Interview with Dennis van de Ven (Protagonist)
How did you get involved in Strike Force?
My best friend, Jeroen, asked me if I wanted to play the other main character in a police series he and Pieter Kuijpers wanted to make based on the tone of Tatort, a German police series we used to watch in the south of Holland (where we all three come from) in the ‘90s.
What did you find interesting of your character?
Because Jeroen and I have worked together for 22 years as comedians, we have a chemistry that worked as a great base for this good cop and a bad cop situation - he is more the man that acts, while I’m the man who thinks. During the seasons, I found a way to make my character a clumsy hero who sometimes is on top of things and, other times, is running behind his colleague.
How did you prepare for this character?
The most important thing is that Jeroen and I write the scripts together with the writers. So we can add what we find interesting. We love awkwardness and strange timing, and jokes that don’t seem like jokes. Apart from that, we went with some cops into the field and had a training, including shooting practice.
How would you describe the series to a public abroad the Netherlands?
Strike Force is set in Tilburg, which is not one of the big cities of Holland, but more a kind of Fargo-like village. We combine the strong plot with the humor of an anti-hero and a downtown cowboy. It’s a rollercoaster between humor and tension.
Who were your influences when it came to prepare for this role? Did you take something from other fictional characters?
Without making it too funny, I use hints of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and Tommy Lee Jones in Natural Born Killers. Niessen is always tense and never really at ease.
You also share a friendship with your co-star and you have played music together. How important was that friendship at the time of filming the episodes and developing both characters?
Our friendship is in a way the same as the companionship of our characters; we are quite different people, but added up, the sum is more than the separate parts. And although Strike Force is much more serious than our comedy work, we have the same fun filming it . . . Always searching for the extra joke, the extra line, and the extra glance.
This became a successful production, it has lasted three seasons and been renewed for a fourth one; did you expect the series to be that successful?
We had to be very patient before we got a go on the second season, but the ratings were that good that they couldn’t refuse. Then, while we were still filming the third season, they already ordered the fourth season. So the trust it grew along the way.
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