The actress looks back on her travel trials and triumphs
Hans Christian Andersen travelled a lot and famously said: “To travel is to live.”
Obviously, it was a different time when he was alive but I think that’s very true in the sense that, when you travel, it’s an awakening of all your senses.
I haven’t travelled outside Denmark since filming Us last year
Normally, my family and I go for some sort of summer holiday but my son has a fear of flying so we haven’t gone anywhere by plane for years. We often end up in Italy or France, since they are within reach.
I have a special love for Italy because I went there a lot when I was young
There was a time in my youth when I was very much into St Francis [of Assisi]. I studied his writings at university, and I remember going to Assisi in Umbria and really enjoying discovering it from that historic perspective.
Filming in Venice was such a treat during the production of Us
My scenes were shot outside the Santa Maria della Salute church – a beautiful waterside building depicted in many paintings. I spent several days just wandering around the city. I hadn’t been to Venice since my first Interrailing trip back in 1984 or 1985, when I was 17, with my boyfriend.
I’ve always travelled a great deal
It’s almost something you have to do as a Dane. We all travel every summer, which is absurd. Our winter is so long and dark and gloomy but when summer comes, it’s magical. And yet, we all leave and go south, where it’s always way too hot!
I grew up in the 1970s and because my family didn’t have a summer house, my mother took us travelling a lot.
All my childhood, I dreamt of a holiday by the beach because we frequently went on active vacations: canoeing in Sweden, skiing in Norway, as well as a lot of cycling holidays, which I hated. I remember on one such trip, when I was nine or 10, I struggled to get up a gigantic hill near Bath. It was just so hard and they had to lure me with candy: “If you go up that hill, you will get this lollipop.”
When I was 14, I begged my stepfather to take me somewhere warm
We hitchhiked to Greece. Everything went wrong, so it was a little bit like the story of Us. We came home exhausted. Now that I’m a parent myself, I totally understand that a trip like that provides you with some real moments of adventure. My childhood was filled with instances of things happening spontaneously.
The most remote place I've been was Svalbard while filming the last season of Fortitude.
I had two days there. I would love to go back as a tourist because it’s one of the most incredible travelling experiences I’ve had. It’s like a different planet, so beautiful, so vast and so gorgeous. It was a very powerful encounter with nature and I would recommend a visit. Obviously, it’s so cold that it’s hard to explain that feeling of being in such low temperatures – it was very challenging for the film crew.
The interesting thing about this summer was that my own home city of Copenhagen suddenly became exotic
It changed so rapidly when everything locked down. All the tourists were gone. All the cars were gone. It was quiet and I suddenly noticed my own neighbourhood for a change. It was that feeling you get when you travel, of seeing things properly and looking at buildings in awe.
I hate packing intensely because I am so bad at it
I pack too much and get this fear that I’ll forget something – even though you can always buy stuff wherever you go.
I want to revisit Japan because it has significance for me
I was there for five weeks with the father of my kids before we became parents, and it made a deep impression. For such a modern society, Japan is deeply connected to its ancient roots. I want to go to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, because I love Japanese animated films. I’ve never been to India or China, so I’d like to go to those places.
There are so many beautiful little islands in Denmark
We have hundreds and hundreds. Aeroe, in the south, is especially lovely.
The British are fascinated by Nordic Noir
Otherwise known as the dark season, where people are inside and it’s cosy in a very Danish way. But the truth is, we become more like Italians in the summer. As soon as we get a little bit of light and warmth, the city opens up. In Copenhagen, where I am from, the canals and harbours have been clean for a decade, so you can actually swim in them. That has completely changed the vibe of the city in the summer. It is really something special to experience.
Interview by Roz Lewis
Us continues on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm. All episodes are now available to watch on BBC iPlayer. The Undoing will be available on Sky Atlantic and Now TV from Oct 26