Profile: Aksel Hennie - star of Jo Nesbo's Headhunters
Norwegian actor from for Max Manus: Man of War and Age of Heroes
29 October, 1975, Oslo
Aksel is a popular Norwegian actor, writer and director who was once arrested and sentenced for tagging during his late teens. The experience helped to inform one of his films, Uno, which he wrote, directed and starred in, and which won him Norway’s Amanda Award for best direction. Although predominantly based in Norway, he has found international success with roles in Max Manus: Man of War and Age of Heroes (alongside Sean Bean). He can currently be seen as Roger Brown, the put-upon anti-hero in the film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters.
On getting to grips with his character
‘After four or five pages [of the script] I hated him! I really hated his guts. He steals and cheats but after six pages, when he starts to have problems, he starts to get human and I began to like him and then I loved him and rooted for him. And then I wanted to be like him when the movie was done. And that’s how a good protagonist should be.’
On being submerged in ‘excrement’ for the film’s memorable toilet scene
‘Everybody was waiting for that scene. On one of the days we shot it – and we shot it numerous times from all kinds of angles – we had all the press you could imagine from Norway there. But it was fun. It’s just a mix of granola, olive oil, breadcrumbs, chocolate mousse, chocolate soufflé, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and then a lot of coffee, which led to my girlfriend not drinking coffee for one year afterwards because I came to bed each night smelling of it!’
On getting international recognition
‘Right now, the buzz is great. To be me in LA right now is good. I’ve just got management, a talent agency and people seem to love the movie. Mark Wahlberg just came out and said: “I love Headhunters. I want to remake it!” It’s cool. Mark Wahlberg is one of my idols.’
Aksel did all of his own stunts in the film and almost broke his collar bone during a fight scene with Julie Olgaard.
Headhunters is on general release from Fri 6 April.