Interrogating Inspector Wallander

Bild, 2 June 2009
By Christian Henning
**Thanks Lyn (translated by Renata)

During Pentecost ARD showed the three films of [the books] Sidetracked, Firewall and One Step Behind, by Henning Mankell. BILD spoke to Inspector Wallander-actor Kenneth Branagh about his father, death and religion.

What do you like about Kurt Wallander?

I like the fact that he is earnestly searching for the meaning of life. Not that he always goes about it in the smartest way. His life is measured in small moments of cheerfulness. Wallander is not depressed but he often asks himself what the world has come to. Wallander is always annihilated when he sees a dead body. He doesn't maintain a distance which is why he gets so drawn in, but that isn't good for him.

You embodied the depressive Inspector Wallander three times for 90 minutes. Wasn't that stressful?

Playing Wallander is emtionally grueling. If you were to ask Wallander if he is an emotional man he would probably answer no. But he actually is! He is an open wound; my father was the same. A very emotional man who cried at every little thing. Which is perfectly okay. He tried unsuccessfully to hide it. Not for macho reasons, he just thought it was the proper behaviour.

You are turning 50 next year. Do you think about that?

Natasha Richardson recently died accidentally; nowadays I think more often about the fact that something could get me anytime and anywhere. The roulette wheel of life. Quite honestly, I hope I make it to 50. Who knows what God still has in store for me.

Perhaps children.

Perhaps there will still be some, I like children. But I have nothing planned.

How young do you feel?

A friend said "I've turned 60 and I still feel like 16. I only get a shock when I see that old man in the mirror." And it's the same for me. I feel as young as ever. Fifty seems absurd to me. Maybe one day I'll reach an age when when I'm supposed to sit around in slippers with a pipe, but those slippers simply don't fit.

Are you a religious person?

I'm not a believer in the classic sense, but I am interested in religions, I meditate and I believe in communication with higher beings. At the very second that I'm saying this I realise how ludicrous it sounds. But I know what I mean by it, and that's easier than talking about it.

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