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Dynamic and versatile

Atle Antonsen as Aksel Farstad in the movie Grand Hotel. Photo:
Atle Antonsen as Aksel Farstad in the movie Grand Hotel. Photo:

Atle Antonsen is not just a comedian, something his latest film is a testament to.

In the film Grand Hotel, which he is in town to promote on Monday, April 4 , he plays the alcoholic and rather self-absorbed writer Axel Farstad . The character has things in common with his most known character, the TV-series -anti-hero Dag, but Antonsen still think the two are quite different.

– They have in common that they seek to be alone, but beyond that, their motivation and personalities are widely
different. Dag is a reclusive, but conscientious man with a large and caring heart. Axel Farstad however, is a successful writer with narcissistic traits who only cares about himself and doesn’t have room for others in his self-absorbed
existence. But he is also a man struggling with performance anxiety, writer’s block, loneliness, and alcohol.
Antonsen’s partner in the film is the young and unknown Håkon Bøhmer. Bøhmer plays the young boy Noah, diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. His character indulges in an odd and awkward friendship with Antonsen’s character. The experience of playing against a child was a positive one.
– It was amazing, simply because Håkon is a rare natural talent. There is always some uncertainty going into playing  against children, because you never quite know what they will deliver. Håkon was fabulous to play against, so we could make each other better.

More serious
Lately Antonsen has gone from being a comedian to becoming a more serious actor.
– I like to vary and seek new challenges. I get the opportunity to do this through new and exciting projects, and this shapes me all the time. I am a happy man career-wise. The thought of trying to master as many forms as possible appeals to me, and it always has done.
His career has taken a very different direction lately, but nonetheless, for the next two to three years, it is still likely that he will be tackling many different types of projects.
– I have no long-term plan for where I’m going or what I’m doing, but it will include both drama and comedy on stage,
TV and the big screen.
However, there are not watertight bulkheads between these expressions. In the role of Dag, for example, he could jump from heavy drama to wild comedy in an instant.
– I believe such diversity in terms of the same series or movie is a good thing. It creates a lot of dynamism and
dramaturgy, and the contrasts amplify both expressions.
Grand Hotel is a comedy drama with room for both vulnerability and laughter.

Primarily comedian
Nevertheless, he emphasizes that he is first and foremost a comedian, and that he probably will continue to be.
– This is where everything emanates from. But it can also be good to take that into more drama based stuff. As
previously stated it is only a plus to be able to combine this.
Recently he played in the play The Magic Flute at the opera in Oslo, and it was a nice experience, although he does not see himself doing more of it.
– I probably won’t partake in any more operas, although it was an amazing experience to play with such specialists on
Norway’s most amazing scene. It was a lot of work to reach the finish line, yes, but very liberating and a
relief that it went so well. Opera, check.
Despite the fact that he is famous, it is something he sees as a necessary part of his job and not something he
values in and of itself.
– It is as a result of the discipline and craft I’m doing that I am famous, I’m happy for that and it is also inevitable. That many people would love to be known without having any talent or skill in any direction or any meaning behind it beyond the celebrity part, is in my eyes complete incomprehensible and quite frankly embarassing. At the same time, they probably think that it is cooler than it is. The famous bit, that is.