Danish Star of 'The Bridge' Says anti-Semitism Made Him Uncomfortable in Sweden

Star of Scandinavian crime series says anti-Jewish sentiment reaffirmed his decision to quit the show.

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Kim Bodnia at the New York City premiere of the film “Rosewater,” Nov. 12, 2014.
Kim Bodnia at the New York City premiere of the film “Rosewater,” Nov. 12, 2014.Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images

A Jewish-Danish actor known for his starring role in “The Bridge,” a Scandinavian TV crime series remade for American audiences in 2013, said he was uncomfortable while working in Sweden because of anti-Semitism there.

“It’s growing,” Kim Bodnia told the Israeli website Walla.co.il last week when the interviewer asked him about anti-Semitism in Scandinavia. “Especially in Malmo, where we shot ‘The Bridge’ in Sweden. It’s not very nice and comfortable to be there as a Jewish person.”

Bodnia quit the show, which has been shown in over 100 countries, after its first two seasons. Asked about his decision to leave, he told Walla it owed to a change in his contract, which limited his influence on the screenplay and interaction with the writers. “We had some discussions that we were not allowed to be so much involved and it didn’t fit because we had it in the contract,” he said. But he added he would consider returning to the set for the fourth season if the producers change their mind on his level of involvement in the writing.

Still, anti-Semitism in Sweden, he said, reaffirms his decision to walk away from projects here, he said.

“Of course it has something to do with how it’s easy for me to say no to work in Sweden, when they didn’t have the script right. I can say, well, I don’t feel so safe there,” Bodnia said.

Bodnia, who is of Russian and Polish ancestry, in 2014 directed “The Tailor’s Tale,” a play about the life of playwright Bodin Saphir’s Jewish grandfather during the Nazi occupation in Copenhagen.

“The Bridge” was remade in 2013 by the U.S. network FX, but the American version was canceled after two seasons.

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