ByMatthew Chapman, writer at
Male. Australian. Nerd. Twitter: shuey1984
Matthew Chapman


Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday.

Lena Maria Jonna Olin was born in Stockholm, Sweden on the 22nd of March 1955.

Before she became an actress, Olin worked as both a substitute teacher and as a hospital nurse while in Sweden, where she had a successful career as an actress before coming to Hollywood.

Her father, Stig Olin, who was also an actor and has played in six of Ingmar Bergman's films, who would also direct Lena when she acted at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm.

After a very successful stage career in Sweden, Olin's international film debut in a lead role came in 1984 in Bergman's After the Rehearsal.

Lena was considered for the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Batman Returns.

In 1994 Olin married director, Lasse Hallström (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Hundred-Foot Journey).

Lasse Hallström and Lena Olin.
Lasse Hallström and Lena Olin.

Olin has a small TV career starring in Hamilton, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and most recently, Welcome to Sweden.

Olin in Welcome to Sweden.
Olin in Welcome to Sweden.

Olin's main success has been in film with roles in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Enemies: A Love Story, Havana (in which director, Sydney Pollack, rewrote the screenplay especially for her), Romeo Is Bleeding, Mystery Men, The Ninth Gate, Queen Of The Damned, Darkness, The United States of Leland, Awake, The Reader and Remember Me.

Now here are my Top 2 Lena Olin roles (if you hadn't guessed by the titles omitted from the above lists!).

ALIAS (2001-2006)

You may have already seen some of the reasoning in my Victor Garber birthday post HERE.

Alias was, and still is, one of my favourite TV shows and the reason at first was the relationship between Sydney and Jack Bristow/Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber but that just escalated when Lena Olin joined the cast as Irina Derevko, Sydney's mother, for which Olin received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

The dynamic between all three was amazing, I could sit there and watch all three of them, together and individually, for ages!

I think the scenes I loved the most were the scenes between Irina and Jack. The love/hate between those two characters was just awesome to sit back and watch.

Irina and Jack.
Irina and Jack.


I originally only watched this after Lena was in Alias and I went a rented most of her films.

Aside from Olin of course, the cast is absolutely brilliant, with actors like Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss and Peter Stormare.

It a beautiful story, directed by husband Lasse Hallström, beautiful imagery and just an all round awesome film with heart.

Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin.
Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin.

What's your favourite Lena Olin performance? Let me know in the comments below!


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