Icelandic actress Heiða Rún Sigurðardóttir, better known as Heida Reed, will be starring in the new Icelandic TV crime-series Stella Blómkvist which will premier in Sjónvarp Símans (Iceland Telecom’s TV) tonight, Friday November 24th. Heiða is well-known for her role as Elizabeth Warleggan in the hugely popular BBC-series Poldark but this is her first time as the lead in TV-series. Playing the sassy detective Stella was a treat for her, she says, and she wishes that she was more like her character in some aspects.
Heiða has been living in London for 11 years where she is now working on the fourth series of Poldark but London is only a phone call away and we called her to ask about Stella Blómkvist and her experience filming the series. The first question was how it came about that she got this coveted part.
“The guys at Saga Film contacted me two years ago and I auditioned for the part, but it took more than a year for them to decide to let me play it,” she says laughing. “I was excited about working on an icelandic tv-series and besides I have never played the lead in a series before so the decision to take the part was really easy.”
The series are built on a well-known book franchise in Iceland but Heiða admits that although she knew the name Stella Blómkvist she had never read any of the books.
“But after I got the part I read them and really liked this character. Stella is such a badass, she never gives in to anyone and I felt it would be a challenge to play her.”
“… she has a love affair with a woman in the series .. In many ways it was much easier than doing love scenes with a guy. They sometimes get too excited sexually and it’s hard for a man to conceal that. It can be a bit disturbing at times.”
Do you identify with her in any way, are you two alike?
“Not really. But I recognise a bit of myself in her though. Mostly in things that I don’t even want to admit to myself,” Heiða says and laughs again. “But in other ways I wish I were more like her. She is really formidable in many ways.”
In the books Stella is bisexual, did they keep that aspect of her character in the series?
“I didn’t want to put any label on her. She does not have much emotional intelligence and does not define herself. Mostly she is governed by her impulses; if she wants something she takes it without thinking about the consequences. But, yes, she has a love affair with a woman in the series.”
Was it hard doing love scenes with another woman?
“No, not at all. In many ways it was much easier than doing love scenes with a guy. They sometimes get too excited sexually and it’s hard for a man to conceal that. It can be a bit disturbing at times. With Sara Dögg, who plays Stella’s love interest, it was really easy. We were on the same page and understood perfectly what the other one was thinking. I think these were the easiest love scenes I have ever done.”
The books are written under a pseudonym and very few people know the identity of the writer, did you get to know his real name?
“No, I have no idea who wrote the stories and I think I would not want to know. The guys who are producing the series know his identity, but they did not tell us. I’m pretty sure it’s a man though, Stella is very masculine in many ways in the books but the writers of the script toned that down a bit.”
You are used to working on big sets with lots of crew from BBC, how was it different to work with the icelandic team?
“It was more intimate, we were a bit like a family, much more relaxed and more of a team work. I acted in the Icelandic series Lava Field a few years back and have always wanted to work more in Iceland. It’s great getting to act in your own language and as there are so few of us in Iceland everybody in the industry knows everybody else and the atmosphere on set is great. I really like that.”
“I have not seen the whole series yet. I decided to see them at the same time as everyone else … I’m really looking forward to it. I think it is different from anything that has been done on Icelandic TV …”
Your most famous role to date is Elizabeth in the Poldark series. Are there any similarities between her and Stella?
“No, they are really different characters. Elizabeth is very proper, always trying to do the right things and not upset anybody but Stella does not give a damn what anyone thinks of her. She just does as she pleases. I don’t think you could find more different characters. But that was part of the challenge of playing Stella; she is so unique.”
The series will be released today,Friday, but I’m assuming you have seen them already, what can we expect?
“No! I have not seen the whole series yet. I decided to see them at the same time as everyone else,” Heiða says. “I’ve seen a lot of the material, of course, but not as a whole and not in the right order. I’m really looking forward to it. I think it is different from anything that has been done on Icelandic TV and I really hope people like it.”
Heiða is currently working on the fourth series of Poldark but asked what she will do when that finishes she gets really mysterious.
“I’m not ready to expose that yet,” she says. “But there are gonna be some major changes in my life in the near future. You just have to wait and see.”
Heiða got engaged to her american boyfriend Simon Ritzenberg in July. He is a movie producer so one has to wonder if these changes she mentions mean that she will be moving to Hollywood and acting there, but she is adamant that she is not ready to discuss her future.
“Good guess,” she says with that infecting laughter in her voice. “But I’m not telling you what my plans are. Can we focus on Stella Blómkvist for now?”
That we can do. And we will all be tuning in to Sjónvarp Símans Friday night, that’s for sure.