Lindhé started as a theatre and opera director, staging large productions such as A Clockwork Orange at Angeredsteatern, Gothenburg, Nosferatu at Stockholm’s City Theatre and The Fall of the House of Usher at the Malmö Opera House. He then moved on to writing and directing for film and television.

He most recently directed SVT’s 30 Degrees in February and C More/TV4’s crime thriller Modus.

Lindhé wrote The Inner Circle in collaboration with Anna Platt and Maja Winkler for production house Fundament Film and Viaplay. DRG handles world distribution.

The eight-part series is loosely based on the book ‘I maktens öga’ (‘In the eye of power) by Per Schlingmann, a well-known Swedish political strategist, former Party Secretary for the Moderate Party and Secretary of State for the former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. The series centres on David Ehrling (Niklas Engdahl), the Minister for Enterprise, the ‘golden boy’ of politics, who is eyeing the coveted post of Swedish Prime Minister, with the help of his sharp press secretary Lena Nilsdotter (Nanna Blondell). But family trouble, femmes fatales and political enemies are blocking his way to the top.


What does it mean to be nominated for the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for Best Nordic screenplay?
Håkan Lindhé: Of course, it means a lot. I decided early on that I had to ”make the story mine” - or not at all. Therefore, many of the things I added to the story, are very personal to me. So I choose to see this nomination as a sign that it was the right way to go.

When did you get into screenwriting and why?
HL: I think I was 27 years old. In those days, I was a theatre director. But I wanted to do film. So in-between two productions, I wrote my first screenplay, without any hope that it would one day be produced. But - to my great surprise - it was, by Lars Jönsson at Memfis Film. It was called Hela Härligheten (Love Fools). From there on, one thing led to another...

What do you find most challenging and exciting about writing for television?
HL: The greatest challenge is to be true to yourself, to "keep your eye ‘on the ball’ and write out of lust, even when you get millions of notes from people who might not share your enthusiasm for your work. Feedback is extremely important, but needs to be handled with great care. Here, a good producer, can be of great help.

The most exciting thing is the chance of communicating with a large audience. But this gives the writer a great responsibility to use those hours wisely.

How did you get involved in The Inner Circle?
HL: The producer Håkan Hammarén [Fundament Film] called me and asked if I wanted to spend the next summer in Gotland, writing and directing a piece about the political world. He had me at hello!

How did you collaborate with your writing partners Anna Platt and Maja Winkler, and how much input did you get from author Per Schlingmann?
HL: I wrote a fairly detailed storyline, from which Anna and Maja wrote their episodes at the same time as I wrote the others. After we had second drafts of everything, I re-wrote all of them, to get the same tonality in everything.

Per read the scrips out of an authenticity perspective, which was of great help.

Did you have the actors in mind when you wrote the screenplay and how involved were they in defining their characters?
HL: Well, while I was writing, some of the actors just popped up in my mind, while others were suggestions from my wife Johanna, who was casting the series. She knew what I wanted better than I knew myself. I wanted the actors to be very much like they are in their private lives. And in that way, I guess you could say that they are very involved in defining their characters.

For you what is the core of the series in terms of overall themes and topic you wanted to tackle, and in what way is The Inner Circle relevant to audiences not only in Scandinavia but internationally?
HL: I’m always interested in the real reasons for why people behave in one way or another - the deep psychological mechanisms - and how that often conflicts with what we reveal to others. So when I was asked to do The Inner Circle, I didn’t want to describe the political world the way we usually see it - through a journalistic viewpoint. Instead, I wanted to go "behind the closed doors" and take a deeper look at the real life of a politician who fights for his future. And as I dug into that, I realised that there is a potential for a more interesting premise here than the book that it is based upon. For me, the conflict of the story is not only David versus the rest of the world, but also his deep inner conflict; what is most important; his career or his family? And that is something I think many of us can relate to. Not only in Scandinavia.

To make the show as authentic as possible, how much research did you do? Did you interview politicians?
HL: We decided very early that this was fiction. But at the same time, we wanted to be as authentic as possible. Therefore, we decided that everything that happens in the story could happen in real life.

I didn’t do any interviews with politicians for this project. I wanted to, but there was no time. One year after I got the first call from the producer, we shot the first scene in Almedalen.

Do you have any tip to other budding screenwriters, or an advice you received, that you found particularly useful?
HL: When I look back at my own work, I realise that the best scripts were stories about things very personal to me. So my advice would be: write for yourself. If you can find that spot within you, where you are deeply touched by what you do, chances are that you’ll touch the same spot in others.

Could you cite two TV dramas that you binge-watched recently?
HL: Succession and A Very British Scandal. Both great, even though I think the first one of them are the best.