It’s all hands on deck for the multi- skilled Steven Van Zandt. Guy Davis speaks with the star of Lilyhammer. How do you and to them. “To make it more Lilyhammer join forces, international, I believe that Steven? we should make it more I have a record company, Norwegian.” I wanted and I was in Bergen, it to be as Norwegian Norway, producing as possible. I wanted to a Norwegian band. know everything that is Somebody told me this eccentric about Norway husband- and- wife writing – everything that is team wanted to say hello, different, funny, unique. so I met with them and If you focus on nuance they gave me the oneand detail and the things sentence pitch, which that have local interest, was “A gangster goes into those are the things that the witness protection are most universal. Those program and chooses are the things that people Lillehammer in Norway”. gravitate towards and love
First of all, I thought to see. after playing a gangster for 10 years on The Sopranos, I perhaps shouldn’t do this. But I quickly realised there are not many great ideas in the world, so when you hear one you should recognise it. And I did.
Norway is a very, very interesting place, and a very mysterious place. Nobody knows anything about it, really. So not only can we have a wonderful fish- out- ofwater story, with a oneman crime wave coming into a place where there is no crime, we can also have fun with these cultural differences. Nobody knows anything about it, really. You’ve succeeded in that respect, because the Norwegian way of life is very much a part of the show’s fabric. When I became one of the writers, I sat down with the two creators and said In Lilyhammer’s second season, Frank is adjusting to life in Norway ... but slowly. He’ll never be completely there. [ Laughs] But what we’ve done this year is have him evolve into being more integrated now in the culture. Starting with the very first episode, though, we introduce a new element in the form of these English hooligans who now invade Frank’s Norwegian space. That leads to a whole interesting new dynamic – he’s no longer the invader but the invaded. It shows, to some extent, that he is beginning to become more Norwegian and learning a bit from that culture, as well as bending it to his will a little. Lilyhammer , Wednesday, SBS ONE, 9.30pm