Christian Torpe, creator of the hit Danish series Rita, talked with us about the upcoming season 4. Rita is a fan favorite worldwide. A new season is a cause for celebration, because at the end of season 3, Rita’s future was uncertain.
Mille Dinesen stars in the series as the title character. In seasons 1–3, Rita was a rebellious teacher. What’s in store for Rita in season 4? Christian promises a fresh new take on this much loved character.
Q: Congratulations on the new season of Rita! What can you tell us about season 4? I have a whole list of spoiler questions about it: who is back besides Mille Dinesen, where is Rita now, what themes are you dealing with this season? Oh, just tell me everything!
A: I think it is safe to say that the show will be different this season! I can’t reveal how just yet, but I felt like the story of Rita at the old school had been told, and that if I wanted to continue her story, I needed a new, fresh angle. And we came up with – well, I can’t reveal it just yet – but I personally love it. It is 100% Rita yet completely new. It goes much deeper into the themes of identity and how you become the person you are today. Rita will be there, of course, Hjørdis (Lise Baastrup) and Uffe (Kristoffer Fabricius) will be there as well, her kids will be there from time to time, and then there will be a fresh batch of new characters.
Q: When did you learn you would get a 4th season for Rita? Is Netflix involved?
A: We started writing a little over a year ago and then started production in spring this year. Netflix is involved again, like season 3 it is a co-production between TV2 Denmark and Netflix.
Q: You have a premier date in Denmark for Rita. What can you tell us about a premier date in the US?
A: We premiere August 21st in Denmark. I am actually not sure when the US premiere is. There is usually a window of exclusivity for Danish television, about a month or two.
Q: I know the fans are excited about Rita. My posts on Old Ain’t Dead about you, about Mille Dinesen, and about Rita are consistently, week after week, among the top performing posts on the blog. There’s continuing interest in you and in your work. You got off Twitter, so I’m wondering if you are aware of the interest, the fans?
A: So happy to hear that there are fans out there who are excited about the show! When we started it, we thought it was such a local show since it dealt with the Danish school system, but learning that an international audience has taken the character to heart is incredible. I have Mille Dinesen to thank for that – she is so good in this role, you can’t help but relate to her. And yeah, I got off Twitter, at a certain point it just felt like a hangout for the angriest 5% of the world, and it struck me as insane to keep inviting that anger into my living room, but Mille tells me she still gets messages from all over the world. Lately, I believe, it opened on Netflix in South America. I know she has been getting a ton of mail from Brazil and Guatamala!
Q: Since Rita season 3 ended, you’ve been busy creating and writing other shows, including The Mist on Spike TV in the US. Is The Mist the only one we can see in the US? Tell us a little about Sam and Tessa, which I see in your IMDB credits.
A: The Mist is a Stephen King adaptation that I did for Spike and Netflix. I am such a big fan of Stephen King but it is also such a different genre from what I usually do, it was just an incredible challenge. As for Sam and Tessa – they are remakes of Rita! Tessa is the Dutch remake, Sam is the French remake. Don’t ask me why they changed the name, I couldn’t tell you. Watching the show transform into other nationalities has been so much fun – and so weird. They are doing season 2 in France now and apparently it is a big hit there.
Q: Wow, congratulations on those adaptations. People love Rita in every incarnation – you created a universal character. I also loved Hjørdis, the short mini-series spin-off of Rita. It’s still available on Netflix, too. Is the character Hjørdis back in season 4 of Rita?
A: Yes! Hjørdis will always be there. It is Mille’s show, but they are yin and yang. I love the idea of two such different female characters working together and complementing each other. The relationship between them is challenged in season 4 as both Hjørdis and Rita change and grow, Hjørdis is a mom now and Rita alone.
Q: What have I forgotten to ask you? Anything else you’d like to mention?
A: Just that I am excited to see how fans react to the – lets call it season 4 twist. I’ll keep you posted on what it is!
Thanks so much for the interview, Christian. I can’t wait to see more of Rita and I wish you every success with it!