Bearded Swedes flock to Norwegian border farm

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The beard, as commonly sported by the Swedish hipster. Photo: Helena Landstedt/TT
12:18 CEST+02:00
The production company behind the Norwegian version of docusoap The Farm has seen an influx of bearded men apply to participate in the filming of the show, after a casting call for more Swedish extras created a hairy mix-up.

The forthcoming season of the reality series will take place on a farm in Halden, near the Swedish border. Producers Strix want to explain some of the history of the area during the episodes, including its strong links to the smuggling of alcohol across the border during the Norwegian prohibition.

But Swedes were not quite as forthcoming as Strix had hoped. In an effort to try to land the 100 further extras the series required, director Fredrik Horn Akselsen made an appeal in an interview with Norwegian newspaper HA for more Swedes – and more men with beards – to sign up for filming.

“After that article we’ve had a lot of men with beards signing up,” Strix drama coordinator Marianne Fjørtoft told The Local.

“In the past couple of days we’ve had 25 men with huge beards expressing interest, which is wonderful. We didn’t have any Swedish people last week, and this weekend we had around 20. We still need some more, but we’re getting there, which is lovely.”

According to Fjørtoft there has been something of a mix-up however. What was reported in Norway (then later in Sweden) as a specific hunt for men with beards was really no more than a flippant comment from producer Akselsen.

“They don’t have to have beards,” Fjørtoft laughed.

“It’s because a journalist asked what kind of people we’re looking for, and in previous productions we had a lot of women and children, but the men are slower to say they’re interested. It was just something he put out there then it became ‘they need beards’.”

READ ALSO: Bearded Swedes caught in Isis mix-up

And anyone from Stockholm’s sizeable hipster community may be disappointed to learn that taking part in the show could involve an unfeasibly large amount of travel.

“Stockholm is way too far for them to travel from. Unless they’re extremely interested in doing this it’ll be too far as we start at 10.30 on a Wednesday morning, then there are weekends too. So they would need to travel to the town and stay there for the night,” Fjørtoft said.

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“We’re obviously happy to have them if they want to come that far though. Everyone is welcome.”

Anyone interested in being an extra on the show – bearded or otherwise – can sign up here.

And while facial hair is not a requirement, a grasp of the Swedish language would help. In their quest for realism, Strix will ask extras to sing Swedish songs from the period, so get practising.

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