Kristofer Hivju talked with us about his passion project, Twin, at the Sundance premiere of Downhill, that Witcher rumor, and much more.
Famous for Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones, there’s no mistaking Norwegian-born Kristofer Hivju anywhere. And true to form, he showed up for the interview with his bushy red beard, where we talked about the Downhill movie premiere, playing the dual role of twins what he thought of the final season of Game of Thrones, and where he stands on the television series Vikings.
Kristofer Hivju has a guest part in the new Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus movie, Downhill, a remake of the critically acclaimed Swedish original, Force Majeure, which the charismatic actor starred in originally. The role Hivju played in Majeure has now been taken over by Silicon Valley’s Zach Woods, with the Game of Thrones‘ star providing a very memorable guest spot in the movie, one of the funnier bits in the film. I asked Hivju about acting in Downhill after starring in Force Majeure.
Hidden Remote: So how was the experience coming from Force Majeure and now Downhill?
Kristofer Hivju: It was a bit strange joining the same story in a different role. But still, I love what they did with the script. It has the same premise, the same thing happening, but it’s happening to different characters. I think they are so different, you can experience the same horrible thing in a new fresh way, in an American way.
It was fantastic to be a part of it.
And it has some twists and turns that [Force Majeure] doesn’t have. And Force Majeure has some other scenes and debates that’s not in this. But so, I think they have managed to portray the same story in its unique way, and that’s not an easy film to remake.
HR: Zach Woods is playing the role you did in Force Majeure. Did you have any pointers for him for Downhill?
KH: No need. No, it’s not even my character, it’s another story. He has this other arch, and he relates to it. There are similarities. Like he’s trying to help his friend, his colleague, right, but his arguments, and way to help is different, and very funny.
HR: Downhill takes place at a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Do you ski?
KH: I snowboard and ski. Well, it’s been a while, but you know it’s a dangerous game.
HR: For audiences coming to Downhill, what do you hope they’ll get out to the film?
KH: Well, I think it has a big emotional impact, and I think it has a dilemma that is almost insolvable. And I think if you manage to get a good conversation, after that, it can help your relationship in a new way.
HR: Speaking of audience reactions, what did you think of the last season of Game of Thrones?
KH: I loved it. I think if you had been following the show closely, you would understand that there will never be an ending that would satisfy you where the hero wins and the good guys are good. I remember when we read it on the reading rehearsal, it blew our minds.
But you know, the format changed a bit. You know, they had longer episodes and stuff like that. I think last season should be watched as a feature on a 70, on a big, big screen.
Kristofer Hivju’s next project is a series. He will be starring in Twin, a passion project he co-created with Kirstoffer Metcalfe—who also directs the series, for Nordic streaming platform MHz Choice.
HR: Tell me about your new series, Twin, coming out in February.
KH: It’s a passion project I worked on for decades, 13 years ago, and the last five years we’ve constantly been working toward it.
Hivju portrays both twin brothers, Adam and Erik on T’win.’ The estranged siblings may look similar, but are polar opposites in terms of personalities.
HR: Tell me how MHz Choice’s Twin came about.
KH: The idea we fell in love with was that we have two twin brothers. And the idea was that we take away one of them. One of them dies. The other one has this ladies’ life. That was very often used as a comic premise, but we wanted to take it very seriously, so we created two characters where one is the surfer boy, always doing cold water surfing.
And, he’s a very irresponsible guy who owes everybody money; it’s just a big chaos. But he hasn’t seen his brother for 15 years because of something in the past. [The other brother] lives somewhere close but with a family, he runs a resort for tourists, there are kids, and [he has] a Volvo (laughs).
HR: The Norwegian thriller, Twin, takes place against a breathtaking landscape. Can you set the stage?
KH: You have the huge mountains and you have the sea straight in.
And then when the responsible brother loses everything in his life, he tries to help his brother, it ends up with the quarrel and he dies, and the thing is that when the police find the body, they think it is the [other] brother [who’s guilty]. So, they could say what happened, but it was an accident, and it’s impossible to prove.
So, it ended up being more dramatic. I’m very proud of that show and I’m really looking forward to the American audience reaction.
HR: Being from Norway, do you watch Vikings?
KH: Vikings, yeah. I haven’t finished it yet but don’t spoil it.
HR: How historically accurate do you think History Channel’s Vikings is?
KH: Nobody knows. Because nobody was there. I know there was some criticism about that, but I think whatever you do, you will always get criticized by some historians, about what was right and wrong, and I don’t think their aim was to make it identical to the times. I think they took the culture and the way of thinking, and then they’re based on a true story. But I’m from Norway so I grew up with the sagas and everything. I have my view on how it all works. But who knows?
HR: Game of Thrones, Twin, Downhill, every single project you work on seems to be in a very cold environment. Wouldn’t it be nice to just like, work on a beach movie?
KH: Wouldn’t that be nice? Yeah, take a nice break, definitely (laughing).
HR: Last question, regarding the rumors, are you joining The Witcher for season 2?
KH: I can’t comment, but I love the show.
Sorry, folks, I tried, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s joining, evidenced by this post.
Downhill will be in theaters in time for Valentine’s Day, February 14. Twin is out on MHz Choice streaming service, starting Feb 4, and dropping episodes on a weekly basis. Although there’s no confirmation of his role yet, The Witcher S2 will air in 2021 sometime (keep our fingers crossed he has an official role in it).