Venice Rising Star: Amanda Collin on How Losing ‘Raised by Wolves’ Led Her to ‘The Promised Land’ 

Venice Rising Star: Amanda Collin on How Losing ‘Raised by Wolves’ Led Her to ‘The Promised Land’ 

As the old adage goes, when one door closes, another opens. Gwyneth Paltrow can attest to that (for any kids in the audience, we’re referring to 1998 rom-com Sliding Doors). As can Amanda Collin. 

The Danish actress was in South Africa shooting the second season of HBO Max’s Ridley Scott-produced sci-fi Raised By Wolves (she played the lead, the war android Mother) when she was first contacted about Nikolaj Arcel’s The Promised Land, screening in both Venice and Toronto. Arcel, as it happens, had written the screenplay to her first feature, 2016 crime thriller A Conspiracy of Faith. “I was in my trailer in my latex suit and Nikolaj called me up about this period drama. I was like, I’m in,” Collin explains. 

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The second season of Raised By Wolves would ultimately be its last, the show — despite critical acclaim and a growing following (and a few major cliffhangers left hanging)— being among the first streaming fallouts from the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. “I remember getting the email, or whatever it was, and I realised that there were two things you could do in this situation, you can be bummed or you can be like, ok, what’s next.”

As it happens, next up for Collin was giving birth to her second child, and with no third season of Raised By Wolves she was then free to do The Promised Land, her biggest film to date and with a shoot much closer to home —plenty in her native Denmark with nights filmed in Prague. “So I took my family, because I was breastfeeding my baby boy at the time. But everyone was there — both kids, grandma — you need an entourage,” she says. “Ultimately, success to me is this balance between life and work life.”

Set in 1755, The Promised Land stars Mads Mikkelsen (teaming up with Arcel for the first time since A Royal Affair) as Ludvig Kahlen, an impoverished army captain hoping to tame the vast and uninhabitable heaths of Jutland to win the favor of the King. Collin plays Barbara, one half of a couple he hires to work on the land and keep him living like the nobleman he wants to be, a move that enrages the spiteful local landowner they escaped from.

“I think one thing that’s so exciting about this movie is that the main theme — for me — is whether you (choose) love or money, basically… which one makes you feel whole,” says Collin. “I think you can take a quick guess on which one Mads’ character is all about — he’s looking for recognition, someone to say, ok, now you can be a full person. Where as Barbara is the other way around. She doesn’t give a fuck what the rest of the world thinks about her — she knows she has value.”

The shoot actually took them to Jutland’s heath, a place Collin says felt one of the film’s main characters. “I remember saying every time we came to set in the early morning I’d be like, ‘it knows what it’s up to today’ and Nikolaj — who I wouldn’t call a spiritual person — would just roll his eyes,” she says. “But it’s just so rich with temper and melancholy, and when it rains it rains, so it wasn’t hard to imagine what life was like back then.”

Collin almost starred in a film called The Bastard, which was The Promised Land’s original title when it was first announced (it’s still Bastarden in Danish), referring to Mikkelsen’s character. While audiences may be disappointed in the switch, she notes it was done for a very good reason.

“Sometimes you have to be careful with these titles, because if you Google ‘The Bastard trailer’ you might get something else, and not starring Mads Mikkelsen… or maybe it is!” she says, adding that, following A Royal Affair, she kept teasing Arcel to “just put ‘royal’” in the name somewhere. “That’s your thing, just do it. Stick a King or Queen in there.”

While the axing of Raised By Wolves may have led Collins to her most prominent feature film to date, it— quite possibly — also helped pave the way for her to join an even bigger TV series, one also on HBO Max and likely to elevate her career even further. 

Earlier this year it was announced that she’d joined the second season of House of the Dragon, playing Lady Jeyne Arryn, the head of House Arryn and an important figure in George R.R. Martin’s books.