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Lena Olin

Lena Olin

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 22, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Sweden Profession: actor, hospital orderly, substitute teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A powerful and beautiful Swedish actress in the tradition of Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann, Lena Olin first came to prominence in Sweden as a "Bergman actress," working in plays and films directed by the great Ingmar Bergman. The child of actors-her father, Stig Olin, appeared in Bergman films during the 1940s and 50s-she gravitated to the profession in an attempt to overcome her crippling shyness, and though she failed her first audition for the Royal Dramatic Theater school, Bergman saw enough to cast her in a small role in his "Face to Face" (1976). She went on to appear in "The Adventures of Picasso" (1978) and acted for Bergman in "Fanny and Alexander" (1982). In "After the Rehearsal" (1984), she played Anna, a character written expressly for her. Her role as an actress who infuriates her director by getting pregnant while working on one of August Strindberg's plays prefigured actual events when her own pregnancy would complicate a Bergman production of Strindberg's "A Dream Play".

A powerful and beautiful Swedish actress in the tradition of Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann, Lena Olin first came to prominence in Sweden as a "Bergman actress," working in plays and films directed by the great Ingmar Bergman. The child of actors-her father, Stig Olin, appeared in Bergman films during the 1940s and 50s-she gravitated to the profession in an attempt to overcome her crippling shyness, and though she failed her first audition for the Royal Dramatic Theater school, Bergman saw enough to cast her in a small role in his "Face to Face" (1976). She went on to appear in "The Adventures of Picasso" (1978) and acted for Bergman in "Fanny and Alexander" (1982). In "After the Rehearsal" (1984), she played Anna, a character written expressly for her. Her role as an actress who infuriates her director by getting pregnant while working on one of August Strindberg's plays prefigured actual events when her own pregnancy would complicate a Bergman production of Strindberg's "A Dream Play".

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Hypnotist, The (2012)
3.
 Remember Me (2010)
4.
 Reader, The (2008)
5.
 Awake (2007)
6.
 Casanova (2005)
7.
8.
 United States of Leland, The (2003) Marybeth Fitzgerald
9.
 Hollywood Homicide (2003) Ruby
10.
 Darkness (2002) Maria
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1972:
Met Ingmar Bergman for the first time at the age of 17
:
Worked as a substitute teacher and hospital orderly before enterting acting
1976:
Cast in a small role by Bergman in "Face to Face"
1978:
Joined the Royal Dramatic Theater
1978:
Had prominent film role in "Picassos Aventyr/The Adventures of Picasso"
1982:
Acted in Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander"
1984:
Made international debut in a leading role, playing Anna in Bergman's "After the Rehearsal," a part written expressly for her by Bergman
1985:
US TV debut in "Wallenberg: A Hero's Story" (NBC)
1985:
Played Cordelia in the Bergman-directed "King Lear" at Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theater
1988:
Garnered international attention as the lusty Sabina in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," directed by Philip Kaufman and co-starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche
1989:
Received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as a Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor in Paul Mazursky's "Enemies, a Love Story"
1990:
Acted opposite Robert Redford in the large scale would be "Havana"; movie fizzled at the box office
1991:
Starred in the title role in Ingmar Bergman's rendition of Strindberg's "Miss Julie"
1993:
Played a psychiatrist who falls in love with her manic-depressive patient (Richard Gere) in "Mr. Jones"
1993:
Portrayed most extreme character to date; the outrageous hit woman Mona Demarkov in Peter Medak's "Romeo Is Bleeding"
1994:
Emerged with her dignity intact from the moribund erotic costumer "The Night & the Moment"
1997:
Romanced Andy Garcia in "Night Falls on Manhattan," directed by Sidney Lumet
1998:
Was a member of the Festival Jury at Cannes, headed by Martin Scorsese
1998:
Acted with fellow Bergman protege Peter Stormare in the slick Swedish actioner "Hamilton"
1998:
Teamed with Gabriel Byrne to play Claire Danes' parents in Theresa Connelly's "Polish Wedding"
2000:
Led a satanic cult in Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate," co-starring Johnny Depp
2000:
Directed by husband Lasse Hallstrom in "Chocolat," playing a kleptomaniac who leaves her abusive husband and finds a new career assisting the recently arrived chocolatiere; reunited on screen with Stormare, Depp and Binoche
2001:
Portrayed Maharet in the film version of Anne Rice's vampire-themed novel "Queen of the Damned"
2001:
Cast as a federal judge whose bodyguard uncovers a plot to overthrow the government in "Ignition"
2002:
Joined the cast of ABC's "Alias," playing the mother of secret agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner); earned an Emmy (2003) nomination for Supporting Actress
2003:
Cast as Harrison Ford's love interest in the action-comedy "Hollywood Homicide"
2004:
Starred with Kevin Spacey and Ryan Gosling in "The United States of Leland"
2004:
Starred as Anna Paquin's mother in the thriller "Darkness"
2005:
Cast in husband Lasse Hallström's "Casanova," opposite Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller
2007:
Cast in the psychological thriller "Awake" with Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Dramatic Theatre: -
National Academy of Dramatic Art: - 1976 - 1979

Notes

"The nudity of the body or the nudity of the soul--it's part of the characters. I'm not anxious to show my body, but it's no more big a deal than to show my eyes." --Lena Olin, referring to her nude scene in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being".

"He sees life as black as you can but he sees the humor in it. I never laugh as much as when I watch Strindberg." --Olin quoted in Rolling Stone, March 8, 1990.

"Since Robert Redford is this huge American star, I didn't know what it would be like to work with him. But he has remained so curious about things. He hasn't turned into a stone which I think would be easy if you are pampered as the American stars are." --Olin quoted in The Guardian, January 17, 1991.

About Ingmar Bergman's influence on her: "He taught me that it's important that there be mystery about acting. There should be unpredictability. One shouldn't look at it too closely. You should care only about how to use your body, your voice. He's very practical and he taught me that at an early age." --Olin to David Rensin in Playboy, February 1991.

"I have such a hard time enjoying life, because it's passing all the time, and I just can't relax and let that be. It's like overcoming death every second you live. I think making movies is my way of dealing with the kind of despair that comes from knowing life is passing." --Olin to Peter Hedges in Harpers Bazaar, March 1993.

On the type of roles she looks for: "Every time a woman does something bad or strange on screen, there's always this need to explain, she'll talk about not being able to have babies or being abused or abandoned--because male screenwriters feel guilty about writing a bad woman. But I'm looking for egocentric female characters, women who do strange and awful things, because it's fun--and it's true" --Olin quoted in the Daily News, February 8, 1994.

On frequently being cast as violent, wayward vengeful women, Olin told The Independent (February 16, 2001): "I love that kind of character, because I have access to so much fury. I can bring it on so easily. It comes so naturally to me. I'm a kind person in general, but I've always had access to this anger. ...

"I wasn't very big when I grew up, but I always took pride that no matter what, I can be tougher than anyone else. And I am fearless - I do not care ...

Asked if she still has a violent temper, Olin replied: "Yes, I do. When I feel threatened or afraid, I can lose my temper in an instant. It's a very useful tool for an actor to have that kind of anger, but I can control myself when I have to."

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Orjan Ramberg. Actor. Swedish; together for five years; separated.
husband:
Lasse Hallstrom. Director. Married on March 18, 1994.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Britta Olin. Actor. Gave up acting at age 30 to raise her three children; divorced from Stig Olin.
father:
Stig Olin. Actor, director. Appeared in films directed by Ingmar Bergman, beginning with "Hamnsted/Port of Call" (1948) and perhaps most memorably in "The Seventh Seal" (1957); divorced from Britta Olin.
brother:
Mats Olin. Actor.
step-son:
Johan Hallstrom. Born c. 1976.
son:
August Ramberg. Born c. 1986; father, Orjan Ramberg; named after the playwright August Strindberg.
daughter:
Tora Hallstrom. Born c. 1995; father, Lasse Hallstrom.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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