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Julie Zangenberg – star of new Nordic vampire series Heartless – talks to Live for Films

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Sofie-Nielsen-heartless-187x300Heartless was created by the writer of ‘The Bridge’ and the director of ‘The Killing’, and features a standout performance from Nikolaj Kopernicus (the assassin of ‘The Killing’) alongside Allan Hyde(True Blood), Sebastian Jessen and Julie Christiansen (Borgen), and Julie Zangenberg. As compulsive and violent as The Bridge and as visually stunning as The Killing – Heartless is a sexy mix of teenage vampires and the best of Nordic drama.

A beautiful supernatural thriller set in an elite Danish boarding school. Twins Sofie and Sebastian (Sebastian Jessen and Julie Zangenberg, Borgen) are no ordinary students. They were born with a curse and carry a dark and fatal secret: in order to live, they need to suck the energy out of other people. However, if they don’t stop their sucking in time, their victims will burn to death.

Sofie and Sebastian try to find a way to overcome their curse but their new life at the school does not make it easy for them, especially as they have to contend with other more normal teen emotions. However, the siblings are not the only ones with secrets – a mystery that dates back to the year 1666 emerges, with elements of sin, life, death and mysterious powers.

Heartless is a spellbinding, saucy vampire thriller set against a magnificent backdrop of ancient forests, dark lakes and crumbling country houses. The series launched as a full box set on January 3, 2016, exclusively on All4.com/WalterPresents.

Launched on January 3, 2016, Walter Presents is a brand new on-demand service showcasing the world’s best foreign-language drama. The service will be exclusively available FREE in the UK, via Channel 4’s new digital hub, All 4.

Julie Christensen, who plays Emilie Just, here; and Sebastian Jessen here, but this is the last one with the fantastic Julie Zangenberg.

Julie Zangenberg plays Sofie, a feisty and fiery young woman who is keen to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding her and her twin brother’s parentage and vampirism. Sofie is a tough cookie, never shying from a fight or a smooch, and finds herself at loggerheads with school bully Ditlev, and in a passionate relationship with the headmaster’s daughter, Emilie.

The whole series is available to watch for free right now – which you should totally do because it sizzling, horrifying and addicting – but consider this a spoiler warning.

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Hi Julie! I’m Alan from Live for Films.

Yes! Do that, please do that – Live for Films!

 

Hah. Working on it. It’s lovely to meet you.

You too.

 

I watched all of the show in a couple of days – I really enjoyed it.

Great!


So, first of, what was it like going back to school?

It was great because school wasn’t necessarily for me,  so this was like my high school for me, but where I liked it! People around me had similar interests to me, and it was very, very fun, yeah.

 

The others – Julie and Sebastian – were saying that you guys stayed on the grounds where you filmed. What was that like?

That was good. It gave a feeling that you needed to do a boarding school show. You were there all the time and that affects you. You like to be there, but you also kind of want to leave. Also, I normally do a lot of productions at the same time, so it was nice for me to kind of say “Now I’m here”.

 

There are a couple of things I’m really keen to talk to you about that are character specific to you.

Yeah?

 

One of them is the fencing. How much of that did you get to do yourself, and what was that like?

Well… A lot of it, actually. I try to do as much of my own stunts as I can. Mostly because I think it’s really fun to learn all these crazy things, but I also had a stunt double who was the daughter of one of the biggest stunt guys in Denmark, so she’s really badass! She took some of it, but I tried to do most of it myself.

 

I guess certainly with the fight you have with Ditlev – because that’s quite brutal – that must have been a lot more dangerous.

Yeah. Definitely! And nowadays, with insurance and stuff, any time I want to do stunts myself my team are like “NO. YOU CAN’T”.

 

SIT DOWN.

[laughs] Exactly!

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The other thing I want to ask you about is drowning. You get drowned a lot!

Yesssss.

 

Was that as horrible as it seemed?

Yeah. Well the thing where she gets like “dunked” back in this big tub in the barn, that was horrible to shoot because we couldn’t do it without me getting water in my lungs, and we had such a short amount of time to do it. But that gave something to the entire scene I felt. Also, you know what, for me, I didn’t have a perfect school experience, and some people, some children are mean, and I think with those sorts of scenes it was important to show people who are experiencing bullying – this is of course in the extreme – that the problem isn’t you, as many young people can walk around thinking that it is. That you need to see that this is happening sometimes, the bullying, and that the bullies are the ones who have something wrong with them.

 

Your character, Sofie, has many great scenes in the series but what was our personal favourite? And then I’ll tell you what mine is.

OK! Interesting! Well… Obviously I like the scenes with Julie’s character – Emelie. I think that it’s always fun to play extreme. It’s fun to play hot and cool and tough, but it can be really magical to do an intimate scene with a character that plays your love interest. I feel like a lot of my scenes with Emelie were very… were some of the scenes that I am most proud of doing in this, and Julie – who plays Emelie – is one of my best friends. We’ve done a lot of work together before, so we could go really deep with these sorts of things.

Julie Zangenberg & Julie Christiansen

Julie Zangenberg & Julie Christiansen

One of my favourite scenes is one with you and Emelie. It’s when you’re in the church, and she uses her powers on you for the first time…

Yeah, definitely! It’s funny that you mention that scene, because that scene was so emotional for us because at the time… I was going through a lot of problems in my personal life, and I really had trouble with… I had a “pause” in my relationship, and it was very difficult for me to do that episode because my character was going through what I was in real life – it was getting too real and too close – and I decided that I just needed to go all out, and to put that into the scene. I don’t think I could have done that with any other actress though. It’s because it was with Julie that we could… I gave her permission to say all the things that she knew would hurt me the most about my relationship. There were a lot of her scenes that were similar to her life too, so we could get really like “actress geeky”. It was therapeutic, and it’s something that when we re-watch it we get emotional ourselves.

 

My very last question for you is if you could be killed in any way in one of your movies, how would it be, and what would your last words be?

[long exhale] OK. It would need to be in a big drama, a period piece of some sort… and it doesn’t sound so cool, but something badass, like “BRING IT… TO DEATH!” So to go out hardcore.

 

OK! Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to talk to you today.

Thank you. You too.

 

Heartless is available to watch in full NOW and FREE at All4.com/WalterPresents, the brand new on-demand service showcasing the world’s best foreign-language drama.

If you enjoyed that interview, then check out our other with Julie Zangenberg’s costars Julie Christensen (who plays Emilie) and Sebastian Jessen (who plays Zangenberg’s twin vampire brother).

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