Six films, no separation

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When actors sign on to play a character in an adaptation of an already successful body of work, they know there's a chance they will eventually make sequels and that the role could be an intermittent part of their life for years to come.

For the Swedish actor Malin Crepin, however, the experience was markedly different. When she agreed to play the part of Annika Bengtzon, the focus of a best-selling series of crime novels by Swedish author Liza Marklund, she discovered the producers - fresh from adapting Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy - planned to make all six films one after the other. Crepin spent all of last year as Bengtzon.

''I think at one point I had a weekend off,'' says Crepin, who, having mastered the demanding schedule, can now ruefully laugh about it. ''There was a lot of coffee and I remember feeling swollen the entire time because I was so tired.''

Only one of the six adaptations, Last Will, is being released in cinemas, paving the way for the other movies to be promoted and issued on DVD. Thankfully for Crepin, she's naturally drawn to the character of Bengtzon, a Swedish newspaper crime reporter with an obsessive attitude towards her stories.

''I could identify with her because she's very dedicated and passionate about her work,'' 34-year-old Crepin says. ''She takes it very personally. She's not a dreamer, she's not chaotic. And she doesn't back down when challenged by men.''

Last Will has Bengtzon covering the gilded presentation of the annual Nobel prizes in Stockholm, when two guests are shot. She investigates who the real target was, while officially playing no role since she's a witness.

While Last Will doesn't have the grit of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it does further the success of Scandinavian crime fiction.

''We're a small country and we've had it good for a long time - no war, no threat,'' Crepin says. ''So maybe this is a reaction to the level of comfort, that we had to create something fictional to represent what we couldn't talk about openly.''

LAST WILL

Stars Malin Crepin, Bjorn Kjellman, Antje Traue.

Director Peter Flinth.

Rated M. Now screening.

The story Six films, no separation first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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