Nikolaj Arcel talks about Mads Mikkelsen’s “personal” saga “The Promised Land” – Miscellaneous

Danish director Nikolaj Arcel, who was behind The Dark Tower with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, recreates the historical epic with The Promised Land, which premieres world premiere in the competition section of the Venice Film Festival.

Set in 1755, the movie is based on a true story, in which Captain Ludwig Kahlen (played by Mads Mikkelsen) decides to invade the Danish lands and build a colony there. But its ruler, Friedrich de Schinkel (Simon Pinberg), does not want to share the harsh land. Or anything else for that matter.

“Today, it’s more about action and superheroes, but I’m very interested in taking the genre, a genre that’s been a little bit lost, and updating it,” he says.

“It has this western quality because it’s about pioneers in a new land, trying to build something, but I was more interested in looking at old epics like Lawrence of Arabia. I think it’s the kind we need.

Despite his differences with Hollywood, Arcel wanted to keep things local.

Produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa Entertainments, co-written by his regular collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen, sales are handled by TrustNordisk.

“I couldn’t make this movie in Hollywood. I had to show Ludwig’s background, I had to make him a hero, and there would be action scenes all the time. That’s what I learned from my time there: it’s about making huge movies for a lot of people. And when Do so, it is not easy to tell a personal story.

“It’s personal, because Ludwig is obsessed with this obsession with becoming someone, and I was completely driven by ambition. I’m 50 now and just had kids. Before, it was all about work, work, work. I wanted to tell this story through Ludwig.” , because he’s also blind to what’s around him.I wasn’t extreme, but it reminded me of my 30s and early 40s.

No stranger to old movies, after hitting the stage with Alicia Vikander’s hit “A Royal Affair” – also starring Mikkelsen – he wanted to take things a step further this time around.

“The secret is not to worry too much about the historical details. You have to surround yourself with the truth about what was possible at the time, but focus on the characters. Some historians will always say, ‘They never would.’” But I treat these stories as if It was modern,” he said, opening up about the making of his most violent film to date.

“I’ve been avoiding violence, but because the environment was so tough, I didn’t want to ‘tone down’ that reality. I love A Royal Affair, but it’s very elegant and everything is nice and sweet. Now, I wanted to make a movie that’s a little bit more realistic and more controlled with the characters.

And one where the main conflict is between two men who couldn’t be more different.

“Ludwig is all about control and order. Life is a complete mess, Schinkel thinks: you just have to give in, have fun, and be evil. And you know what? I think he might be right!”

“We all know life is crazy and uncontrollable. Once we try, things go wrong. We lose our job, someone dies. Their conversations were really fun to write.

However, just as in the novel it’s based on – “Kaptajnen og Ann Barbara” by Ida Jessen – women are still front and center, led by Amanda Cullen as a runaway-turned-avenger.

When I spoke to Amanda, this was my pitch: “My real mission in this film is to take a character who is almost invisible and then slowly build her into the heroine.” “Ann-Barbara is in charge of everything, and I’m so glad we were able to to do that”.

He recalls that her clumsy interactions with Ludwig of Mikkelsen brought some fun to the group.

Again, if you look at A Royal Affair, it’s all about beauty and some very dramatic music. This time, it’s quiet and awkward and weird. It’s cold, and they’re hungry. They just need some human contact. It was funny to shoot, Because Mads was asking, ‘Should I put my hand somewhere?’ And the answer was always, ‘No, just lay there,'” he laughs, complementing his actor.

“It takes a while for you to begin to understand who Ludwig is. Mads has been a great help to me, because whenever I said to him: Oh, perhaps we should fall in love with him more, he would say to me: You must remain true to your vision! He gave me the courage to do with that.”

He confirms that Arcel is not finished with historical epics yet.

“It’s definitely not my last. ‘The Promised Land’ is very different from ‘A Royal Affair’, and I hope my next movie will be different too, but it will probably be set in the past again. There’s just something to it,” he says. Real and real personalities attract me.”

“Obviously there were days when we were totally beaten up and everyone was freezing cold, but I think that’s also part of the romance in making this kind of film. It has to be a little bit tough. Otherwise, it just isn’t worth it.”

Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

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