Fredrik Backman’s best-selling book A Man Called Ove has sold nearly 800,000 copies and the film adaptation starring Rolf Lassgård is expected to be a hit when it premieres on Christmas Day.
Lassgård plays 59-year-old Ove, who several years earlier was deposed as president of the condominium association. Still, he cares deeply about his neighbourhood and rules it with an iron fist. When the heavily pregnant Parvaneh family move into the terraced house opposite him and reverses into Ove’s mailbox, it is a prelude to a funny and heartwarming story of cats, unexpected friendship and love.
“Rolf Lassgård is one of the few Swedish actors who owns the wide register that is required to interpret Ove’s world. Humour is required interspersed with deepest sorrow in this story of love, greatness and human failings. I have admired Rolf from afar for years,” says director Hannes Holm.
The process of transforming Rolf Lassgård, 60, into Ove, 59, was time consuming and the results surprising. “It took two hours, so we sat there and watched the dawn come,” says Lassgård.
When the transformation was complete, not even the crew recognised him at times. “I went to watch the snow they put out on the first recording day. Someone I had worked with before came and said: ‘Get out, get out! You should not be here.'”
Rolf Lassgård was so convincing that when he took a fall as Ove the crew treated him like a frail old man. “As I had make-up on, they reacted immediately: ‘Oh God, can you move?’. ‘It’s me,’ I said.”