Norwegian actor Anders Danielsen Lie will be busy in Cannes with two films world premiering in Competition. It’s not a new phenomenon for onscreen talent to be supporting various movies, but Lie stands out as likely the only professional actor who will be heading to the Palais while taking time off from his other job as a full-time physician: the doctor has lately been working with the Covid-19 vaccination program in Oslo, and has for years straddled both callings.
In a case of art imitating life, Lie says he feels a little bit like the main character in one of his Cannes movies, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World—the closing chapter of the director’s Oslo trilogy after Reprise (2006) and 2011’s Oslo, August 31 (Lie appeared in all three).
In this latest, Lie co-stars with Renate Reinsve, who plays Julie, a woman on the cusp of 30. “She has reached a point in her life where she has to make all the important decisions,” says Lie. “She is a talented, smart woman who was privileged enough to postpone all those choices.”
For Lie, the line between medicine and acting “is a choice I should have made many years ago, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to make that choice yet, so this creates some challenges for me every now and then, on both sides.”
Lie also works abroad, and he’ll have French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island in Competition as well this year. He won’t reveal much about his role, to spare spoilers,
but says the film’s location, the island of Fårö, was a meditative experience. “It was special and unique to shoot a film in all the places where Ingmar Bergman shot, particularly when you know how blurry the lines were between his private life and his artistic life.”
Lie, who in 2018 portrayed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik in Paul Greengrass’s harrowing Netflix film 22 July, says he would “love” to do more U.S. projects. But the pandemic and his obligations as a doctor have clearly complicated things of late.
“It’s hard to plan a life because working as a doctor and working as an actor are both such time-consuming occupations. It was never the plan, but it’s been very meaningful at times too. Maybe I have some different perspectives that not all actors have. I feel like I have a foot in the real world; I’ve met many people in difficult situations and I feel that I’ve learned a lot about acting from practicing as a doctor.”
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