Pål Sverre Hagen

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Pål Sverre Hagen
Pål Sverre Hagen 2018.jpg
Hagen in 2018
Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen

(1980-11-06) 6 November 1980 (age 38)
Stavanger, Norway
Alma materNorwegian National Academy of Theatre
Years active2003–present
FamilyRoar Hagen (father)

Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen (born 6 November 1980) is a Norwegian stage and screen actor. He appeared in the Norwegian film Max Manus and played Thor Heyerdahl in the Oscar-nominated 2012 film Kon-Tiki.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Pål Hagen was born in Stavanger, Norway,[2] the son of Roar Hagen, a Norwegian cartoonist who has long been associated with Norway's largest daily, VG. He lived in Jåtten, a neighborhood in the city of Stavanger in south-western Norway. When he was eight, his family moved to Østlandet, and by the age of 19 he was living in Nesodden, near Oslo. He attended Romerike folkehøgskole for a year,[3] then studied at the Norwegian National Academy of Theatre in Oslo from 2000 to 2003.[4][5]

In July 2000, after being accepted into the Academy of Theatre, he was interviewed by the Aftenbladet. He described himself as being from Stavanger in south-western Norway, and spoke in a Stavanger dialect. He had studied drama in upper secondary school and auditioned unsuccessfully for the Academy of Theatre a year earlier. He tried again in 2000, and was invited to try for a third time, in which he succeeded.[3]

Stage career[edit]

His stage debut was in 2003 in Frode Grytten's Bikubesong (Beehive Song) at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo.[6]

After Bikubesong, he played many parts at the same theater, including leading roles in Herr Bima og herr Bramati by Tord Akerbæk (2003) and Skråninga by Carl Frode Tiller (2004).[7]

Hagen went on to play the title roles in Anton Chekhov's Ivanov and in Raskolnikov, based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, both at Hålogaland Teater. He said that playing Raskolnikov had been “extremely dark and extremely difficult,” and that he had had to take six months off after the end of the play's run to “recharge my batteries.”[4]

In 2006 he became an official member of the repertory company at Det Norske Teatret, and performed there in Verdas mest forelska par (World's Most-in-Love Couple), Få meg på, for faen! (Touch Me, For God's Sake!), and Gabriel García Márquez's Ingen skriv til obersten (Nobody Write to the Colonel).[8]

Hagen played Prince Hal in a 3-hour and 40-minute version of William Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 and Part 2 staged in 2008 at Det Norske Teatret.[9]

He told Kroepelien that in recent years he had worked hard on trying to use his body expressively, noting that “In roles like Bjørn Diesel in Verdas mest forelska par I began to explore an expressive language, something I have really always liked. I got a good opportunity to go more deeply both as the elephant in Fyrverkerimakarens dotter [The Fireworks Maker's Daughter] and Hanen in Ingen skriv til obersten.

Regarding his appearance in Henry IV, he said, “This is my first encounter with Shakespeare, and all I can do is admit that I have an overwhelming and massive piece of material ahead of me. Because really understanding the characters and the setting demands a lot more than a script."[8]

In the autumn of 2009, he appeared in a dark comedy, Ett lykkelig sjølvmord (A Happy Suicide).

He said that the actor whose work meant the most to him was Bjørn Sundquist. “I've learned a lot from him. We're both interested in a kind of energy. An energy that's undefinable, but that's totally essential for expression. It is an important kernel of the kind of acting I want to do. And it's good to meet others who are looking for the same thing.”[4]

In the autumn of 2010 Valheim Hagen played Edmund Tyrone in the Riksteatret's production of Eugene O'Neill's Lang dags ferd mot natt (Long Day's Journey into Night). Liv Ullmann played his mother, Mary Tyrone, and Sundquist played his father, James Tyrone.[10] In an article about this production, a writer for Dagbladet noted that Sundquist had played Falstaff to Valheim Hagen's Prince Hal in 2008, and that they had played father and son the year after in the film Jernanger, “in roles that were too small for their talents.”

In 2014, he played Stavrogin in Demoner 2014, based on Fyodor Dostojevskij's The Devils. The play premiered on February 8th at the National Theatre in Oslo.[11]

Television and film career[edit]

Hagen made his film debut in Cry in the Woods (Den som frykter ulven) in 2004. He appeared in several other films, including Erik Poppe's 2008 film Troubled Water (De usynlige).[5] For this film he won the Kanonprisen for best performance by an actor in a leading role.[12] A 2012 article in Filmmagasinet praising Troubled Water as a great Norwegian film gave part of the credit for its excellence to “unbelievably good acting” by Valheim Hagen and other members of the cast.[13]

In 2008, in addition to Troubled Water, Valheim Hagen appeared in four other well-received films: Cold Lunch (Lønsj), House of Fools (De gales hus), Max Manus, and The Storm in My Heart (Jernanger).[5]

A January 2009 profile in Aftenposten noted that he was in three different movies that were running simultaneously in Oslo cinemas – The Storm in My Heart, Max Manus, and Troubled Water – and was also rehearsing the “surrealistic comedy” Eit lykkeleg sjølvmord at Det Norske Teatret.[14]

In the autumn of 2011 Hagen played the lead role in a four-part, 4-hour Norwegian TV mini-series, Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? (Buzz Aldrin, hvor ble det av deg i alt mylderet?), based on the debut novel by Johan Harstad.[5]

In early 2017 Hagen starred alongside Sven Nordin in the thriller series Valkyrien. In summer 2017 it was screened in the UK on Channel 4.


Hagen won international notice playing explorer Thor Heyerdahl in the 2012 film Kon-Tiki, based on Heyerdahl's book. An October 2011 article in VG about the making of the film reported that "the filmmakers had to pinch their arms when Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen (31) pulled off Heyerdahl's characteristic Larvik English for the first time. “We all got chills. It was a very special experience,” said director Espen Sandberg. The very first scene Valheim Hagen did as Heyerdahl showed him giving a lecture in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the National Geographic Society, and Sandberg said that he “did it so convincingly that the filmmakers stood their open mouthed,” feeling “that it was Thor standing in front of us. Of course I knew it was Pål Sverre, but sometimes magic happens, and fortunately we managed to capture it."

A Dagsavisen profile of Hagen in August 2012 in connection with the release of Kon-Tiki said that he had “nearly perfected” the distinctive way in which Thor Heyerdahl spoke English. He explained that “It was a conscious choice to speak English the way he did. The most important thing for me is that those who see it get a kind of 'feeling for Thor.' For very many people, the way he spoke is something they remember well. He had a special 'sound'!"[15]

He said he had considered it a challenge to “find” the real Heyerdahl, as the explorer had been a “master” at projecting a public image. “It's important to remember that when the film is taking place, Thor Heyerdahl hadn't become a legend yet. He hadn't become Heyerdahl yet.”[16]

Kon-Tiki was chosen by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences as one of five nominees for its award for best foreign-language film of 2012. In explaining its choice, the Academy singled out Hagen for praise, saying that his performance created a feeling of intimacy in a film with a very broad scope.[17] The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe.[18]

Personal life[edit]

In the December 2012 issue of the Norwegian edition of fashion magazine Elle, Hagen was named Norway's 14th-sexiest man.[19]

He said that he once planned to be a marine biologist.[14][6]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Cry in the Woods Politivakt
2006 Blokk B Him short
2006 Roswell Enterprises William short
2006 Miracle Assistant
2008 Cold Lunch Caretaker
2008 House of Fools Tussi
2008 Troubled Water Jan Thomas
2008 Max Manus; Man Of War Roy Nilsen
2009 The Storm in My Heart Kris
2009 Amor Thomas short
2011 I Travel Alone Hasse Ognatun
2012 Kon-Tiki Thor Heyerdahl
2013 Gåten Ragnarok Sigurd Svendsen
2014 In Order of Disappearance Greven
2016 The Last King Gisle
2016 Beyond Sleep Arne
2016 A Conspiracy of Faith Johannes Flaskepost fra P in Danish
2017 What Happened to Monday Jerry
2019 Out Stealing Horses
2019 Amundsen Roald Amundsen
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Sejer - Svarte sekunder Tomme Mini-series
2010-2011 Buzz Aldrin, hvor ble det av deg i alt mylderet? Matthias
2017 Valkyrien Leif

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 Verdas mest forelska par Heddaprisen Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
2007 Ingen skriv til obersten Heddaprisen Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
2008 Troubled Water Kanonprisen Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Won
2009 The Storm in My Heart Kanonprisen Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
Year Organization Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2017 Gullruten Best Actor, TV Drama Himself for Valkyrien Won
  • The citation for the Heddaprisen Award praised Valheim Hagen's “imaginative skill at creating characters that... expresses itself in a vigorous physical expressiveness.”[8][4][21][12][22]


  1. ^ "PÅL SVERRE HAGEN VALHEIM V08". DET NORSKET TEATRET. Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  2. ^ "Pål Sverre Hagen". FILMWEB.NO. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Ekstasen uteble". Aftenbladet.no. 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  4. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b c d "Hei. Vi ser at du har valgt å blokkere annonser". Tv2.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  6. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Anmeldt av Helge Matland (2012-09-02). "Stor prestasjon". Itromso.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  8. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Framsyningar". Detnorsketeatret.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  10. ^ Karen Frøsland Nystøyl (2010-09-02). "Lang dags ferd mot natt - NRK Kultur og underholdning - Nyheter og aktuelt stoff". Nrk.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  11. ^ Ditt navn. "Demoner 2014". Nationaltheatret.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  12. ^ a b Jon Selås (2017-05-24). "Kanonuttelling for «Max Manus» - Norsk film - VG". Vg.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "KON TIKI , THOR HEYERDAHL - - Må finne 50-talls- kroppen". Side2.no. 2011-04-12. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  17. ^ "«Kon-Tiki» er Norges Oscar-håp". Tv2.no. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  18. ^ "Ingen Golden Globe for «Kon-Tiki» - Hollywood - VG". Vg.no. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Gullruten: «Nobel» mot «Skam»
  21. ^ "Heddaprisen – Store norske leksikon". Snl.no. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

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