Malte Gardinger on playing the antagonist in Young Royals

words Eveleyn May Taylor

In 2021, the show ‘young royals ‘was released. Watching it for the first time,  I knew this show would be revolutionary for lgbtqia+ media. The coming of age Swedish drama reflects the pressures of being in love, mental health and the pressure being a teenager. Over three years, the series has developed a dedicated fan base. The love story between Simon and Willhelm is one which seems so incredibly genuine. However, the characters imperfections shape them and create an incredibly dynamic story. This is why it is one of my favorite ever shows. The character of August in particular is one whose actions in the first series show him to be a character capable of cruelty however he is undoubtedly integral to the story.  In preparation for Young royals season 3 , we interviewed Malte Gardinger why plays August Horn of Årnäs to discuss the development of his character and what it was like to act in such an incredibly impactful show.

Malte Gardinger actor

How much fun has it been it to play the bad guy in Young Royals?.

To play August? It’s great fun. It’s always more interesting usually to play the antagonist. It’s just they usually have more layers to work with and around. And I think that that’s the case with August as well. It’s very, like, he’s got so many different sides to him.

And how have you liked the way August has developed through the seasons?

I mean he’s changed a lot. And he will change more in season three. It’s going to be a hell a ride for him, but also for everyone else. But that was sort of the plan. I remember the first time when I sat down with Lisa, the script writer, and we talked about building this character, almost like a stereotypical antagonist and then slowly breaking him down through the seasons and showing a different side, which I think we, she did wonderfully, writing wise. I try my best to treat the words, the character the best way possible.

How do you feel about this being the last season of young Royals and it coming to a close?

I mean it’s bittersweet. But I haven’t really processed any of it. Like, not even the first series. It’s been my life. I’ve been in the middle of it all so much these past three years, so it’s been hard to like, sort of even guesstimate what’s been happening but I think that realization will probably land. It’s gonna happen sometime soon, but not right now. I’m still holding on to it.

Malte Gardinger youtube actor

Why do you think it’s the show connected in such a great way with like a young teenager audience?

Mostly I think it’s because of the love story between Wilhelm and Simon. Of course, it’s so great. Just portraying a love story, just as a love story, rather than making it something else.  I think it’s pretty common that people trying to portray same sex relationships – it often becomes a cliched sort of story. We wanted to show the relationship as a real love story. It just happens to be two guys. And I think that really was nice.

What did you think when you read the script for the first time?

I remember very clearly. I got sent the first draft of the whole script on my 20th birthday. And at that time nobody had told me anything really about the character or the story or anything like that. So I was completely, I was blown away. And also like, I didn’t really realize that my character played as big a role as he did. When I auditioned, I thought it would be more just a typical bully that appears like in one scene or something. But then I realized that he had a whole like, arc and stuff, which was which was really cool. I was yeah, it was a great day. Good birthday.

Malte Gardinger Young Royals

I know you had roles before this show but it must have been a different level of fame when you when Young Royals hit?

Yeah, it was a very weird, weird sort of attention. I’m pretty uncomfortable really with the attention generally. So I think in the beginning was pretty was much – it was a lot. Yeah, but, but it was now, now we all we have to learn to deal with it in our ways.

What was your own favorite episode of Young Royals?

Oh, good question. That’s a great question. I mean, I want to say it’s obvious but it’s like the the last episode and season three. Yeah, we’ll have to wait to see.

I know you’ve been acting from an early age but did you go to a normal state school or did you go to a special acting school?

So yeah, I went to I went to normal school to up till, like high school. Yeah. So after that we have what’s called Gymnasium, which is like, college in a way. And there I studied theater.

And it seems you wanted to be an actor at a young age?

Yes I did. For some time. God knows. Like I don’t know how I even started actually. But like at nine years old I think I just did a lot and tried everything because I was bored. And then I stumbled upon theater, and I just didn’t quit.

Young Royals season 3 is out now on Netflix.



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