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Maria Bonnevie: Actress with Tango Dreams

Maria Bonnevie, a thoroughly Nordic woman, was born in Sweden but grew up in Norway. Photographed for Nordic Reach by Elisabeth Ohlson Wahlin at the Royal Swedish Opera.

Where she lives: Söder, the south side of Stockholm
On best performances
Music: Monica Zetterlund, Marie Boine and Handel`s Messiah
Last book read: "Honor Murder of Pela," by Lena Katarina Swanberg
Dessert: Chocolate pudding with vanilla sauce
Age: 33

Maria Bonnevie has starred in films with Gérard Depardieu and Antonio Banderas, and plays the leading role in a Danish film which won the Camera d' Or award last year at the Cannes Film Festival. Obviously, this Swedish-Norwegian beauty is an actress of some dignity.
So which of her performances is best?
"I can`t say, because I am never satisfied. Maybe that is the force which drives me forward and makes me always work harder," she says, taking a sip of white wine.
Bonnevie is a tough critic when it comes to her own acting. She has been performing on one stage or another since she made her debut at the tender age of 16 in the Icelandic film, "The Last Viking."

A thoroughly Nordic woman, Maria was born in Sweden but grew up in Norway, went to drama and music school in Denmark at age 17, and moved to Sweden to study theater two years later. To cap things off, her agent is based in Helsinki, Finland.
In Sweden, where Maria shares a Stockholm apartment with a pet dog, she is a favorite of the tabloid press, despite the fact that she grants few interviews and rarely goes out at night. One misguided newspaper implied late last year that she is bi-sexual.
"I laughed out loud when I saw that. They just want to create headlines," Maria recalls.
How does she adjust to the bizarre side of celebrity? "I try not to think so much about it," she says.
Maria frequently performs at Dramaten, the Royal Swedish Theatre, where she has acted under the direction of film-and-stage legend Ingmar Bergman. In the Spring, she will play the leading role in Dramaten`s staging of "The Castle Tower" by Erik Johan Stagnelius.
Maria Bonnevie showed a wild and dangerous side of herself in "I am Dina," a role which won her a Best Actress Award at the Montreal Film Festival in 2002. Bonnevie plays a sensual and amoral woman who is troubled by internal demons. Dina coolly murders her lovers as well as the husband, played by Gérard Depardieu. Maybe this reporter should have worn a bullet-proof vest to the meeting?
But Maria projects a sweet and somewhat vulnerable persona off-screen.
"I never saw myself in that role, as Dina," reflects the actress. "But after reading the book by Herbjørg Wassmo several times, I finally started to understand the character."
Some of her other feature film credits include "Jerusalem," "The Telegraphist," Insomnia," and "Dragonfly."
Following in the footsteps of fellow-Norwegian Liv Ullmann, this actress is making a big impact on Swedish cinema. Maria has major parts in three new Swedish films, and also performed a complex double-role in "Reconstruction" by Danish director Christoffer Boe, which won the Camera d'Or award at Cannes in 2003.
"That is a very special film about love, and I play two different women," Maria says. Reconstruction is scheduled for release this Spring in the USA.
Maria has been so busy in recent years in film and the theater that she has had little time to develop new hobbies: "I would love to start to dance tango; that is one of my dreams," the hard-working actress reveals.

Photography: Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin

Maria`s long coat is a family heirloom from Norway. Make-up: Elin Tordenlid/Mikas

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