Top detective a sen­si­tive soul

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

AMONG afi­ciona­dos of crime fic­tion, Kurt Wal­lan­der is a fa­mil­iar name. The dogged Swedish po­lice in­spec­tor, the cre­ation of au­thor Hen­ning Mankell, is the cen­tral char­ac­ter in a se­ries of bestselling nov­els that have cap­ti­vated mil­lions of read­ers the world over.

What’s more, Mankell’s nov­els have been adapted into a long-run­ning TV drama in the au­thor’s na­tive Swe­den.

In the past few years, how­ever, Wal­lan­der’s pro­file has risen even higher, thanks to the crit­i­cal and com­mer­cial suc­cess of the BBC’S own adap­ta­tion of the char­ac­ter’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions in a se­ries of tele­movies.

Ac­claimed ac­tor Kenneth Branagh has re­ceived some of the best re­views of his dis­tin­guished ca­reer for his por­trayal of Wal­lan­der in these English-lan­guage tele­movies, which are filmed in Swe­den.

The first sea­son was such a suc­cess a sec­ond was quickly com­mis­sioned.

‘‘What has been so ter­rific for me about this role is I was al­ready a big fan of the books and had read them purely for plea­sure,’’ Branagh says.

‘‘My first ex­pe­ri­ence of these books, their sto­ries and char­ac­ters was en­tirely as a mem­ber of the pub­lic en­joy­ing the riproar­ing tales and great who­dunits.’’

But a great part of the ap­peal of the sto­ries, and of the char­ac­ter of Wal­lan­der him­self, is that he’s some­one who takes his work se­ri­ously and who is af­fected by the cases he in­ves­ti­gates.

The em­pa­thy Wal­lan­der dis­plays takes a toll on his per­sonal life – he’s sep­a­rated from his wife and has trou­ble com­mu­ni­cat­ing with his daugh­ter – and his health.

It’s some­thing Branagh and ev­ery­one in­volved with the tele­movies was keen to con­vey.

‘‘Partly what made the books suc­cess­ful was read­ers could ex­pe­ri­ence the sto­ries through Wal­lan­der’s view of the world,’’ Branagh says.

‘‘The world Wal­lan­der lives in is a raw world where peo­ple have to deal with ter­ri­ble news and with the death of loved ones in ter­ri­ble cir­cum­stances. Wal­lan­der is very self-aware and per­cep­tive and in­tel­li­gent about hu­man be­hav­iour.

‘‘I al­ways think there is a re­spon­si­bil­ity to try to do some­thing as well as you can and, with such a fine writer as Hen­ning Mankell, we re­ally wanted to do it jus­tice. I think ev­ery­one in­volved al­ready loved the books and the re­spon­si­bil­ity to get it right was keenly felt by all.

‘‘We wanted to give view­ers the feel­ing that, for the po­lice and ev­ery­one in­volved in dis­cov­er­ing these crimes, it was far from usual, and that, emo­tion­ally, it costs Wal­lan­der and it costs his col­leagues so much each time – there is no get­ting used to it.

‘‘I think we most wanted to cap­ture the bal­ance Mankell strikes in his books, be­tween telling a great story of a po­lice pro­ce­dural tale and the sen­si­tiv­ity and sub­stance of be­ing a hu­man be­ing.’’

Wal­lan­der: Fri­days, 8.30pm, Seven, Prime7

Kenneth Branagh takes pains to show cop Kurt Wal­lan­der’s hu­man side, writes

Kenneth Branagh

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.