OPETH’s MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT Says He Has Been Working On Score For NETFLIX Series ‘Clark’ Since March 2020
Back in May 2020, it was announced that OPETH frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt would score the upcoming Netflix series «Clark». The six-episode drama series about the Swedish criminal Clark Olofsson is being directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Production company is Scandinavian Content Group.
Åkerfeldt discussed his involvement with «Clark» in a new interview with DREAM THEATER keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Asked if he has had a chance to work on any new music during the coronavirus pandemic, Mikael responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): «Not for OPETH. In a way, I don’t wanna come across as insensitive, but the pandemic hit at a good time for me, work-wise, because I’ve been offered to do a film score, basically, or for a series. The director is Jonas Åkerlund, who’s mostly known for making music videos for Madonna and Lady Gaga. He has a past in heavy metal. He was in a band called BATHORY years ago. And he’s a friend of mine. And he asked if I would be interested in scoring music for a TV series that’s coming out on Netflix about a guy called Clark Olofsson, who was a famous, infamous robber, basically. So it’s almost like a biopic. So I’m writing music that’s supposed to fit in from the ’40s and onwards. So that’s been fun. So I’ve been doing that. I’m still kind of working on that.»
Regarding his approach to writing the «Clark» score, Mikael said: «In the beginning, I didn’t wanna do much vocals, but I’ve done some vocals. He sent me the script, and I read through [it]. But he basically told me, ‘Just write music like you normally do.’ And that’s what I did, only shorter pieces — like three-minute pieces. You don’t wanna spend time working on a 20-minute piece and then he goes, ‘That sucks.’ So I’m just doing shorter things. But it’s been really fun. And I think I’ve learned a lot. I had to kind of school myself in music, how it sounded in different decades and so forth… Some stuff is kind of OPETH-y sounding, I guess, and some stuff is definitely not OPETH-y sounding. But it’s been really fun. And some what I think are really nice things I’m almost hoping it’s not gonna be used, so I could take it for OPETH.»
Asked if did any scoring to picture, Mikael said: «I haven’t scored to picture. I would love to do that. But this is the first time I’ve done anything like this. So I’m just basically writing things and sending it to him. And then we’ll see what happens.»
Åkerfeldt went on to reiterate that the lockdown happened at a good time for him professionally. «Yeah, I’m afraid to say,» he said. «Yeah, it was good. I wouldn’t have had time [to work on the score] otherwise. I’ve been keeping busy working almost every day since March 2020.»
Olofsson will be portrayed by Bill Skarsgård, who is best known for his terrorizing and iconic portrayal of Pennywise in the Stephen King saga «It». Last year, he starred in the Netflix film «The Devil All The Time» and in the Sundance hit «Nine Days» for Sony Pictures Classic. On television, Skarsgård most recently starred in Hulu‘s «Castle Rock», a psychological drama series from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King.
Based on the truth and lies of Olofsson‘s autobiography, the Swedish-language series will feature Clark‘s early years until present day. The notorious gangster started his criminal career in the 1960s and became one of the most controversial personalities in contemporary Swedish history. Convicted of several counts of drug trafficking, attempted murder, assault, theft and dozens of bank robberies, he has spent more than half his life behind bars and has left behind a trail of trauma, heartbreak, disappointment and general devastation. In the 1970s, Clark gave rise to the idea of «The Stockholm Syndrome» during a failed bank robbery in Stockholm — and has ever since kept his position as celebrity criminal fooling all of Sweden to fall in love with him. Just like he desired.
Åkerlund said: «‘Clark’ is the story about the most politically incorrect man, who lived the most politically incorrect life. These are the kinds of stories I always look for. It’s an ultra-violent, witty, emotional, real and surreal biography to put a face to the name Stockholm Syndrome, but it isn’t just about the Norrmalmstorg Robbery. It’s about his whole life and what made him who he is, the truth and lies of his incredible career. Bill Skarsgård is the perfect match for this and he will bring the Stockholm Syndrome to the role. And Netflix is the perfect platform, they are not just the biggest streaming service, they also have the boldness to tell this incredible story.»
Added Skarsgård: «Clark Olofsson is, for good and bad, one of Sweden’s most colourful and fascinating individuals. I accept this challenge with delight mingled with terror and think that with Jonas and Netflix in the back, we can tell a groundbreaking story with a pace and madness we may not have seen on TV before. Clark‘s life and history is so incredible and screwed that it would even make Scorsese blush.»
Tesha Crawford, director of International Originals Northern Europe at Netflix, said: «We really look forward to continuing our great collaboration with Jonas Åkerlund and Bill Skarsgård. We can not imagine a better team to tell the complex story about Clark Olofsson and how he became one of the most controversial personalities in modern Swedish times.»