LRM Exclusive Interview: Stellan Skarsgard And Director Hans Petter Moland for IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE
All stories of revenge end up awry in one way or another.
Actor Stellan Skarsgard reunites with director Hans Petter Moland once again for a dark comedy tale about revenge in Norway with IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARNCE.
The film follows a father who seeks out a drug lord who killed his son. As the drug lord’s minions turn up dead one-by-one, the hilarity ensues as the bad guys seek out the mysterious man responsible.
LRM had a phone interview with Stellan Skarsgard and director Hans Petter Moland earlier this month. The conversation was over the dark humor, working on so many collaborations and filming in the cold, cold Norwegian environment.
IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE is currently released in limited theaters in select cities across America and also available on VOD today.
Read the full transcript below.
LRM: Congratualations, gentlemen. This long journey of film festivals have finally came to an end.
Hans Petter Moland: [Laughter] Yeah, thank you so much. We’re very happy that it’s finally going to be released in the U.S.
LRM: I never knew a life of a snowplower could be so exciting.
Hans Petter Moland: That’s a compliment. Thank you so much.
LRM: You’re welcome. Could you folks tell me on why you were particularly attracted to this project?
Hans Petter Moland: About fifteen years ago, I was starting to toy around on what would happen to a standard pillar of society who finds out his son died of an overdose. What would the person actually do? Would he just mourn? Would he start going out to look for these culprits who provided the young boy with these drugs?
I toyed around with it several times during the course of several years. At first, it was not a comedy. I thought of the mechanisms of revenge and instead of mourning. After Stellan and I did A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN together, I showed the story to Kim Fupz Aakeson, the screenwriter and to the producer. It’s because they asked me on what I wanted to do next. They got excited about it. They started developing it.
At a very early stage, I then asked Stellan if he wanted to play the lead. And he wasn’t really excited. [Laughter] He really didn’t want to do it. He still ended up doing it. He can tell you why he was balking. It definitely took some convincing.
Stellan Skarsgard: He came to me with this script and I didn’t quite understand it. He couldn’t seem to see this film, because it was such a mixture of genres, tones and styles. I couldn’t see the film, really. Also I didn’t want to go up in the mountains and shoot in the snow for an entire winter. I’ve decided that I rather stay indoors during the winter.
Obviously, Hans had the idea to merge all those styles into one film. So he said, “Trust me.” And I did.
LRM: With this being a dark comedy itself, could you both talk about filming and acting in a film that is both a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.
Hans Petter Moland: From my perspective, it’s part of the challenge and part of the ambition to effortlessly move between the genres. So by allowing myself not to be restrained by the limitations to the conventions of one genre or another. In part, it allows the audience quite early on to see something wrong and you don’t live up to the expectations on whatever you’re starting out with. So that was part of the challenge.
The other is also having the guts to do it. It’s to never lose heart and don’t just make safe choices.
LRM: Was this also difficult for you too, Stellan?
Stellan Skarsgard: Well, it is. The way I look at humanity that man is the most beautiful creature on Earth; the most horrible creature on Earth; the silliest creature on Earth and the funniest creature on Earth. I really like to have the total mixture in everything I do.
What I had to do here was to play realistically and naturalistically. I couldn’t put my level of acting in a certain way. I had to be within the normalities and be the normal man who is the emotional center of the film.
At the same time, this man is trying to commit suicide. He had a gun barrel in his mouth and then interrupted. His lip was stuck to the barrel, because it was so cold. It was stuck. It was very silly. But, it doesn’t mean that his suicide attempt wasn’t real.
Hans Petter Moland: That was one of the examples that I tried to tell Stellan. If people laughed at that point, then it’s pretty much free range for us to do whatever we want.
I only had one rule for myself, which was that none of the characters should be on their own with the lack of own insight. There are a lot of stupid men in this film. They all think of themselves as tough, smart, conniving and calculating. It’s really a great collection of idiots. [Chuckles]
LRM: As you did your film festivals around the world, you may notice that humor is a lot different in every country. Can you describe on what the Scandinavian sense of humor to me?
Hans Petter Moland: I understand that people can love my film with other Scandinavians. You can call it Scandinavian [humor] or whatever. My influences are not particularly Scandinavian. I’m genetically Scandinavian. I lived in New York during the late 70s and early 80s. I also lived in Boston in the 70s. Part of my own temperament is what I considered to be with the New York dead-panned, brutal humor. It’s what I’ve experienced during the 70s and 80s.
It allows me to have a dry observation to about anything no matter on how tragic it was. I’m a great fan of Billy Wilder, for instance. It’s certainly not a Scandinavian sense of humor.
Stellan Skarsgard: No, he’s definitely not Austrian either. [Laughter]
Hans Petter Moland: So my influences are definitely American or a combination of things.
LRM: Completely understandable. You two have worked together before. How is this project different from the other ones you’ve collaborated together?
Stellan Skarsgard: I think they’re all different. The first two films were pretty dark. Then as we did A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN, we shot it as a bizarre comedy feel to it. It developed into this [film].
Hans Petter Moland: The first two films were dramas. All the moments of humor we enjoyed were developing while we shot those movies. I think the confidence was for us is to dare make a comedy only comes with age. You’ll get the courage to go at it with a bit of abandonment. I wouldn’t have the edge to do this without Stellan, because I feel very safe within his surroundings. Inadvertently, he makes me more courageous than what I actually am.
Stellan Skargard: Thanks!
LRM: Thank you gentlemen for this conversation. Real fast—would you drive a snow plow again?
Stellan Skarsgard: I love to!
Hans Petter Moland: Actually, he’s been offered a job with this in case his acting career goes all to hell. He can now own a snow plow.
LRM: [Laughter] Awesome. Thank you so much for talking.
Stellan Skarsgard: Thanks, Gig!
Hans Petter Moland: Thank you!
IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE will open theatrically in limited theaters in Los Angeles, New York and select cities on August 26. Magnet Releasing will also release the film on VOD that day.