Heartless star on the “new and scary” vampire series

Sebastian Jessen on playing Sebastian in Walter Presents’ Heartless

Heartless Sebastian

In the latest of our Heartless interviews, we spoke to Sebastian Jessen, who plays Sebastian, a teenage vampire who enrols in school with his vampire sister Sofie, seeking clues to how they became vampires.


What attracted you to the part and how did you get involved?
The producer called me and said, ‘I have this script – do you want to read it?’ ‘Yes, of course’. Then I read it and I was like, ‘I’m scared, I don’t think I can do this’, because it was a first for me and we’ve never seen anything like it in Denmark, not in Danish, at least. So it was a bit frightening, but then I said, ‘Okay, let’s do it’. I liked the fact that it was something new, but that was also the scary part – you never know what the audience will say. And the fact that we were not vampires, we were something else, we have to define ourselves, it was intriguing, but also scary.


You say you’re not vampires, but it’s obviously being referred to as a Danish teenage vampire series…
I call it the Black Arts.


You’re not vampires, as you say, but your characters suck the life force out of people in a very vampiric way, let’s say – were you secretly disappointed not to have all the fangs and the blood and all of that?
[Laughs] I would love to try it some day. But we didn’t have enough time and we didn’t have the budget to do all the blood and fangs and stuff like that, so I think this was a fantastic way to do it.


What kind of preparation did you do?
Not that much really, because again, it was something new, so of course I did my work, I read the script, got into the story, stuff like that, but not all the supernatural preparations – I didn’t go see other shows and films about vampires because what was the point? I wasn’t a vampire. I had to discover something new, so I felt I had to come with an open mind and not be too prepared.


Are you much of a genre fan yourself? What kind of things do you like to read and watch for your own entertainment?
When I read, I like to read thrillers. One of my favourite films is The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption also.


How did you find the change in director between the first five episodes and the next three?
I knew Natasha Arthy before shooting Heartless and I really liked her. I didn’t know Kaspar Munk. So we had to find each other and I think we did. I like the fact that it was changed – that’s common in Denmark, to change the director in a series – but I liked what he did to it, as well. I think it became a bit darker when Kaspar took over, a bit more spooky, I guess.


What was the most difficult thing to get right in the performance overall?
The suction [of the life force] part was just difficult because we had to invent it and how it felt to be doing it. It was just weird and it was difficult. Of course, it’s very important that you as an actor believe in what you do and say and feel and stuff, otherwise you can’t portray it. So I really had to believe that if I don’t suck that person, I will die. And that was a tricky one.


Heartless Sebastian Sofie
Jessen with co-star Julie Zangenberg.

How did you work on the sibling relationship with Julie Zangenberg?
We knew each other before, a bit. My brother had worked with Julie for six months, so I knew her a little. We act a bit like siblings – she was bullying me, I was bullying her, like siblings do, so that helped a lot.


What do you have coming up?
I’m a voice actor, I do a lot of cartoons, so that’s what I’m working on right now. There are hopefully some TV series in the pipeline too.


Is that original Danish cartoons, or are you dubbing American cartoons?
I’m dubbing American cartoons. I’m Spider-Man and I’m Anakin Skywalker in Clone Wars.


That is awesome. Which is your favourite animated character that you do the voice for?
I really like Annakin Skywalker in Clone Wars, because I just think it’s an awesome series. At the bottom of his heart, he’s a bit evil, and I like that. And Spider-Man is quite neurotic.


If you’ve done The Spectacular Spider-Man, have you also voiced Spider-Man in the Avengers cartoons?
Yes! Yeah, I did.


Heartless is available to watch now on Walter Presents. For more news about the latest TV series, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.