Hollywood has been dabbling with adapting and Americanizing The Snowman for quite a few years now. When the Swedish pair of director Tomas Alfredson and actress Rebecca Ferguson were brought on board, though, the duo were always going to make sure it was set in Norway. Scandinavian blood runs that deep.
“I know that there were a lot of people interested in this book, and they were going to shoot it in America. When Thomas came in he said, ‘We’re not shooting it in Ohio. We’re not shooting in Chicago. We’re going to do it in Oslo. In the real environment. We want to feel the cold. We want to experience the real landscape of what Oslo has to offer.’ And that made me so excited,” Rebecca Ferguson recalls to me over the phone.
“Now that I have seen it I couldn’t imagine another option. This is so real and authentic to the true story. It’s very Scandi-noir. I’m just happy that it became a very local production.”
“The Snowman” certainly looks and feels much different to other Hollywood thrillers, most of which is down to the snow drenched vistas that are both haunting and bewitching in equal measure. There were various other reasons why Ferguson was so attracted to and ultimately pleased by “The Snowman, though. Each of which you can read about below.
What first attracted you to The Snowman?
“It was a combination of things. I’ve always wanted to work with Tomas Alfredson, who is basically a cult figure when it comes to film. Also Jo Nesbo’s book is just so popular. Before I was offered this role I had read four or five of his books, ‘Headhunters’ being my favorite one. So there was no discussion, I was like, ‘I am flying up. I am sitting there with Tomas. And we are making this happen.”
What was that meeting like?
“It was a long meeting, where we talked about basically the entire plot and the characters. It was very important for Tomas to make me understand that it wasn’t a direct replica of the book, so I didn’t actually throw myself into reading the book. Because I didn’t want to start the mirroring in Jo’s book. We needed to create something new and fresh, obviously within the framework of what Jo had created. We just broke Katrina down a lot. How complicated she was. How she is the new girl in the Oslo police team, and how she has this feeling of having something to prove. She wants to be the best detective she can be, but there’s this drive and sinister side outside of her professional ambition.”
What makes “The Snowman” unique to other thrillers you have starred in?
“I like the reality in this film, and how all the individual characters feel so real, and you can relate to them. We have five characters in this film, so the plot just kind of broadens and anyone can be a part of it. It is an intelligent story, and that’s something that Thomas is very into it. He doesn’t want to stupefy an audience, and the story can become quite complex, and embrace the thrilling bits of the characters. I love when intricate back stories of minor characters play a big part in the major picture. I find that very thrilling, and with ‘The Snowman’ everyone’s story is very important for the major plot.“
Talk about working with Michael Fassbender.
“I think Michael did such a good interpretation of this alcoholic, real, kind of dark brilliant detective, who in his free time just hits the bottle. Katrine and Harry are quite similar. They’re outcasts, and are separated from the environment because they just need to solve cases. It’s a beautiful relationship between them that’s not sexual, which is something I find great in films.”
Did you have any particular inspiration for Katrine?
“I usually try to have a lot of different inspirations. From people that I have seen and people that I love. But when I was offered the role it was actually quite a fast move from actually receiving it to actually shooting, and I was actually shooting something else in between. Which is complicated, but not to the point where I couldn’t find inspiration. And definitely after I spoke to Jo and Thomas.”
Was it a rare role to be offered?
“Maybe it was rare because it was very local and I haven’t actually shot around Sweden and she was quite a youthful character. I mean, I’ve done a spy in ‘Mission: Impossible’, an undercover agent, but that was one that was very empowered and in control. What I loved about this character is her naivety, and her need to prove herself, and her sinister back story, which gives her a drive that felt very fresh and youthful to me.”
What’s the best advice you have ever been offered?
“I never get advice per say, as in, ‘Here’s advice. Follow my comments.’ I think I study people and I listen to them. The last film I did I had Tomas’ comments in my head a lot, the way he breaks down character and keeps people interesting and complex, and how even the simplest scene can have so much truth and meaning and agenda. Sometimes we can just kind of ride along and read the script and follow. I think his comments just kind of lingered, consciously or subconsciously in my mind.”
“The Snowman” is released on October 20th.