After nearly two decades, Mikael Persbrandt is leaving the Beck film franchise, and Kristofer Hivju is joining the cast.

Mikael Persbrandt
Mikael Persbrandt, courtesy of Frankie Fouganthin

Not surprisingly, Beck fans are in an uproar over the news that Mikael Persbrandt is leaving the series. One wrote on the actor’s Facebook page, “Beck‘s not Beck without Persbrandt as Gunvald…” while others have stated that their Beck-watching days are over.

It’s understandable. For many viewers, it is Persbrandt’s character, the handsome, skilled, and boorish detective, Gunvald Larsson, that makes the Beck films as entertaining as they are (the crime stories and star Peter Haber notwithstanding).

But with 30 Beck films under his belt and roles outside of his native Sweden beckoning, the multiple award-winning and controversial Persbrandt is moving on, and not without speculation in Swedish media that he was let go by producers. To clear things up, Lesa Kirk of Persbrandt’s talent agency, Open Entertainment, released the following statement:

“After completing his filming of Beck, Mikael is now focusing on an international film career. He has a number of exciting projects and is about to start principal photography on the first film, a major motion picture, Knights of The Round Table: King Arthur, directed by Guy Ritchie. Mikael is ever grateful for the time he has spent on Beck. He has enjoyed working with a fantastic cast, outstanding creative team, producers and crew. Mikael would also like to thank all of the die-hard fans of the films and the response he has received for his role as Gunvald.”

Kristofer Hivju
Kristofer Hivju, courtesy of Patrik Nygren

With a gaping hole in the cast following Persbrandt’s departure, production co. Filmlance International has signed the Guldbagge Awards-winning Norwegian actor, Kristofer Hivju (Force Majeure), better known to Game of Thrones fans as Tormund Giantsbane, to fill it as. Hivju will play Detective Steinar Hovland, the new sidekick to Peter Haber’s Inspector Martin Beck, in the next four Beck films.

Said Hivju, himself a long-time Beck fan, “I have played many dangerous men so I think it’s really fun to play a policeman.”

Hivju added, “It is clear that [Mikael] has made a big impact as Gunvald. I’m a big fan of Persbrandt. He is a very good actor who has really created an iconic character. But I will not be a new Gunvald but a completely different type of character.”

According to Filmlance producer Tomas Michaelsson, “We are super excited and confident that [Hivju] will contribute to the great drama we want to create… Kristofer’s a really good actor. I think he gives a boost to the production like you haven’t seen before.”

Which begs the question, how will the character of Gunvald Larsson be written out of the series? Michaelsson isn’t saying, only that it has been figured out and will feature in the fifth of the eight new films, which will premiere in Sweden in January 2016.

Source: Aftonbladet. H/T to reader Jonas V.

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Mikael Persbrandt Leaving Beck, Kristofer Hivju Joining Cast of Hit Crime Drama Film Series
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