Hole lot of love

Play­ing a flawed de­tec­tive was a de­light for Michael Fass­ben­der

The Daily Examiner - - SCREEN LIFE - with Seanna Cronin

MICHAEL Fass­ben­der jumped at the chance to play hard-drink­ing de­tec­tive Harry Hole. The two-time Os­car nom­i­nee plays Nor­we­gian au­thor Jo Nesbø’s lit­er­ary hero in The Snow­man, a thriller in which Hole in­ves­ti­gates the dis­ap­pear­ance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an omi­nous-look­ing snow­man.

De­spite his char­ac­ter’s flaws, Fass­ben­der be­lieves Hole is a unique hero and hopes to play him in fu­ture films. Q: Set the scene for us and tell us about The Snow­man.

A: The snow falls and a se­rial killer awak­ens. His sig­na­ture mark that he leaves be­hind is a snow­man. I play Harry Hole who is this bril­liant de­tec­tive and is some­what ob­sessed by his work. At the same time he also re­sents it. He is a loner who only has one friend and is an al­co­holic. Harry has this re­la­tion­ship that spans through­out the book se­ries with a woman called Rakel (Char­lotte Gains­bourg) and her son Oleg. He is fiercely in­tel­li­gent and self-de­struc­tive with his drink­ing. He drinks to stop the in­ces­sant noise that is al­ways go­ing on in his head. His mind is re­lent­less and he drinks to numb it.

Q: You’re deal­ing with some dark ma­te­rial here but Re­becca Fer­gu­son says that there were a lot of laughs when you were film­ing. Is that true?

A: Yes, we had a lot of fun. It helps when you work with that el­e­ment of lev­ity. We had that when we were do­ing 12 Years a Slave. You are deal­ing with se­ri­ous is­sues, for sure, be­cause it rep­re­sents his­tory. It also tends to re­lease the pres­sure and you have fun with it. I work so much that I like to have fun on set and you have a good time when you love what you do. Q: Did you know Jo Nesbø’s books?

A: I didn't know them be­fore I got this script. The first thing that at­tracted me to it was To­mas Al­fred­son. We had met be­fore and To­mas re­ally made an im­pres­sion on me and so when this came up I was like “great, we get the op­por­tu­nity to work to­gether’’. Then I re­alised that there is a whole se­ries of highly suc­cess­ful books and I started to read them. I read them all ex­cept this one. Q: Why not this one? A: I knew that the script we had was dif­fer­ent in a lot of plot marks and lines to the book. I wanted to use the script as the bi­ble. I didn’t want to be read­ing the book and go­ing “I re­ally like that. To­mas, why isn’t this in there?’’ and get pre­oc­cu­pied with the book. I de­cided to read what hap­pens be­fore this book and what hap­pens af­ter it. Q: Would you play Harry Hole again? Q: What do you love about him?

A: I just have a lot of af­fec­tion for him be­cause I find him to be very hu­man. He is not an ac­tion hero – he goes into a sce­nario and al­ways ends up com­ing out the worse for wear, but will al­ways com­mit him­self to it. I don’t want to give any­thing away here but there’s some­thing phys­i­cal that gets left be­hind in all the dif­fer­ent sto­ries. I also like the re­la­tion­ship with Rakel. He is a very unique male hero who knows him­self very well. He’s his own man and I find that at­trac­tive to play. Q: Is Harry a char­ac­ter who car­ries the weight of his job?

A: I think he feels a re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards Rakel and Oleg, but does not al­ways de­liver. There’s a self­ish el­e­ment to him, whether it’s when he falls off the wagon and starts drink­ing or if he gets ob­sessed with his work. Those two are in the bal­ance. He has so much go­ing on in his mind all the time – it is like the com­puter is just buzzing and he drinks to numb it, to shut it down. It is only when a wor­thy ad­ver­sary comes about that he can ac­tu­ally chan­nel that noise and fo­cus on that ob­jec­tive. What is in­ter­est­ing about him is that he’s very hon­est with him­self. He knows what sort of man he is, and is not de­luded.

A: I’d love to. I re­ally love the char­ac­ter.

The Snow­man opens in cin­e­mas on Thurs­day.


Michael Fass­ben­der in The Snow­man.

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