Ólafur Darri Ólafsson: 'Like every small town there's a lot going on that you won't notice until you start looking under rocks'

Ólafur Darri Ólafsson: 'Like every small town there's a lot going on that you won't notice until you start looking under rocks'

Dark Icelandic thriller Trapped returns for a second season

Trapped very successfully tapped into the rich vein of Nordic Noir. An Icelandic thriller set in a remote windswept town cut off from the rest of the world by a monumental storm. Chief police inspector Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) desperately trying to solve a grisly mystery while battling the elements. A dark and claustrophobic series set in almost perpetual darkness.

Now Trapped has returned for another season, and though the blizzard may have passed, there's another series of horrific attacks and murders for Ólafsson to contend with.

Since Trapped premiered in 2015, man mountain Ólafsson has gone on to star in some of the biggest blockbuster hits of the last few years with roles in The BFG, The Meg, Fantastic Beats: The Crimes of Grindelwald and How to Train Your Dragon 3.

We caught up with Ólafsson in Reykjavik to find out more about Trapped season 2.

What can you tell us about season 2 of Trapped?
I remember reading the script and I was only a few pages in when something happens, and I was like 'whoa'. I don't want to give anything away but it's really quite dramatic. That case leads Andri back up north and connects him with his old friend. He has a strained relationship with his family, especially his daughter as they try to deal with her becoming a teenager and questioning his authority. And like every small town there's a lot going on that you won't notice until you start looking under rocks. There's a family drama at the centre of the story, there are environmental concerns, the oil industry, and into nationalism and culture.

How did you first get involved with Trapped?
The creator of the show, Baltasar Kormákur had worked with me quite a bit in film and theatre, and I remember him taking me out for a cup of coffee and he told me he was working on a series with me in the lead and that was a couple of years before we started the first season. Kormákur knew he could write something great but I don't think he would have predicted how far it's travelled and how well it's gone down.

Did you ever think Trapped would reach such a wide global audience?
No. I know that it was always Kormákur's vision to try and emulate the success of The Bridge or Borgen or The Killing, and you have to give credit to the Danes who really put Scandinavian TV on the map. So I think that was always Kormákur's aim but if you had told me so many people would watch it in Britain or France or Germany and all over the world I don't think I would have believed you. Also just to present something to the world in Icelandic, it's incredible that people are watching something in a language that is only spoken by about 350,000 people.

Will there be a third series?
I'm going to lunch with the writer today. I think everyone wants to make it, I certainly would and I'm kind of hoping we do four seasons, that's always been my wish. But if we can't figure out a good story outline and progression for our characters we won't make them, but I'm not worried about that. With the quality of the writing staff on this I'm really sure we can make at least one if not two more seasons of Trapped.

Do you enjoy the fact that in TV you spend so much longer playing one character?
I absolutely love it. I think he is a fun character for anyone to play. For me it's been such a pleasure to play him, he's a complex person but he has a sense of justice and fairness, and I admire him for that. It was so much fun to come back and not only get to be Andri again but spend time with Ilmur [Kristjánsdóttir], who plays Hinrika, and Ingvar [Eggert Sigurðsson], who plays Ásgeir, and all the great people who work on the series.

How has working in Iceland compared with working on big budget American productions?
My experience for the most part has been that it's the same type of people working in the industry, especially in the crew, they seem to be drawn to being part of something. The biggest difference is aboard they tend to have more money.

I just love films and any time you get to see a film with a good story, no matter how much money you have for visual effects, if the story isn't good it won't be a good film. I feel so privileged to have been part of these films. Fantastic Beats, to in any way be associated with that world was amazing, especially having been such a huge fan of JK Rowling for such a long time, it's one of those things I never would have dreamt of being a part of.

What are you working on next?
The next thing I have coming out is an American series called NOS4R2. It's based on a book by Joe Hill, which is premiering in June. I'm imagining if that goes down well we'll start working on season 2.

Trapped Season 2 is out on DVD on Mon 1 Apr via Arrow TV.