Sidse Babett Knudsen on Electric Dreams: "It’s about what makes us human"

Interview with Sidse Babett Knudsen for Electric Dreams

Can you explain a little bit about your episode, and about the character you play?

Crazy Diamond is based on a short story called ‘Sales Pitch’. My character is the sales person. I’m your average insurance sales woman who also happens to be artificially created. She’s expiring and wants to survive so she basically seduces Ed, who works in this factory where they create the ‘soul’ or the ‘live essence’, and gets him involved in a heist to steel these little ‘soul’s’ and unforeseeable things happen. It’s taking place in a world where Ed and Sally also dream of going far, far away, exploring.

What was it that attracted you to this project?

The first thing was Steve Buscemi because I heard he was attached and I’m a big, big fan of his and I just think he’s one of the most interesting people around. Then I discovered Marc’s work as well and I was really intrigued by the script as it wasn’t like anything I’d ever read. It was the feeling that this could potentially be something quite exceptional and I loved the part. What a great gift, it has a very film noir, femme fatale, old Hollywood sort of feel to it that I really like. 

What was the experience of filming like?

It was very intense and it was special in the sense that lots of things were happening. They were also shooting the other episodes in the US, so many things were going on at the same time. We had a set designer that was creating five worlds so there was so much going on in the make-up and costume departments. This episode was partly shot at the coast, so for me I was doing a bed and breakfast tour of the south of England which was fantastic! Part was also shot in the studio so there were lots and lots of sets. I was very impressed with the sets and how they built these worlds. It was also great fun, there was lots of laughter.

How did you enjoy working with your co-stars?

It was such a joy working with Steve Buscemi. I just felt so comfortable and secure because he puts himself out there. He was very, very sensitive to the scene as a whole so that was helpful to me. You’re really looking for the tone of it because the series really is unprecedented, you don’t really know which world you are in so I relied a lot on Steve for that. It makes that tragic, comic, poetic, weirdness that he engaged really nice. Julia is just a walking funny bone and very sweet, I had a really good time with her as well. I’d seen some of her stuff before, I’ve seen her in different shows, and it turns out that I was a much bigger fan of hers than I had known. 

The series is so varied, and his stories are all so different. What do you see as the universal themes that unite his work?

They are very universal and contain existential questions, it’s about what makes us human. There is also this theme of what are we, as humans, actively doing to our evolution? What are we setting in motion, trying to control it but then losing control? Can we still keep control over our own creations? This taps into the fear and curiosity about technology and artificial intelligence too. Pretty essential sci-fi stuff. Robots or AIs are also reminding us of a sensitivity that we don’t really focus on because we take it for granted. They are almost more moving than the real people. It seems to me that the short stories are very compact and essential to this idea and philosophy. It’s very out there, that’s what probably leaves the potential for filmmakers and creatives to continue to adapt the stories, because they’re not finished stories with endings and morals. It’s more raw and open to interpretation.

October 3, 2017 6:33am ET by Pressparty  

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