This month we interviewed swedish A-list celebrity Måns Herngren. He’s a famous movie director, produces his own tonic essence and was part of the winning team at the synchronised swimming World Championships in 2013. So technically he’s an A+++ celeb who swims super well.
Q: Hello Måns! You’re a man of many talents. Movie director, swimmer, tonic essence producer… How did you get to do all these things?
A: As my kids grew older, I suddenly found I had a lot of time. I’m a very curious person. Someday I wondered what tonic tasted like before it became the tonic we know today. How did it taste before the British brought it here from India? I did some research, read some books, and then somehow one thing lead to another.
Q: You’re also a famous TV and movie producer. How did that start?
A: I was a child actor when I was 10 and really started working in the TV business when I was 16, doing interviews and such. Sweden is a small country and back then, we only had two commercial channels. It was relatively easy to be on TV if you really wanted it. In the early 90s I moved over to doing movies, but ever since HBO kicked off the trend for high quality series about six or seven years ago, I’ve found my way back to TV. These days I’m working both on movies and TV series.
Q: For the past three years, you’ve been living in both Stockholm and Berlin. Why did you choose Berlin?
A: We filmed the ending of my movie Allt Flyter here. That was when I found my love for Berlin – and for synchronized swimming.
Q: Not exactly a hobby that too many people share!
A: True. Allt Flyter is about a group of guys who become synchronized swimmers and attend the finals in Berlin. I didn’t want to use body doubles – which would have been hard to find anyway – so me and the actors started training together. Synrchonized swimming, once a week, for 6 months. Nothing helps bonding more than having someone else’s ass in your face while you’re underwater and almost naked. I’m still doing it every Wednesday.
Q: That sounds tempting. You’ve been commuting between Stockholm and Berlin for 3 years now. What does Berlin mean to you?
A: Berlin reminds me a lot of New York in the 80s. Things in New York have changed so much in the past 30 years, but they haven’t in Berlin. Total freedom of self-expression. Nobody cares if you go and buy breakfast in your joggers. A lot of people said that New Yorkers are inpolite and rude and they said the same about Berliners, but I’ve never experienced it that way.
Q: What was the craziest thing you experienced in Berlin?
A: I think I was the craziest thing that happened in Berlin!
Q: Stories! We want stories!
A: One time I was out having a fancy dinner with Henrik and my wife. I was dressed in a classy suit and to be honest I looked pretty snobbish. But someone Henrik managed to get us into Berghain at night. Don’t ask me how. When we got in, people looked at me like I was crazy. They wondered: Who’s that guy? How did he get in? It’s really hard to make people lift an eyebrow in Berlin, but somehow I managed.
Q: What projects are you working on right now?
A: I’ll start shooting a sequel with my brother for his movie The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared later this year, which will be shot partly in Kreuzberg and partly in Budapest. Also I’m looking to found a gin and tonic label with a friend and visit all the little distilleries in Berlin.
Q: YES! Uhm.. I mean. Yes. You’re a man after our taste. What makes you happy, apart from gin and tonic?
A: With 50 years I’m quite old now. But five years ago I felt really, really old. What made me happy again was realizing that age is just a number. Some people say after 30, you don’t really meet a lot of new friends. But that’s not true. You just have to be open-minded and be open to the world and age won’t matter anymore. My wife and I started taking German lessons recently, so we could start talking with an old lady in our house who doesn’t speak English.
Q: Das ist wunderbar. Last question. What would you do if you had 10 million dollars?
A: I would buy a huge airplane and fly refugees over to Europe. It’s really embarassing how Europe is one of the strongest economies in the world and doesn’t help people in need. I’m really proud of Germany to be supporting the refugees. Together we can do it!
Thanks for your time, Måns! See you in Berghain!