Queen of Denmark makes film debut...as an extra

Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:28am EDT
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By Mette Fraende

COPENHAGEN (Reuters Life!) - Face smeared with soot and wearing rags, Denmark's Queen Margrethe debuts as an extra in a film based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale on Friday.

The 69-year-old queen, known for painting, designing ballet costumes, chain-smoking and speaking frankly, will appear in "The Wild Swans" as a poor spectator to the threatened burning at the stake of the film's heroine, Princess Elisa.

"The idea emerged spontaneously as we were all working together on the set," said producer Jacob Jorgensen.

The queen designed sets and costumes for the film, which premieres Friday, but her minor screen role was only recently revealed.

Andersen's 1838 fairy tale has earlier been adapted for ballet, television, an animated film -- and now a movie.

The story tells of a princess whose 11 brothers are turned into swans when their father, the king, remarries a wicked queen who casts a spell upon them.

Elisa is accused of witchcraft and sentenced to burn, but the brothers rescue her and regain human form with the help of magic shirts that their sister knitted for them from nettles.

"The queen has worked on this film just like the rest of the professional crew," Jorgensen said. "We have worked on the project together for five years."   Continued...

<p>Queen Margrethe II of Denmark pose for a photo during the opening of the exhibition 'with Fortuna over the sea Saxony and Denmark- marriages and alliances in the mirror of art (1548-1709)' at the Royal Palace in Dresden August 23, 2009. REUTERS/Petr Josek</p>