Peter Stormare

How was it for you to act with Björk ?

First of all I love her music. I’ve done for many years. I can proudly say I have her records, which she beautifully signed. She’s very special. I’ve been to Iceland a couple of times and I love it. I love the Icelandic people, I have a couple of friends from Iceland and they’re all very special there. Actually, Björk is a very normal person on Iceland. Anybody who’s been to Iceland knows what it’s like. People are a little bit crazy. Everybody is an artist. You walk into a bar and 9 out of 10 people that are sitting and drinking and screaming there are artists. People work as a mail man or in a grocery shop and they also publish poetry, they write for the theatre or they’re in a amateur group or in a music group. Everybody has a double job and everybody is an artist. It’s a fantastic hidden community.

So I think it was an excellent choice of Lars to use Björk, for her incredible ability of being so unique. I think you need to have been in the production to understand. I’ve never seen anyone work so hard as she. She’s written six major songs for the movie. She has written music in between and come up with ideas for the music, she has constructed the opening and closing themes. She also trained very hard with Vincent Patterson, who is a very demanding guy, together with fifty or sixty dancers. On top of the that she had to learn five sheets of text every day and every night. And she had to improvise too. She had learned the lines and then she had to throw them away and improvise. Which is hard even for any professional actor. And she worked six days a week from 7 o’clock in the morning until 8 o’clock at night for four months.

I have never worked with anybody that had that amount of work, that load on her shoulders. I think it’s a miracle she didn’t die. It’s a miracle she could do it all. I have never been in a production where one person had to do so much. Never. I was expecting her to freak out aal the time, to have fits of screaming. Lars and the production really forgot to take good care of her, because she’s such a humble person and she never complains. It happened lots of time we would break for lunch, there was one person who would break last and who would never get any food and that was Björk. And she’s always coming around serving water and coffee. Fantastic woman.

But I think the production itself they fogot a little bit to take care of her, because she’s so giving. She never complains. If you work 16 hours a day and do everything, you go to bed and your head continues to tick. You don’t get any sleep. After a while, you have no more energy and you start to get sick or get a cold. At the same time she takes of her twelve-year old son and she’s a wonderful mother. So I’ve never seen a person who had so much to do. It’s a miracle that she didn’t kill anyone from the production.

She didn’t have any assistants ?

She had one of her friends helping out, but not a regular service-minded assistant. She doesn’t want to, really. She feels embarassed.

Didn’t the other actors take care of her ?

We did. After a while, certainly. But in the beginning she was so quiet. If you didn’t say anything, people would take her for granted, you know. And it was her first time on a movie, so she wanted to be normal, not to be treated in any special way. But you should be treated specially if you have to write the music, sing, dance and read every day.

You really had to change your voice to sing the parts.
Why didn’t you sing with your own voice ?

This is a hard one, because Björk has written the music for her, it’s not really for anybody else to sing. Even if there’s other voices involved. On the cd she sings everything herself, I think. She’s a very good instructor. Of course I’d like to sing it in a different way but she want to be precise. She’s like the composer, she wants you to try again and hit the notes exactly. She really knows what she wants. And of course it’s easier and more fun to sing as you want, but Björk wants to be really, really precise. It’s in her nature.

Project A, 04-03-2001