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Luke Perry: from 90s teen hearthrob to Swedish film star

Theresa Oz-Gun · 1 Oct 2009, 11:53

Published: 01 Oct 2009 11:53 GMT+02:00

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The movie, shot in the idyllic seaside Swedish village of Trosa, south of Stockholm, shows what can happen when an out of town guest turns up to celebrate one of Sweden’s most traditional holidays with four other couples.

Perry plays Sam, an American college friend of the party’s host, who arrives in Sweden bearing a number of presumptions about the ways of Swedish women, and is eager to find out which of the stereotypes ring true.

Sam’s persistent hunt for confirmation of his views on Swedish women evolves as the movie proceeds, leaving no woman safe from his irresistible charm.

The Local recently caught up with Perry by telephone as he was hard at work remodeling his kitchen in Los Angeles to learn more about how the American actor came to star in a Swedish movie.

The Local: How come you were shooting a movie in Sweden?

Perry: Well I can’t say much apart from that it all seems pretty logical to me. I mean, our director lives in Sweden – so why not? We really hit it off when I was there.

The Local: Was it your first time in Sweden and did you have any connections when you got here?

Perry: Yeah, it was the first time but most definitely not the last time – I can tell you that. I mean, I arrived here not knowing anyone and now I’m been back and I’m sure I made some pretty good friends there – except, well except for [Swedish co-star] Daniel Gustavsson. (laughter)

The Local: How was your stay? What sort of stories did you have for your buddies when you got home?

Perry: My stay was simply fantastic. The story I told people when I returned was about how beautiful the little town where we shot the movie was and about the amazing hotel I stayed at. I totally loved it and everything about it – especially the interior and the small little details like the wooden floor and the bathtub. I had a beautiful view from my hotel room – I can’t even describe it.

The Local: How was it to make a movie outside the States and how did people back home react to it?

Perry: There’s no big difference when it comes to shooting a movie in Sweden or in the States. It more or less is all the same the end of the day – 20th Century Fox Production.

The Local: Are there any funny moments in the movie in which you thought to yourself “wow – I never saw that coming”?

Perry: Oh yeah, definitely. There is this one scene when we were all naked in the sauna. I was like, "hey, I'm sitting here naked with a bunch of people I’ve never met before." That was kind of a “wow” moment – and awkward in a funny sort of way.

The Local: Have you learned anything about the meaning of Sweden’s traditional Midsummer holiday?

Perry: What I’ve learned is that the desperate need for fertility and the uncontrollable hormone flow of masculinity are pretty dangerous – especially at a holiday event like that. I kind of thought people behaved like frogs; but hey, who am I to judge? It’s not my job to understand – my job is to do whatever my director tells me to do. (laughter)

The Local: What is your movie character Sam like?

Perry: What can I say? Sam encapsulates the common American male with the classic prejudices about Swedish women: tall, blond, blue eyes—and some other nasty assumptions. And during his stay – to his surprise – he comes to the conclusion that most of the stereotypes are actually true!

The Local: What was it like to work with the Swedish group of actors?

Perry: It was pretty cool. They all were very welcoming and open. I never felt like I was left outside. Well except for Daniel Gustavsson. (laughter) He treated me horribly and it was pretty heartbreaking because I’m such a big fan of his work. Yeah, I don’t know why he was so mean maybe it was jealousy? Just make sure you get this published!

Note: The Local subsequently learned from a reliable source that there really is no feud between Perry and Gustavsson. In fact, the two have become "internet pen pals" and continue corresponding to this very day.

The Local: Did the movie meet your expectations?

Perry: It looked better than I thought. In terms of the physical imagery, it actually exceeded my expectations. I’m pretty sure people will like it.

Story continues below…

The Local: Do you think we will get to see you more often in Swedish cinemas?

Perry: I really hope so and I talked to Ian [McCrudden], our director, about a few possible roles that I really liked. So, I will probably be back. I’d also just like to mention that I really like Peter Stormare – he’s one of my favourite actors.

The Local: Apart from this movie is there anything else you are working on or is it all top secret?

Perry: Well, my mission for now is to finish painting the kitchen door, which I find pretty relaxing especially with a beer in hand. And before we wrap up, I really want to say that I loved working with Schif [Musarra], our producer, and I really liked his short-film “Bella”. Thumbs up Schif!

Äntligen Midsommar opens in Swedish cinemas on Friday, October 2nd.

Theresa Oz-Gun (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:27 October 1, 2009 by DaTraveler
Congrats to Sweden. If only this were 18years ago when he was a HUGE tv star. But it's good that more smaller film markets get bigger stars or tackle more serious issues. Gives them a greater chance for success internationally.
19:08 October 2, 2009 by Freyja14
Is there going to any where they will be showing it with English subtitles? I really want to see this movie :)
00:59 October 3, 2009 by justanotherexpat
So an American comes over to Sweden expecting...well....naked Swedish women. I love the way you people play to your own stereotypes. Normally it would be called "self-depcrecating humour" or some other rubbish - but in fact this plays into the hands of people who believe that Swedes are obsessed with sex. I suggest that Swedes are obsessed with incorrect caricatures of themselves. Still, fuels the fires of righteous comtempt doesn't it....

Also, what the merry frig is the point of releasing a film about June 21st at the start of October?! Bizarre.
14:17 October 3, 2009 by Earandur Lissesul
I am just hoping that this Film/DVD is relased with English subtitles. I also want to get Man Som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women) DVD, but to date there are only the four Nordic language subtitles and no English ones, which amazes me. To be quite honest my Swedish at this stage is just not up to the task.This film is based on the Stieg Larsson's Millenium novels, well worth reading.
01:18 October 4, 2009 by Tutu
I suggest that Swedes are obsessed with incorrect caricatures of themselves. - justanotherxpat

I strongly believe that my friend needs a dose of reality, you cannot do anything against the truth but for the truth.
17:06 October 4, 2009 by Noah Lennox
It does seem like the reverse stereotype is stronger: Swedish people thinking that the stereotype of Americans being obsessed with Swedish women is true, whereas most Americans don't have an opinion of Sweden or its people.

It is also surprising that in a cinematic world dominated by American influence, this film chooses to still be partly about the US.
07:04 October 5, 2009 by DaTraveler
Swedes do love to discuss Americans no matter what. Whether it be kids discussing Hannah Montana or teens discussing Justin or Britney or adults discussing Bush, they love to discuss what's going on in the USA.
00:52 October 6, 2009 by potato man

Yeah I have that same problem every time I go to rent a DVD. If its a Swedish or Non English speaking movie there are never any English sub titles. Whats that about? Anyone know?
17:05 October 27, 2009 by Per Fritz
I came to Sweden expecting...well....naked Swedish women but found mostly fully covered muslim women. :-)
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