Danish actress link
has emerged as a fast rising star on the American indie film festival circuit.
Most recently, her talents have been on full display starring as a sister fighting for survival after an alien invasion in link
; and starring in the title role of the experimental musical link
, based on the real-life model and singer.
Sally originally made her way to America to study at the renowned California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and she’s been building a solid reputation and resume ever since.
Sally Maersk recently took time to answer a few questions:
Tell us about your role in BEYOND CORFIELD ST.
SALLY: Courtney is the older of the two sisters (Courtney and Sally - yes that was confusing in the beginning but I like being called my character name on set, so after a while it was less distracting), and they’re very close, but very different. She's more of a doer than a talker, and she believes in hard work. She just wants to find a safe way for them to get out of the house before they run out of supplies, or the aliens find them. She has a background in the military, so she can draw from her training. She was a lot of fun to play, because of the kind of silent though explosive nature and she really can’t be bothered with anything unnecessary.
Did you do anything specific to prepare to face an alien invasion?
SALLY: I watched a bunch of Alien movies - mostly from the 90s, since this took place then. One of the movies I watched was 'Contact' with Jodie Foster, which is such a great movie. I think it has a nice buildup, and the ending doesn’t disappoint though it is a bit different from what you might hope. There’s a lot of heart in it, which I sometimes feel is lacking in Sci-Fi movies. So I was trying to bring that to ‘Beyond Cornfield Street’, which I think the script opened up for.
What would you consider your characters ‘best’ quality? And their ‘worst’?
SALLY: She's rational, and will do everything in her power to protect her sister. She realizes that their parents got killed (they have had no contact with them since the alien invasion) so she will protect her sister with her life, though she has a very strong survival instinct. It’s very difficult for her to say no to her sister, though she feels that Sally may be wrong. She’s in touch with her emotions, but she doesn’t let them show, because she wants to stay strong from Sally, though they break through the cracks in the end.
You also star in the title role of MADLEEN KANE’S GREATEST HITS, what can you tell us about this project?
SALLY: This is an experiential music video - and an exploration of a scene that might lead to a feature. My director was very smitten with Madleen Kane and her music (so am I, disco. RULES) so he wanted to make a tribute. It was a short dance sequence with 5 super talented dancers and a sequence with me and then it all comes together. We shot in 16mm so that's always very challenging in the sense that when they budget is small you don’t have a lot of takes, so each take really counts. I do enjoy that process, since we tend to forget it with the digitalization we just have unlimited takes, but with film it becomes much more precious. So because we shot on 16mm we rehearsed for about 3 weeks before, because everything had to be on point.
Was it difficult stepping in to play a real person?
SALLY: I’d say it was different rather than difficult. Usually I have to 'make up' my characters, but this time I had a reference in Madleen Kane, but there’s not that much footage out there of her, so I watched her music videos over and over to get a feel of her internal rhythm, and also her being. She's very soft - but has this intense look, and her moves are very deliberate.
My story for 'Beyond Cornfield St.' is probably more fun. [Spoiler :-)] After the house explodes, I had to start the car and drive away, but I was so cold and - not very good with vintage cars, so I got it started but the break was stuck so the car slowly rolled towards the crew, who had to jump out of the way and I was jumping out of the car to make space for one who knew how to stop the car. So I almost ran over the crew, but they all made it out alright. Needless to say, I don’t think they would feel comfortable driving with me haha.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from working on this project?
SALLY: Energy conservation probably - the dancers sequence took so long to shoot so I was waiting for over 7 hours to shoot. And you just have to be ready then, even though waiting can be...waiting! I was on set watching the dancers though, which was such a pleasure. I also always wish I have more time to dive into my characters, so that was a big takeaway for me as well.
And, now just for fun:
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
SALLY: I’ve been mesmerized with Gena Rowlands’ performances in movies. She has such a strong acting style, that’s very heartfelt and engaging. Heath Ledger is also a great inspiration to me! Lately I’ve been really into Amy Adams and the movies she’s been in ('Nocturnal Animals' and 'Arrival' to name a few) and Zoe Saldana is just kick ass and super strong in everything she does!
What role from the past do you wish you could have played?
SALLY: Margot Robbie was perfect as Harley Quinn, but that was definitely a dream role of mine. I would prefer the Harley Quinn I know from the cartoons, with the checkered outfit. Also anything in 'Star Wars,' I would love to be the first female with lord in the series.
Favorite movie or TV show from your childhood.
SALLY: I remember watching 'Mulan' over and over again. I was very inspired by her strong character - I can’t wait for the live action movie to come out. I loved watching 'Batman' and 'Ann of Green Gables' on TV Saturday mornings. My parents encouraged me and my sister to read books and play in the garden rather than watching TV.
Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
SALLY: I am very inspired by Hayao Miyazakis universes! I loved being drawn in to these magical and mystical worlds that he creates! 'Howls Moving Castle' is my go to; I love Christian Bales voice for 'Howl.'
I was born and raised in Denmark but didn’t move to California until I was 21. It was always a dream of mine to leave the green borders of Denmark and immigrate to the US, however I wanted to go to New York, but got accepted into CalArts instead. I was really scared I wouldn’t like the heat and the less changing seasons, but now I am in love with LA! I love that you can be in a city but so easily go to the ocean or hiking in the mountains.
How can fans keep up with you?
SALLY: My Instagram account: link
- though I really should be better at updating it! Otherwise through my website: link
Sally Maersk in BEYOND CORNFIELD ST.
Sally Maersk in MADLEEN KANE’S GREATEST HITS