Interview: Melinda Kinnaman – 'Modus is about how far you are willing to go to protect your secrets'

Interview: Melinda Kinnaman – 'Modus is about how far you are willing to go to protect your secrets'

Left: Melinda Kinnaman

Swedish actor discusses working with Kim Cattrall and Greg Wise on the second season of Nordic noir Modus

Joining the ranks of quality Scandinavian crime imports, Modus revolves around detective Ingvar Nyman (Henrik Norlén) and police psychological profiler Inger Vik (Melinda Kinnaman). The second season has an international flavour as Kim Cattrall joins the cast as the US President who goes missing during a State visit to Sweden.

Kinnamen has a strong stage background and has been with the Swedish National Theatre since 1994, but the actress has also starred in many prestigious Swedish films and television productions, including Lasse Hallström's My Life As a Dog and the third series of The Bridge. We caught up with her just before she heads to the Berlin Film Festival to promote Gordon & Paddy (an animated Swedish movie where she plays a mouse) to find out more about season two of Modus.

What can you tell us about the premise of the second season of Modus?
The American President is visiting Sweden and she disappears. We have no idea if she went on her own or if she was kidnapped. That's the outer plot but there's also this situation with Inger who is forced to work with an old colleague and lover who she never wanted to see again because their relationship ended in assault and she hasn't really dealt with that, even her partner doesn't know about it, so she's confronted by old, painful experiences. It also turns out the President has her own secrets that she wants to protect. So a lot of it is about how far you are willing to go to protect your secrets.

How has your character's relationship with Ingvar changed in this season?
Our relationship has really taken a leap, we're together and we're going to have a baby but right now things are getting very threatened and difficult for both of them but I can't say too much of course. Henrik [Norlén] is such a good actor, I feel very safe with him.

Your old colleague / lover is played by Greg Wise. You have some pretty difficult scenes together, what was that like?
I loved working with him. He's so daring and very generous and a lot of fun. He has that wonderful mixture of playfulness and total commitment to the role. We wanted to make it as complex as possible as she has very strong and very mixed contradictory feelings towards him.

And, of course, Kim Cattrall plays the American President. Did you enjoy working with her?
So much, I probably work more with her than anyone else in the series. She's just wonderful. I didn't know what to expect working with a big star like that but she was such a dedicated, intelligent, funny, warm, generous person. I really really loved working with her and she's such a good actor. We had a lot of in-depth talks about our characters and the storyline with the director, and that was fantastic. Our first week of filming, I can't give too much away but we were in this horrible place, it was so disgusting and dirty – it was my last week of filming before I took a week off to have my baby, I was nine months pregnant – the rest of the crew had masks on because the air was so horrible, but we couldn't because we were in front of the camera. But it was kind of nice to meet under those circumstances because you don't have anything to live up to because everything is so miserable. But her humour came out more and more, she's very funny, we had a lot of good laughs. I'd love to work with her again.

Why do you think Nordic noir has become so popular across the world?
I have to say there are also a lot of crime stories made in Scandinavia that aren't so good [laughs] you only get to see the best. There's so much now as an actor you're like 'oh not another police drama' but I think it comes down to really good stories with interesting complex characters.

Finally will there be a third season?
We hope there will be a third and last season. The decision hasn't been made, we need the money on board, but we all hope we can do it.

Modus is currently screening on BBC Four, Saturday nights at 9pm.