The last two episodes of the surprisingly satirical and themed TV series “It’s All Dark” about a phantom blackout in Europe and its consequences for people, flashed across screens on Tuesday (September 27, 8:15 p.m., BR). Bavarian actor Michael A. Grimm (52, “Guglhupfgeschwader”) belongs to the predominantly Austrian band. Grimm plays the German stand-up and family man Jens, who, unlike all the other villagers, has been storing various supplies in his basement for a long time…
In an interview with a news site, the Munich native reveals whether he would be prepared in the event of a large-scale blackout, whether he was afraid of such scenarios and how smart his house was. Grimm also talks about the shooting in the municipality of Scheiblingkirchen-Thernberg in Lower Austria.
The series has become more significant since filming began. What did you think when you read the text and how has your attitude toward it changed in the past six months?
Michael A. Grimm: I was given the book to read a few months before filming began, and it immediately attracted me. On the one hand, the topic of the crisis of civilization and its personal consequences in a small village community as well as approaching this topic using humor.
We live in what is actually a very beautiful civilization that enables us and many others to live relatively good lives. We have many circumstances and efforts to thank for the fact that this is the case. I think you should be aware of that and keep reminding yourself of it. It just doesn’t come naturally. I discovered it long before this text. I value our world – largely freed from many existential needs – because it is rather the exception in human history.
And if you really value our civilization, you can take better care of it, protect it and hopefully make it better and better. In my opinion, this perspective was confirmed in the Corona years and also with the beginning of the Ukraine war. I am not surprised or overwhelmed by this worldview, even though these events have affected and affected me. I consider our society to be worthy of protection. In order to protect something, you have to reckon with the bad and the harmful, look at it.
Have you always had some emergency supplies or have you had some since the shoot?
Grimm: The show didn’t change my behavior in any way. I think about the threats to our lives on a regular basis, conscious, investigative, and I don’t monopolize my daily life in any way or even with fear. If the latter happens, I walk away from it and occupy myself with other things. I think that’s good.
Yes, I have some supplies. I think without water or electricity for a few days, and without access to groceries for a few days, my family should be able to afford it. I’m ready for it and I was ahead of it. But if the changes caused by a crisis were so extensive that my whole life changed, i.e. the current civilization collapsed and I had to farm, then all the initial planning would be futile anyway. Then you have to start over. If I thought this was a possibility, I would have to plant a field now or set traps in Canada.
The series deals with the myriad effects of blackout across Europe. Which one scares you the most on a personal level?
Grimm: The only thing that scares me is the stupidity of people. Our greed, our ill-considered, often compulsive actions driven by fear do us all in the long run. On the other hand, there is the ability to work together and interact, which is what has brought us so far. I think our species is capable of many things, including a livable society without electronics if necessary. This takes effort.
Aside from the necessities of life, smart homes, for example, will also be particularly affected by blackouts. How smart does your home actually look?
Grimm: Despite my good electronic network, I have a rather stupid house. I’m certainly not an enemy of technology, I love to use a lot of things that our entire electronic world brings with it. But not everything. Many technical advances have made our lives better, and some worse. I think it is up to each of us to think about the advantages and disadvantages of the new advance and then evaluate them. There may be people who put comfort in being able to regulate heating from their vacation spot or lower the curtains at home from work on dependence in exchange for being more internet dependent and more transparent. I don’t think it is worth it.
Do you keep a lot of analog options open?
Grimm: Yes, I like to keep a lot of “analog options,” as you call them, open. But not because I generally have a deep distrust of our civilization, and of our technological progress, but simply because I cannot and do not want to rule out the possibility of obfuscation. I really liked the use of modern electronics in some places, but not always and everywhere. I don’t do everything that is electronically possible just because it is possible. If I get big benefits from it, like being able to reach people better or better organize my life, I’m willing to pay the price for being more dependent on electronics. Where dependency can be avoided with little effort, I do so.
In Monster “Taturt: Nebius” (2022), in “The Kangaroo Plot” (2022) and also in “Everything is Dark” there are characters who deal with conspiracy theories. So these now also occur in fiction. What’s your opinion?
Grimm: “It’s all dark” is not about conspiracy theorists or conspiracy theorists. It is not primarily about disaster. The way we tell the story, it’s not about how the blackout happened, whether it could actually happen technically or politically, or even behind it. We’re not looking for a villain – that’s a rarity in the world of disaster stories, and I think it’s a lot of fun. The only bad person to blame, or a group of bad guys or monsters to blame.
It is about people in crisis, people in society. It comes down to whether society tolerates, and whether it can act. How it organizes itself and how people work in it. It is about how we deal with crises. This is much more difficult and more exciting than what Dr. Find and blow up La or Blofeld.
The film was shot in the lower Austrian municipality of Scheiblingkirchen-Thernberg. How did the residents react?
Grimm: Thernbergers have shown us that people portray wonderful calm and serenity. We were not ignored or even cut short, as sometimes happens when this strange and unfamiliar act of photography disturbs the daily lives of the locals. The fans didn’t corner us either, despite our well-known Austrian colleagues back home. The people there watched with interest, watched us tell stories, but otherwise lived their daily lives. So let’s take part in their daily work and give an example of what it might look like in a small community. Very enjoyable.
You play a German who immigrated with his family to Austria. There were also in the group mostly Austrian colleagues. How were you received there?
Grimm: Our job in the cinema or the theater always describes a crowd of people who want to tell a story together. Everyone on this team was a professional or a professional trying to get everyone involved, no matter how unfamiliar they might be. Although I must say that my film wife, Bettina Mittendorfer, works a lot in Austria and I already know one nose or the other, so we were neither strangers nor excluded. The general atmosphere of the shooting was calm, fun, hardworking, friendly and unusual. I don’t want to miss this job.