She has received 20 fan letters
It isn’t every day that Icelanders are given the opportunity to become world famous. But last summer, it looked like it would finally happen. That was when Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir got one of the leading roles in a three-part British television series, which was adapted from Desmond Bagley’s novel Út í óvissuna [Running Blind]. The filming took place partly in Iceland for two months and partly in the UK, last summer.
Ragnheiður told us that there were differences between acting in a film or on stage. The film was never continuous, one scene at a time was filmed, and sometimes the actors did not know where they were in the story. For example, the first scene she shot, after she was given the role and flew to England, was the film’s finale. It was a bit difficult, she said, I didn’t know anyone and had never done anything like this before.
It was British television’s BBC that made the series, and Ragnheiður said that she wouldn’t get wealthy working for them. She would not have received anything more for this film series than for any other job here at home. But it’s alright, said Ragnheiður, I like working in Iceland.
Last December, Ragnheiður travelled to be at the preview of the film, and a whole army of agents and talent scouts gathered there, but no agreements were made, as far as Ragnheiður was concerned. However, she has already received 20 fan letters from the UK, but no proposal. Judging by foreign newspaper reviews, it is the Icelandic part of the series that is considered best, referring firstly to the natural beauty of Iceland and then to the young actress, Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir.
Icelandic television is fully committed to buying these shows, but since they are still so new, there is no fixed price for them. The said that it would be wise to wait a few months and get the episodes at a discounted price.
Ragnheiður began her acting career at the age of only 7, in the play 6 persónur leita höfundar [Six Characters in Search of an Author] at Leikfélagi Reykjavíkur, but in that she played a dead girl. The girl was not supposed to move throughout the whole show, but sit with her legs crossed until the end of the performance, when she should stand up. Ragnheiður was so sore that she fell over. But all was well and at the moment Ragnheiður is a freelance member of Leikfélagi Reykjavíkur, and this year she will play both Skáld-Rósa [‘The Poet Rosa’] and Geggjuðu konunni í París [The Madwoman of Chailott]. Ragnheiður says she has no big plans for the future and therefore the future is uncertain. But in the meantime, the rest of us are just waiting for Ragnheiður to do something new, and who knows if she might become world famous in the next attempt. Because, as everyone knows, it has always been difficult to turn off stars that have once been switched on – at least in Iceland.
Image title: Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir looks out into the unknown, and the future is uncertain. So it should be with young women.
- ‘Hún er búin að fá 20 aðdáendabréf’: Vikan, 8 March 1979, p. 3.