Sidse Babett Knudsen, European magnetism

The name Sidse Babett Knudsen may not mean anything to you, yet you have already seen her face. The Danish actress has no borders and is exported internationally. Especially in France, a country whose influence of the seventh art she admires, and which was the scene of her first years as an actress.

Sidse Babett Knudsen is the main heroine of the drama and political series Borgen – A woman in power, whose last season has been available on Netflix since June 2, 2022. An unexpected return for fans of this Danish production. And the opportunity, for those who do not know her yet, to catch up and discover this immense actress.

A childhood in dark rooms

It was at the age of eight that Sidse Babett Knudsen had a revelation: she wanted to become an actress. His uncle is a projectionist in a cinema and participates in his discovery of many works. After school, she sometimes rediscovers the same film several times over and over, jumping “from theater to theater”, she describes in the show. 28 minutes on Art, May 3, 2022.

“I knew I wanted to be part of this world, I don’t remember having had another desire, or even asking myself to do something else. As a teenager, I imagined myself as the heroine of Tennessee Williams [dramaturge et auteur américain, ndlr]I loved these women who crack, scream, lie, try to save themselves”, she confided in 2015 in Telerama.

Before his international career, the talent of Sidse Babett Knudsen was recognized many times. Twice, she received the Bodil for best actress, the Danish equivalent of the César, in 1998 with the comedy Let’s Get Lost, directed by Jonas Elmer. For this film, the actors had to improvise a lot of their dialogues, an art that the actress considers to have little mastery at the time. And yet, his performance is acclaimed.

Then in 2000, for the romantic comedy by Susanne Bier The One and Onlyin which she plays the main role.

The power of Borgen

The role of her life is, for now, that of Birgitte Nyborg, the first Danish Prime Minister in the series Borgen. Broadcast for the first time in 2010, it quickly became essential in Denmark, where television channels broadcast more “reality TV” rather than “strong female roles”, she believes to the Guardian.

Then it is also exported to Europe, and internationally, to be sold in almost 200 countries. It is this production that “allows her to cross the Danish border”, explains the actress with piercing blue eyes in a Telerama. In 2012, Borgen wins the BAFTA award for best foreign series.

Also successful in France, where art offers the program first, the first three seasons, from 2012. Ten years later, the series benefits from a sequel that was no longer expected, a fourth season available this time on Netflix, from June 2022.

A “good idea” was the sine qua non for resuming Birgitte Nyborg’s costume. This is how we find the female politician who must this time come to terms with the challenges of a constantly changing society, and her own body which is also changing. The new section, still just as feminist, thus deals, among other things, with menopause and ecology.

The success of Borgen, neither she nor the production team saw it coming that big. “It’s a show about politics in Denmark,” she roughly sums up the Guardian. In addition, shot in Danish, underlines the actress, who has fun: “You can’t seduce anyone in Danish, it sounds like you’re throwing up.”

Sidse Babett Knudsen also speaks French and English with an impeccable accent. Born in Copenhagen on November 22, 1968, the actress grew up far from her native Scandinavian country, in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, with her two brothers, Lasse and Niclas. His father was a photographer, his mother a teacher.

An almost French actress

France, she knows it well and even lived there for six years. In 1987, at the age of 18, she moved to Paris to become an au pair. At the same time, she took classes at the Jacques Lecoq International Theater and Mime School, but also at the Shadow Theater School between 1987 and 1990.

Several French directors have trusted him. Christian Vincent grime her as a dental surgeon, who has become a juror for a homicide case. We discover her through the loving eyes of Fabrice Lucchini, with whom she shares the poster. ermineher first French film, won her the César for Best Supporting Actress in 2016.

The same year, she electrifies in Brest’s daughter, the moving biopic of Irène Frachon, a doctor who revealed the Mediator scandal in 2010. Sidse was chosen in extremis by director Emmanuelle Bercot to play this combative woman in her war against a pharmaceutical giant.

“I couldn’t find any actress in France to play Irene. They were too well known, too glamorous, not cash enough. I almost gave up the project,” confided the director to Marie Claire. It was finally on the advice of Catherine Deneuve that Emmanuelle Bercot discovered Sidse Babett Knudsen. And the magic worked.

When the filmmaker contacted her, Sidse couldn’t believe her ears: “I said to myself that there was confusion, I couldn’t play a girl from Brest. I thought it was because of my first name. Babett, that she must have been wrong”, said the actress in an interview for premiere.

In 2022, we find her on the bill of Limbo, sensitive comedy in which she plays a somewhat wacky “behavior” teacher, who teaches young migrants who have arrived in Scotland from all over the world.

Boss roles, a desire for pathos

Sidse Babett Knudsen’s entire film career is littered with towering female roles. That she plays a demanding CEO in the dystopian sci-fi series Westworld, from the science fiction film Worldwest and adapted by JJ Abrams, or even an amateur lesbian of SM in The Duke of Burgundy (2014). However, the actress would sign many “weaker” characters, to “try something else”, she admits. “In reality, I really like pathetic roles,” the Dane once again confided to the Guardian.

If her own body is sometimes a full subject of her productions, Sidse Babett Knudsen is not ready to show too much on the screen. “I can’t help but look at someone naked and think, ‘Oh, that’s what the real actress looks like! Oh, she’s got great tits,’ or, ‘Her knees have a funny look. I don’t want people to walk away from my role thinking that about me. I think that’s what causes nudity, “she says.

In addition, the actress remains very discreet about her private life. She would be single and mother of a boy born in 2004 and named Louis Ray.

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Sidse Babett Knudsen, European magnetism