Getting to work on Catch & Release (currently available on Viaplay UK) saw actress Kristine Hartgen return to her home of Tromso. Here, she would play the role of Erika Meyer whose father is mysteriously murdered in the opening scene of the series, setting off an investigation which reveals some pretty dark secrets.
The series was Kristine’s first full appearance having had a brief appearance in a couple of episodes of Beforeigners.
“It was nice to have a long character arc and journey,” the actress begins to explain on a video call from Oslo.
What made the series interesting was how the directors undertook the unraveling plot.
“They were working in a way where the directors and scriptwriters might change parts of the script on each episode – so you were kept very much on your toes“, Kristine explains. “Even they didn’t know who the killer was from the start…”
This explains how the series manages to keep you absolutely hooked as our lead character tries to get her head around what exactly happened on that fateful day and what role Kristine’s character might play in it all.
From Tromso’s Nordic Noir setting, Kristine then heads a little further south where she filmed new Netflix film, Narvik.
The film is set in 1940 during WW2 in the small northern Norway town of Narvik, where iron ore is being sourced for Hitler’s war machinery. After two months of fierce winter warfare, Hitler is dealt his first defeat. Kristine plays a key role in the film, as a wife of a soldier fighting in the war, who comes home to learn a shocking truth.
She had in fact started filming the film before the series, but when the film was hit by the Covid outbreak, production was halted.
“We filmed about a week of the film before it was all shut down, then I went on to film Catch and Release before returning back to Narvik. It was really nice to juggle these two projects – I learned so much working on Narvik too. It was such a huge production with a lot of responsibility on me as the lead on the film and my job as an actress.”
It was also pretty meaningful for Kristine to work on the film, as she has family from the region, who had experienced the war when the Germans invaded both Narvik, and further north in Finnmark. She was able to channel all the stories and experiences she had learned from her family into her role.
To add to Kristine’s fantastic performance, she revealed that she even got involved in one of the stunts, which sees her character blown against a wall in a scene during which Narvik is being bombed.
“I think it was quite fun because I had been playing this character previously in theatre who would throw themselves around a lot on stage. So that helped me prepare a lot for that scene.”
It turns out that Kristine is quite the professional, as herStar shot turned out to be a one-take wonder!
“They had this cannon which shot out some dust and I had to countdown 3, 2, 1 before I then had to jump. There was a lot of adrenaline on set when shooting these scenes – so you had to be sharp and focused. That was where the fun part of it all was for me.”
So with a war epic and a Nordic Noir series under her belt, we then learn that the actress is taking to the stage next in a version of The Idiot by Russian author Dostoyevsky (not to be confused with Lars Von Trier’s film, The Idiots).
“There are some crazy costumes and colourful cineography mixed in with a lot of comedy so that had been great fun. After I finish that I will be doing Ipsen’s The Wild Duck“
Obviously there is no stopping the young actress who is taking the opportunity to learn her craft as an actor by mixing her roles in film, TV, and on stage.
Kristine explains how she would love to get back into film and is currently working with a Chubbuck coach which is an acting method a lot of actors are using these days.
“You use substitutions with your storylines, such as things that have happened to you in real life to make it more relatable for yourself. With film, this is especially an amazing technique, and I just want to do more film to perfect my acting style“.
And perhaps her stunt work too? “I could be the new Tom Cruise!“
We talk about what films and series’ the actress enjoys outside of her work, and what has been on her watchlist:
“Olivier Assayas is a favorite of mine – I love his films and watched them all over Christmas. I became interested in his work after seeing Irma Vep (the original 1996 movie) and then watched the series – then I watched Cloud of Sila Maria and Personal Shopper. I got totally immersed in his world. His relationship to ghosts and the unseen, or how a script can affect an actor’s life – I just highly recommend his work, he is amazing“.
When it comes to Nordic films, Kristine cites the upcoming Sick of Myself as one to watch, a film which we too are huge fans of. With a mind-blowing performance from actress Kristine Kujath Thorp;
“She is so funny and such a great actress – she can do so many things. That movie is clever and really makes you confront yourself about your own narcissism.”
Kristine certainly has fantastic taste and with a very strong start to her career with both a Nordic Noir series and wartime epic under her belt already we can’t wait to see what the talented actress might appear in next.
You can watch Kristine’s performance (and one-stunt wonder) in Narvik over on Netflix now (which is available to watch internationally) and you’ll find Catch & Release over on Viaplay!