Swedish legend set to star in hit fantasy series

Swedish veteran actor Max von Sydow has signed on for a role in the sixth season of the wildly popular Game of Thrones fantasy series, according to a US movie magazine.

Swedish legend set to star in hit fantasy series
Swedish actor Max von Sydow. Photo: AP Photo/Gero Breloer

Filming is currently under way for the sixth season of Game of Thrones, set to feature an appearance by the 86-year-old Swedish actor, reports Entertainment Weekly.

Silver-screen legend Von Sydow is going to play the part of the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven, according to the magazine. As avid fans of the series will know, the character briefly appeared in the season four finale, then portrayed by a different actor.

But Swedish viewers will have to wait to catch a glimpse of the actor. The fifth season of the HBO series is scheduled to be broadcast by SVT next year.

In any case, von Sydow's presence is set to add another bit of Nordic flair to the fantasy series, which has already seen appearances by a number of Danish and Norwegian actors.

One of Sweden's most famous names, von Sydow has starred in big screen hits such as 'The Exorcist' and challenged Death to a game of chess in Ingmar Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal'.

But the 86-year-old has far from hung up his boots. He is also set to star in the upcoming and much-anticipated new instalment of Star Wars.

Born in Lund in southern Sweden, von Sydow now lives in France with his wife of 18 years, Catherine Brelet.

The Local has contacted von Sydow's agent for a comment.

IN PICTURES: How Game of Thrones is based on Sweden

It has been a busy year for Swedish actors. Earlier this summer The Local could report that rising supernova Alicia Vikander was set to star opposite Matt Damon in the fifth Jason Bourne film.

“It's true and it's great,” her agent confirmed at the time.

And just last week Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson was praised by US media for her performance in the new 'Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation' – as well as by her co-star and superstar Tom Cruise.

“Her character is mysterious, powerful and wonderful,” he told reporters.


How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

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The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.