Mireille Enos is well aware that to Britons there’s only one Sarah Lund. And she’s not it. So when she was asked to play Sarah Linden in the American version of The Killing, her tactic was an actor’s version of sticking your fingers in your ears and humming loudly.
“I wasn’t aware of the Danish series when I was sent the script. And after I read it and loved it so much, I actually stayed away from the Danish series because I’d heard she was so incredible and I didn’t want to be haunted by her. I’ve seen the face of the actress and I think we fall in to the same category, but other than that I haven’t had any contact.”
If she’s seen the stills that means she knows about the original series’ prime sartorial icon. “The sweater? Yeah, I have my own version. Although I think I get to change my sweater a little more often that she did. But it’s still an icon – I’ve got an eight-month-old baby and fans sent her a little tiny version of the sweater.”
From that remark, and with a little bit of counting backwards, it becomes apparent that Enos was pregnant when she was offered the part. She concedes she wasn’t looking for a long-term commitment at the time but says that Linden/Lund was a once-in-a-lifetime role.
“Roles like this for women just don’t come along. She’s a complete human being. I think what happens with women in television is that they become two-dimensional plot facilitators. They’re either the nagging wife or the beautiful secretary.
“It’s hard to find a role that just allows a woman to be fully fleshed out and not always beautiful but likeable in spite of herself. The husband of a friend of mine is a cop and his comment was, ‘Thank you for portraying a cop how they actually look.’ Cause you tend to see them in pencil skirts and full make-up.”
This new version of The Killing has been a critical hit in the US, but to be blunt: why should anyone who’s watched, and loved, the Danish original, watch it all over again?
“Because it isn’t the exact same show. My partner, Holder, he’s a new creation. He bares no resemblance to the character in the Danish series. And I think that’s also true about the mother character (played by Michelle Forbes). Let me put it this way: it feels like another novel by an author that you’re crazy about. It’s the same flavour but the story actually goes different places.”
And even if that doesn’t pique your interest, this will: “Our showrunner has said it would be fun, if we get a second or third season, to have Sofie Grabol [who played Lund] come and do a cameo where the two of us end up in the same room for a moment. That’d be great for the British fans, right?”