Björn Hlynur Haraldsson • Actor
Shooting Star 2006 - Iceland
by Annika Pham
Reykjavik-born Björn Hlynur Haraldsson graduated from the Drama Department of the Icelandic Arts Academy in 2001. The same year, he co-founded Iceland’s most innovative theatre company Vesturport. With his theatre group, Haraldsson performed in Romeo & Juliet which won two Icelandic Theatre Awards and played in Reykjavik and London stages. Last year, he was part of an international cast lead by Gael Garcia Bernal who staged Blood Wedding to audiences of the Almeida Theatre in London.
But film is Haraldsson’s true love and so far, he has worked on three Icelandic films: Reykjavik Guesthouse: Rent A Bike by Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir and Björn Thors, Cold Light by Hilmar Oddsson and the social satire by Robert Douglas Eleven Men Out which is screening at Berlin’s Panorama this year.
Cineuropa: Is acting something you’ve always wanted to do?
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson:Acting is something that was in a way decided for me because I was led to theatre school in Iceland by my school teachers. It had been a hidden dream for some time and of course I didn’t tell any of my friends I was auditioning. I am not brought up in a theatrical family.
You’re acting career in front of the camera is only starting whereas your stage experience is very rich and still keeps you very busy in Iceland and abroad. Do you want to keep a balance between the two or do you see film becoming more important in the future?
In no way was I brought up on theatre. My enthusiasm has always been more towards film. Coming from Iceland where there are only a handful of films or less made every year, it doesn’t really give me a choice. Theatre life on the other hand is very active so that has been my career until now. But my future ambitions are definitely towards film.
Tell us about the role of you play in Robert Douglas’ Eleven Men Out which is screening in the Panorama in Berlin. What did you find exciting about your part as a professional football player who admits to his teammates and family that he’s gay…
The film itself, the story and the characters are very Icelandic. That is how Robert Douglas works. He makes films in Icelandic about Icelandic people with Icelandic humour. That was the main attraction for me when I read the script.
How do you feel about being Iceland’s Shooting Star 2006?
Shooting Star in an opportunity. That is the only thing I am expecting.
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