‘The Killing’ Star Sofie Grabol Says Her Danish Breakout Redefined “National & Linguistic Borders” For TV


The Killing star Sofie Gråbøl has reflected on how her Danish breakout series redefined “national and linguistic borders” when it came to TV viewing.

Gråbøl spoke with Deadline in the midst of her time leading the Canneseries jury, for which she is judging shows from the likes of China, Brazil and Sweden.

The Killing, which was a smash hit both locally in Denmark and around the world, airing for three seasons between 2007 and 2012 and spawning a U.S. remake, “was a defining moment and a visceral way of showing how TV series can be accessible for all of us,” she said.

“It was something we couldn’t imagine [at the time],” added Gråbøl. “That something so local from this small country could have such interest across the border. We had been so used to importing culture from other countries but suddenly those national and linguistic borders weren’t defined anymore.”

The BAFTA-winning series featured Gråbøl as Detective Inspector Sarah Lund, following a murder case day-by-day through the entirety of the season and often placing emphasis on the stories of the murdered victim’s family and happenings in political circles. It aired 40 episodes and was remade by AMC with Sarah Linden.

Gråbøl is sitting on a jury with the likes of director Olivier Abbou, actors Alice Braga, Macarena García and Alix Poisson and a musician, Amine Bouhafa.

She still had two shows to review when Deadline spoke with her but said the collection of series including Denmark’s Dark Horse, Euro co-pro This is Not Sweden and Beta Film’s Operation Sabre “reveal things [about society] and expose or manifest.”

“That is a way in which TV has brought the world together in the sense that I can sit in my country and watch stories from all over the world,” she added, noting that she had never seen a Chinese show before watching competition project To Wonder about a girl determined to pursue her literary dream in a big city.

“When I was young you had to be very alert and go to a special cinema if you wanted a sense of the not-so-dominant cultural expressions, and that has really changed with TV series. The selected series reflect that.”

“There were milestones but they were lonely”

Gråbøl pointed to progress made over the past two decades in terms of global respect for TV.

“Twenty years ago it wasn’t really considered anything,” she said. “You had Twin Peaks and Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom, so there were milestones but they were lonely. When I started, TV series were looked down on. When someone asked me what I was doing I would say, ‘Oh, it’s just TV, it’s nothing’.”

Her comments came a few days after Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan spoke of the “stigma attached to TV” before he boarded David Lynch’s cult 1990s series.

With her fellow jury members, Gråbøl said she is having “interesting discussions and exchanges of experience and perception.”

“I guess that is the essence of why I think TV series have become such a powerful art form,” she added. “The older I get, I really recognize the importance of exchanging our stories, to be wiser not only on who other people are and the world we live in but also who we are. It sounds banal but I think it’s more important than ever.”

The winning show will be unveiled tomorrow night at a ceremony in Cannes. Out of competition, big streamer shows including Becoming Karl Lagerfeld, Franklin and Fallout starring Daniel Brühl, Michael Douglas and MacLachlan respectively are airing at Canneseries.

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