Interview: Maya Ilsøe – The Legacy (Arvingerne)

Maya Ilsøe is an incredibly talented Nordic writer. It takes a lot of foresight to be able to sit down and write a novel for people to enjoy by conjuring up the scenes and pictures in their minds eye. But to write a story for screen knowing that this needs to be played out by actors and portrayed in a way in which the audience understands what you are trying to convey the first time round, with no second takes, is another skill.

This talent can be owned by Maya Ilsøe whose name has come to peoples’ attention most recently for creating The Legacy (Arvingerne). Maya’s writing credits however do not end here as she has been competently writing for sometime now and has films such as Absalons Hemmelighed and Parterapi to her name. I recently managed to catch a bit of time with this Nordic writer and ask her a few questions. PhotoAs a Nordic writer do you feel part of an elite writing group as your genre is becoming increasingly respected from critics?
I feel extremely privileged to work with my team, and I consider it as my primary focus to maintain a vivid creative process in the group. I am very pleased with all the people that have received the series so well, and that of course inspires one to keep on working on making the best you can do.

The Legacy has been well received in Denmark and the UK, do you think the audiences appreciate it in different ways?
I would be lying if I told you that I know the cultural difference in perception of the series nation wise. Every family is different in this world, I like to think, so my guess is that every individual has its own way of interpreting the story. I find that thought very pleasing.

When you sit down to write do you have a structured path or do you improvise as you go?
To begin with, I do a lot of thinking and research and I have a lot of plans going on simultaneously. These are shuffled a good deal as we go along improvising, destroying and re-creating, and the end result often is close to my starting point, but with a different angle and hopefully more nuanced.

What can we expect from you in 2015?
I have been offered to enter several interesting projects that I can’t yet disclose. However, I am constantly working on becoming a better person.Arvingerne_01

The Legacy

The Legacy (Arvingerne) is a must-have Nordic series in any Nordic TV fan’s home. It has been met with great reviews from Denmark out to the UK, and a much awaited series two was commissioned off the back of how positively it was received. We know we are going to be treated to sparse landscapes, colourful architecture and complicated relationships, as this seems to be a given with most Nordic programmes. But just what is it about The Legacy that has gotten people so gripped by it? The acting is faultless. We are given a cast of huge experience within the acting world from stage to screen. Each character is very different, which is why having them all brought together gives different layers to each scene.

So what is The Legacy all about? We begin this series by being privy to the fact that Veronika Grønnegaard has just been given what appears to be bad news regarding her health. This allows the viewer to understand some of her actions, whilst the other characters are oblivious to her fate. It gives us an overriding desire to want Veronika’s family members to act differently towards her knowing what we do, but this series stays true to real life and they act accordingly. The characters are introduced to us at a good pace letting the viewer understand them, their character and how we think they will progress, all of this is done whilst the main focus still concentrates on Veronika. With the subsequent death of the matriarch Veronika, the story begins to gather momentum.

On her death bed Veronika summons a young girl called Signe to her grandeur manor called Grønnegaard, which is situated on Southern Funen. Signe is a local florist who apparently meets Veronika by chance when Veronika comes into the florist shop as a customer. Signe delivers some flowers to Grønnegaard as requested and goes home. It is not until later that night when Signe receives a phone call from Veronika insisting she must come and see her immediately that Signe begin to realise that the previous meeting was not by chance. When Signe arrives she is greeted by Veronika on her death bed. Veronika states that she is in fact Signe’s mother and is leaving the Grønnegaard estate to her. Veronika dies a short while after in hospital, as her three remaining children come together to say goodbye and try to come to terms with the fact that their mother has hidden her illness from them for some time.

The three other children, Gro, Emil and Frederik each have their own complex relationship with their mother for different reasons which has in turn given them complicated lives. From here The Legacy really begins, as the death bed will bring with it hurt, anger and untold lies which begin to surface and subsequent reckless behaviour and actions. We watch how the characters deal with sudden dis-inheritance, how they try various schemes to change the motion, the fall out with their families and most interestingly, the adverse affect it will bring to Signe. The writers have cleverly intertwined different stories to run along side each other so each episode brings a new twist to the plot and supporting actors outside of the sibling circle bring just as much importance to the story. We end the series with a cliff hanger and as old and new wounds have been opened it will be with much anticipation that The Legacy 2 will hit UK screens.

Arvingerne05 As different as the characters are, the actors are just as divergent. The audience is treated to performances from one of Denmark’s most veteran actors, Jesper Christensen. Jesper plays Thomas, who is Veronikas ex partner and the father of Gro. He is an old school hippie who brings much light relief to the storyline and to the Grønnegaard family. Gro (Trine Dyrholm), the eldest sister who shares her mum’s passion for art cleverly orchestrates a lot of financial manoeuvrings after Veronika’s death to make sure that The Legacy provides for her art visions, career within the industry and to maintain her lifestyle. Frederik (Carsten Bjørnlund), the eldest brother has deep personal issues dating back to his father’s death, his anger towards his mother, his need to be the premier in his home and work life. This brings consequences from both sides later on. As Frederik fights to keep Grønnegaard manor we see his nastier side come out. Emil (Mikkel Følsgaard) is the youngest brother who has taken a path of seemingly escapism over in Asia. But below the surface he has been financially supported for many years and his carefree lifestyle brings him many problems. Emil however is likeable and does try to create harmony within the dysfunctional family.

Signe (Marie Bach Hansen) as mentioned is the fateful daughter known as Sunshine. She was given up by Veronika at a young age and when this realization of a false past is brought to her she naturally struggles with the lies told to her, suddenly becoming heir to the Grønnegaard estate is a huge change in her normal life. We see how this affects her relationship between herself with her father, adoptive mother and boyfriend Andreas. In conclusion this is a must-see. Cleverly written, with dark connotations but also a thread of humour at the sheer craziness of how so many peoples’ lives have been turned upside down by the legacy.

400-051
70-413
220-801
E10-001
70-462
300-135
HP0-263
250-270
M70-101
70-455
N10-006
70-488
70-243
200-101
70-466
350-018
70-534
70-486
HP0-Y29
640-461
70-411
70-414
C_TFIN52_66
70-483
98-365
210-065
C_A1FIN_10
70-347
700-501
640-911
70-341
C_TSCM52_66
MB2-701
MB2-703
SY0-401
170-010
HP2-B115
HP0-P24
70-331
CCD-410
200-101
300-101
VCP-550
CCA-500
70-466
70-634
9L0-008
300-208
920-503
70-243
1Z0-219
M70-201
400-101
70-410
MB2-701
SK0-003
1Z0-879
70-412
100-101
70-417
98-349
HP0-J39
C_TADM51_731
70-285
98-364
70-480
EX300
70-346
300-208
640-864
70-488
OG0-093
640-811
A00-211
70-410
70-489
200-120
70-341
70-351
70-489
70-461
74-335
70-487
N10-005
70-556
C90-05A
9L0-422
642-785
70-413
70-462
70-489
700-505
C_TAW12_731
70-414
70-346
1Z0-144
70-461
70-533
HP5-B04D
1Z0-061
1Z0-062
642-272
MB5-705
MB6-871
400-051
E20-580
3 Discussions on
“Interview: Maya Ilsøe – The Legacy (Arvingerne)”