fine dining and her job is to be graceful in all situations and tries to pretend everything’s just fine, “Don’t worry madam, it happens all the time!” when a guest vomits in someone’s face. It was absolutely hilarious pretending this was completely normal. 

We were filming the indoor scenes in Trollhättan Studios, in Sweden. The outdoor scenes we filmed in Greece on Onassis’s yacht. It was an amazing experience all around.

Out of curiosity had you watched Below Deck before you recorded the film?

Yes, haha! It was one of my inspirations to prepare for the role! It’s interesting what’s going on between the staff. Some are together, some are sleeping with the others anyway, some are sleeping with the guests. They’re hungover, they argue, they talk about how to get the biggest tip, and they get really upset when they don’t. In the end, they always have to say “Yes” to the guests no matter what. 

You got the opportunity to wear some stunning dresses – what were some of your favourites?

I feel so fortunate getting the honour now to wear artworks like these dresses, and collaborate with these designers. I had a stylist helping me with these looks and collaborations, Justine Bleicher, and she has great Parisian taste and I felt beautiful in all of them.

My favourites however, were the red Gemy Maalouf dress I wore for the Triangle of Sadness premiere, the black Michael Kors for the afterparty, and also the black swan inspired Gemy Maalouf dress I wore for the festival opening and premiere of Final Cut. 

Recently you directed a music video which went on to pick up some awards – was this something you have always wanted to do?

No. My photographer partner and I were asked by Soilwork, the band, if we wanted to make their next video for their upcoming album Övergivenheten. Our style when working together is dark and gritty which works really well with metal music. We were stoked they asked us, and had so much fun doing it, but I never actually thought about it before then. 

We tried to make it as a saga with a focus on storytelling and mixing darkness with light and feminine, and it’s been very successful so far. We just released another video for the next single on the album, Dreams of Nowhere, and hopefully it’s the beginning of a longer collaboration with the label Nuclear Blast Records.

What is coming up next for you?

The next thing for me is a lead role in a big international project.

Finally, what was the last book you read, album you listened to, and TV Series/Film you watched?

Book: Earth – Portrait of a Planet

Album: Elvis

TV Series: Stranger Things

Film: The Worst Person in the World

Check out Hanna’s new music video which she directed with Johan Kuurne

Interview by Alex Minnis