Arnie Stenseth Interview!


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"Sven Jørgensen" was played by Arnie Stenseth, an actor of Norwegian heritage from South Dakota.

He got the part after an audition which ended with him sitting face to face with the eccentric director, who asked him in Norwegian: "How do you do?"

"When I answered him in the same language, which I had learned when I went to school in Norway for one year as a 15-year old", Lynch's response was: "Just what I was looking for!", 71-year old Stenseth recalls.

He is the son of Norwegian immigrants and had been a professional actor for almost 20 years when his agent asked him to go to an audition for "Twin Peaks" in 1988.

The rest of the Norwegians were recruited from the Norwegian-American smalltown Paulsbo in Washington, according to Stenseth, who remembers the shooting of "Twin Peaks" with great fondness.

"Still, I am unsure if the scene really manages to convey what Lynch wanted. He wanted to portray the Norwegians almost like the Japanese, with identical briefcases and great willingness to march in step. This is ironically meant because it is the exact opposite of what Norwegians are like", Stenseth says.

"Just the idea of Norwegians coming to Washington in the US to buy lumber is a joke in itself", he adds.


Originally, "Sven Jørgensen" was meant to appear in two more episodes of "Twin Peaks" but the script was changed and thus the actor's work for David Lynch was over.

"I really don't have any good explanation as for why "Twin Peaks" has achieved cult status. Personally, I think it lost continuity and spanned off in all sorts of directions after Lynch left the director's seat to others. Since the show was cancelled after only two seasons, it never got to complete Lynch's mission", Stenseth thinks.

Stenseth quit acting in 1996. Today he runs his own company in his hometown Sioux Falls in South Dakota, together with his wife. The couple work with criminological investigation.

"My favorite film by Lynch is probably "Blue Velvet". "Dune" is something I'd have to re-watch two or three times to get what Lynch is trying to say with it", Stenseth laughs.

"David Lynch himself is not a descendant of Norwegian-Americans but grew up in a similar Norwegian-American colony, which might explain his fascination for the Norwegian. In the very last "Twin Peaks" episode, for example, he nicked some lyrics from an A-ha song (at least that is what Paal Waaktaar-Savoy claims)."

"Arnie Stenseth remembers that he never throughout his long career in theater and film asked any celebrity for an autograph - except David Lynch. It was his daughter who convinced him to do this."

"So, one day during the shooting of "Twin Peaks", I ended up standing alone next to him during a break. We were waiting for it to stop raining so we could continue shooting, and I worked up the courage to hand him a piece of paper and ask for his signature. He willingly gave it to me, Stenseth says."

"Later when I gave the piece of paper to my daughter I discovered what it said. David Lynch hadn't written his name - only "now it's dark", Dennis Hopper's classic line from "Blue Velvet".

Translation by Majica.

3 comments:

J.D. said...

I loved that last bit about Stenseth trying to get Lynch's autograph. Nice interview!

Jerry Horne said...

J.D. - thanks for stopping by. That was great huh? Now I know how I want my autograph...

Henning said...

Hvordan har du det?