It seems to be trendy for performers in one field of the arts to cross over into another. Harry Styles recently attempted to jump from music to movies with his films ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ and ‘My Policeman.’ Likewise, influencer Addison Rae added music to her repertoire that previously consisted of TikTok dances.
But what about the arts crossing over into the medical field? That’s a little more rare.
But Hanna Ardehn, actress and licensed and practicing psychologist, does just that. Arden grew up in Sweden and has been in the acting business since she was a child, mostly acting in TV series. She recently starred in the series as Maja in the Netflix series Quicksand and has a role in an upcoming comedy series.
Read more about Ardehn’s life as an actress and psychologist in her interview with Odalisque.
When did you first start acting?
I think I first started in a theater group for children when I was around six years old. And then I did my first TV role when I was around nine or ten, but it was just a small part in a kids program.
And then what was it like getting your first movie role?
I think it was just super exciting because I love doing [acting]. I remember the first big role that I got was for a TV show called ‘30 degrees in February’ where we were shooting in Thailand for six months. So I was super excited to do that. Both getting to live abroad, but also getting to work with a lot of really amazing Swedish actors that are super famous in Sweden. It was a huge privilege just to be able to act alongside them. It was also a really good script. We had a few different directors too. It's not super common in Sweden to have directors doing single episodes, but I know that in bigger American productions that might be more common. In Sweden, that's not really the way we do it. But in this series, we had lots of different directors during different parts of the series, so I was really fortunate to be able to work with so many high profile directors.
Was there anything you learned from that role that you applied to your roles later on?
I think I learned a lot just watching the other actors using their body when they acted. I think I was like 15 when I did that role, so it was really interesting for me to see how the biggest actors did that. And also just to get used to being on a big set of cameras and crews. That was something that I took with me to the next production.
And did you want to talk about your role in this series QuickSand?
So the series is about a young woman who falls in love with a boy. They are both upper class kids growing up in really wealthy neighborhoods. The parents are not really present, and they are just happy that she’s dating the [son of the] richest man in Sweden. So they're just like, go away, do your thing. And then things start escalating because her boyfriend gets addicted to drugs and starts drinking, doing more heavy drugs and all that. They go to these huge parties, and she feels kind of stuck with him. She can't really break out. And what the whole show is about is a school shooting. That doesn’t really happen in Sweden, but the author of the book shows that, if it were to happen, how would it happen? The whole question of the series is whether my character, Maja, is involved in the school shooting, or was she unaware of what her boyfriend would do?
Was there something extra, like training or anything, that you had to do to prepare for that role, especially because you said it's not as common a topic in Sweden?
We got to practice gun safety. I also obviously read the book, and I talked a lot to the author. We were talking a lot to the director about who are the most common people who carry out school shootings in the world, and that's usually always young boys who are alone and have some mental health issues. We were just trying to be super respectful about the subject because it is
something that, even though it hasn't really happened in Sweden, and we don't really have a history of it here, it's still something that's very sensitive since it's about children. Children are the victims of school shootings.
You just got your psychology degree at school. Does your background in psych impact how you approach your roles at all?
Having read psychology, you gain a lot when you prepare for just getting to know this person. Why are they acting the way they are? What's their character arc? The behaviors that they are exhibiting, what do they come from? So it's kind of like, I look at my characters like my patients, and I just see why they do what they do and see patterns that are repeating themselves.
Is it hard to balance your acting career while trying to get a degree in college?
No, it's been fine actually, since the movie roles, like when you go shooting, it's just a short period of time. So I managed to combine studying and acting as well. It hasn't been too much of a problem for me. Just as long as it's not, you know, I'm gone for six months, and I have to do studying as well. Then it would be harder. I would probably have to take a break. But if it's just shorter periods of time, that's fine.
Where do you see your acting career going in the future? Do you have any dream roles?
I just love Tilda Swinton and Francis McDormand. I'm driven towards what they're doing in their careers. They've done so much with such varied types of characters. My dream would be to be able to do everything and just get really complex roles. I love characters that are a bit ugly, either in the way they are acting or their personality. I think that when you get to play a character that likes to get a bit down and dirty, that's where the interesting things happen.
You helped Sanna Lindbergwith the creative direction of this shoot too. Can you talk a bit about how that came together?
We were talking about it and she was wondering about what we like to do. We were talking about duality and two different sides–both something that's bright and something that's dark. And then Fight Club just popped up in my head because I love the visuals of that film. I like that it has really bad characters. They’re just about toxic masculinity and rebelling against society, against status quo, going to work, all that. And I think it's really interesting.
Have you done work with creative direction before?
No, not really. I just like being involved in that stuff. You know, when you come up with a character and just talk to the Art Department and the people that are deciding what clothes you're going to wear and just talking to the director about which direction the characters are going. I think that's just something I’m intrigued by.
Are there any other areas of the art world they want to try out?
I love doing photo shoots because that's also getting to be somebody else and exploring a different character. But I also like painting in my life. I just love everything that's creative. I love going to the museum and art. When I was little, I wanted to be restoring paintings. So I don’t know. I would love to be able to do everything in the art world.