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Talk with Lena

Discussion in 'Open Chat' started by aliaschick820, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. aliaschick820

    aliaschick820 Rocket Ranger

    Mar 4, 2003
    somewhere in NJ
    HOLLYWOOD -- If Lena Olin was keen to plumb the depths of her fame — some 14 years and a dozen films after her American film debut as the sexy bowler-hatted siren in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" — she couldn't have picked a better place than the Catalina Bar & Grill.

    "Sir! Sir!" Ms. Olin called, waving from the corner booth at a harried waiter who was all but ignoring her.

    A protégée of the director Ingmar Bergman and a stage and film star of Garboesque stature in Sweden before she became a sought-after actress in Hollywood, Ms. Olin had just arrived in Los Angeles from her home outside New York City.

    After a five-and-a-half-hour flight, and with a call time of 4:45 a.m. on the set of "Alias," the ABC drama, in which she plays a mysterious spy, Ms. Olin was in serious need of dinner — or at least the plate of nachos and the bottle of Corona beer she had ordered in the Catalina, a Hollywood jazz club, where she had hoped to combine dinner with an old friend, Brooke Atkins, with a chance to catch some live music.

    "I consume music the way other people consume movies," Ms. Olin said. "But this looks like a place that you would go to in Eastern Europe. Like Budapest. It's a little sad, don't you think?"

    The most accomplished Swedish star of her generation and the heir to the reputation her countrywomen Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann as well as Garbo, Ms. Olin is back working in Hollywood after spending the last two years largely at home in Bedford, N.Y., in Westchester County, where she lives with her husband, Lasse Hallstrom (who directed her most recent film, "Chocolat"), and their two children.

    She has returned with her first prime-time role (in "Alias") and three films, including "Hollywood Homicide," co-starring Harrison Ford.

    "I work in bursts — a lot, and then not for a long time," she said.

    But Ms. Olin's return to the Hollywood spotlight was not cutting any ice on this recent evening. As the waiter careened into view, Ms. Olin, a rangy 5-foot-9, jumped into action. "Oh, sir, sir! Did you forget our nachos?" she asked in her Swedish-accented purr.

    A few minutes later nachos and Coronas arrived. Ms. Olin began to catch up with Ms. Atkins, her former personal assistant and now a close friend, who bears a striking resemblance to her. "People think she's my sister," Ms. Olin said.

    When the singer Steve Tyrell took the stage and began a rollicking rendition of "I've Got the World on a String," Ms. Olin nodded her head to the beat. "Oh, they are very good," she said, sounding slightly surprised.

    But she didn't stay long. Less than an hour later, Ms. Olin and Ms. Atkins were ensconced at a corner table at Lucques, a chic West Hollywood restaurant. "My favorite thing to do is eat and eat well," said Ms. Olin, studying the menu. "The reed avocado sounds interesting. And the steak — do you want to share that?" she asked Ms. Atkins. Steak it was. "And a nice glass of chardonnay," Ms. Olin added.

    Ms. Olin worked her way through dinner while engaged in a rambling discussion of her career and her decision to emigrate to the United States seven years ago with an energy that belied her 46 years and her cross-country flight.

    In fact, Ms. Olin's conversation picked up speed as the evening hurtled toward midnight and the steak dwindled to a pile of bones. Finally, she pushed her plate aside, unwound her skein of hair and took a last sip of wine. Whether it was the meal, the late hour and the candlelight, she seemed a woman utterly without regret.


    "I've always been limited by being European," she said. "An American accent would have been worth a lot to me, but there is no European actor who didn't grow up here who can get away with it." She paused and shook her head and then raised her face in the light. "But even if I didn't have an accent, even if I spoke English perfectly, people say I still have a European quality."

    They say it, and they couldn't be more right.
    :D ;)
  2. Irina Bristow

    Irina Bristow Rocket Ranger

    I recall reading this interview here, it's a wonderful site, probably the best Lena Olin site I have had the time to visit. There are a few other interview pieces, as well as quotes, pictures, etc...
  3. alias8000

    alias8000 Rocket Ranger

    May 26, 2003
    I checked the site out! It's SO cool! :)

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