Mikael Persbrandt no longer Beck’s sidekick Gunvald
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- The Swedish actor, soon to be seen in three international features, leaves the Beck TV series after almost 20 years
Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt – who won a Guldbagge for his latest performance in a local feature, Kjell-Åke Andersson’s 2013 drama Nobody Owns Me [+see also:
film profile] – has this month said goodbye to one of his most faithful characters. After featuring in 31 TV films since 1997, aired by Swedish commercial broadcaster TV4, Gunvald has made his departure from the Beck thriller series, originally based on Swedish authors Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö’s ten-volume Novel on a Crime (1965-1975), since scripted by Swedish screenwriters Rolf and Cecilia Börjlind (between 1997 and 2010), among others.
One of the lead characters, detective Gunvald Larsson – detective commissioner Martin Beck’s sidekick – was added by the original authors: “Beck and his colleague Lennart Kollberg were friends; they were very close, always thinking in the same way. It was too cute, so we thought we would find a more challenging workmate for him,” Sjöwall told Sweden’s DN.
But was Larsson any good? “In the fictional world, he was a very good policeman,” opined Rolf Börjlind. “But in the real world, he would have been kicked out after day one in the job – this is not really the way to behave,” concluded Sjöwall. In the TV series, he has been replaced by Kristofer Hivju in the role of Steinar Hovland, who also appears in the first books.
Meanwhile, Persbrandt has performed in three international productions: he plays UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in US director Richie Smyth’s Jadotville, an SS officer in Swiss director Vincent Perez’s World War II drama Alone in Berlin [+see also:
film profile], and he has also joined UK director Guy Ritchie’shistorical adventure Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur (which has just postponed its premiere until February 2017).