By j. erik reese, February 2nd, 2009

I guess an overall goal when shooting Sverige is chaos. This will ultimately be the style and overall atmosphere in the very first episode of Sverige: A foreign Crime. This general idea has been in my mind for some time now. In a chaotic nature, I feel things are often a big mess. They are everywhere and yet somehow things always come to an end or a stopping point. When this point arrives things are brought back into homeostasis or a balance again. Is this essentially the character Jonas (played by Mikael Ayele)?

The development that Mikael and myself have been creating has been extremely fruitful. Mikael is one of the most talented and creative actors I’ve ever met. Mikael radiates a charismatic spirit and a gift only a few actors have. As our process of digging deeper into Jonas continues, we’re both finding new elements not seen and not yet explored!

Today, Mikael was just filled with ideas and thoughts of the character Jonas. He ultimately thought of Jonas as two people. During this conversation I was absolutely amazed and excited. Actors are talented creators, just as any director is, they just merely play a different part in the creation. In this interdependent filmmaking we truly all depend immensely on each other. In any other million dollar film perhaps the actors are tools and nothing more, however, in this process of interdependent filmmaking, actors are creators, essentials, and above all a very crucial part of the creative process.

Here is what Mikael Ayele has to say about Sverige, “I’m so glad I met the incredible Mr. Reese during my time studying abroad here because I know he has very promising future, one that I feel honored to be a part of. In addition to sharing classes in Uppsala, Erik and I have traveled quite extensively throughout Europe together, during which we have had time get to know one another and discover that among many other similarities, we share an important passion: FILM. Even better, he enjoys and focuses on the creation and production of the art, while I, on the other hand, enjoy the performance aspect of it. From the beginning it felt like an awesome match.

That said, there is not a doubt in my mind that our upcoming collaboration, “SVERIGE” will be a success. I am much more than excited to be working on such an innovative and creative project as this. To be perfectly honest, I have never been part of anything like this. Whether it be the intense level of dedication and involvement of the Sabi gang or playing a lead role in a short film series, the whole experience is quite different from any other projects I have been a part of… and I mean this in GREAT way! The central character, Jonas, and his emotional, intellectual and physical journey, is the central focus of this film series and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have been given to play him. I feel this will be a process of creating, experimenting, learning, and most importantly, having fun with something I enjoy so much: Acting!

It may sound cliché, but for me acting has always been something I’ve wanted to do since I was young. Powerful performances, such as those given by Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump” or Denzel Washington in “Training Day” only further fueled my dream. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized Acting is not something one simply “does,” it’s something that takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and most of all, a willingness to take risks. Without these things I don’t think it is possible to develop and expand in ways that are necessary to giving an authentic performance. Confidence is important, but mistakes made along the way are inevitable so instead of seeking to avoid them, I feel it is essential to embrace them as something to acknowledge and learn from. Without doing so I feel it is impossible to grow, a pivotal part of this wonderful art.”

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