Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Vinterberg on the bittersweet ‘Another Round’ and alcohol boot camp

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It’s an authentic idea, put forth by Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud, that humans naturally have a blood-alcohol level lower than what it must be. In the Danish movie “Another Round, ” that concept is interrogated in suddenly emotional ways.

Reuniting director Thomas Vinterberg plus star Mads Mikkelsen, exactly who joined forces on the Oscar-nominated “The Hunt, ” “Another Round” recently won huge at the European Film Awards, including best film, acting professional and director, and was nominated at the Academy Awards for international feature in addition to director.

In the bittersweet drama, Mikkelsen performs Martin, a middle-aged schoolteacher who’s felt the ignite dim from his marriage, his work and his existence. So he and some teacher friends decide to put Skårderud’s idea to the test with a drinking regimen. What at first seems a jolly and amazingly effective idea begins to take on a darker and destructive cast as they continue using their experiment and Martin learns some hard-won lessons about himself.

The movie’s mixture of night with light went behind the scenes as well. Four days straight into shooting, Vinterberg’s 19-year-old girl Ida, who was set to take the movie, died in a car crash. After a crack, Vinterberg returned to complete the project. “Another Round” is dedicated to her.

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Accepting the particular BAFTA award for film not within the English language, Vinterberg recently said, “Most importantly I would like to thank my daughter Ida, who is no longer here. She was more enthusiastic about this particular project than anyone else experienced ever been. It made the girl miss her hometown, Copenhagen, and now we miss the girl. And we made this movie for her. ”

For this interview, recorded with regard to “The Envelope” podcast , the movie director and actor came together to talk about filmmaking and their particular collaboration on the project. Vinterberg spoke from Copenhagen and Mikkelsen from London, where he was filming the third “Fantastic Beasts” movie.

Mads Mikkelsen's character drinks from bottle in the midst of a crowd of celebrating students.

Mads Mikkelsen in the soaring final picture of “Another Round. ”

(TIFF)

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Mads, just how did Thomas present the idea of the movie to you? What do you think when you first heard this theory that people naturally should have a higher blood-alcohol level?

Mikkelsen: I thought, yeah, of course the theory is right. I don’t think you have to be a man of science to figure out that is genuine. We all know what two glasses of wine can do to a discussion. We know that very few of us might have met our spouses in case there wasn’t alcohol included. So it’s been around for six, seven thousand many years either to forget your miserable life or to become creative or get nearer to the spirit. And it can perform magnificent things. But there is certainly obviously a very big difference between two glasses of wine plus two bottles of wine.

Thomas, how do you and your co-writer, Tobias Lindholm, extrapolate this blood alcohol theory into a story of male middle-aged crisis?

Vinterberg: Well, I’ve got to remind you that this is an idea that has developed over years. To begin with, we just looked at world history and saw how many fantastic and great accomplishments have been accomplished by people who were in fact drunk. And we wanted to create a celebration of alcohol, and that developed into a more ambitious task of making a film about the entire nature of alcohol, furthermore the dark sides. After which in the process of writing, all of us again wanted to elevate this to be about more than just consuming. We wanted it to be about life, in all humbleness. We wanted it to become a life-affirming film. The word “spirit” does not only mean alcohol. And making it a movie regarding four guys who’ve dropped the appetite for their lives, their curiosity, the element of risk, the element of exploration, was something that came to all of us when we decided to put this particular at a school amongst schoolteachers. So the combination of that theory and the idea of putting this at a school sort of [got] the basketball rolling.

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These characters, Mads’ in particular, just feel so stuck in their lives. There’s a heartbreaking moment exactly where Mads asks his wife, “Have I become uninteresting? ” Mads, what did that scene, that second, mean to you?

Mikkelsen: It meant that we’re dealing with a man who is been walking around like a comfortable numb for long time, and it’s starting to dawn upon him what kind of a situation he is in. And the peak of this scene is actually a little later when he has this dinner with his friends and, for the first time, realizes he’s not happy with his past and he’s jealous of the future and he’s just forgotten to live in the present. It is a very bold scene since it takes place within 12 a few minutes or something. And our character has a small breakdown at a dinner table. Something you will normally place an hour-and-a-half into the film, but Jones wanted to, instead of knowing the characters too well at this point, he wanted that scene to help make the audience get to know us.

Thomas, are you able to talk a little bit about that social gathering scene?

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Vinterberg: It kind of contains the whole procedure for the movie in one scene. [The scene] was the most challenging and most important of these, except from the ending, I guess. As Mads touched on, it was kind of unusual to possess a breakdown of the main personality on Page 19. But I enjoyed that since it was like, OK, I hope this would give the audience a sense of so what can happen from here if he’s already crying, but exactly what he’s doing there is that will he’s losing control. Plus that’s what I’ve already been told that this movie is about, by my clever wife. She’s more clever compared to I am. It’s about the unmanageable, and that’s what happens to him. He lets go. Suddenly the tears are just rolling and he’s just giving in and he is letting go of their emotions. And it’s a miniature version of what’s going to happen for the following one-and-a-half hours in the movie

A group of men share a meal in an elegant restaurant.

Schoolteacher friends played by, from left, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Mads Mikkelsen and Magnus Millang in the movie “Another Circular. ”

(Henrik Ohsten)

That is a feeling most everyone can understand, that moment where you are asking, “Who am I actually? What has my life turn out to be? How did I get here? ” Mads, for you, was that a feeling that you recognized? Do you understand where this character was at that moment?

Mikkelsen: I fully comprehended him. And I recognize your pet to a degree. Maybe not because drastic as the situation he’s in. I am in many ways, counter-opposite of this character. I do take pleasure in that the sun is increasing every morning and I are quite curious. I’m always like, What’s behind that building? I’ll go for a stroll and see. Where this guy, they have lost his curiosity totally. But I can identify by it. And, luckily, I don’t need to be like my characters. That is the whole trick.

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Mads, is acting consumed, performing as drunk, fun or a real challenge? State the sazerac scene when the four men are having a house party and they’re consuming and dancing.

Vinterberg: We such as things to be direct within Denmark. Why don’t a person ask him if he was drunk? That’s exactly where we come from.

Mikkelsen: It was fun. I mean, it is intoxicating to stand there along with four of your good friends and behave like kids. It catches on, even though we were not drinking in those scenes. Thomas would have a hard time trying to get through to us since we became intoxicated by scenes. But it’s also a challenge. And for that, there were a nice and good boot camp before, where we shot each other on video. We tested out the viewpoint about. 05,. 08, and we noticed that while we were in the situation, it felt kind of normal. We didn’t feel there is a lot of things happening. When watching the video later, you could understand that we did behave in a different way.

Plus there’s a big difference between two glasses and four glasses. All of a sudden your hands are doing stuff that you were not aware of, or you start lisping on certain terms. So that was a really good motivation to do the boot camp. However it is a challenge. You can easily step wrong when you do drunk scenes. And were there for each other and Thomas was there, plus it’s nice to be good friends because then you can laugh each and every other in a good way plus make sure we come back on the right track.

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Since Jones brought this up, in order to be clear, were you ever actually drinking?

Mikkelsen: No .

Vinterberg: I did not serve alcohol on set, but we served quite a bit of alcoholic beverages in that liquor boot camp before. I considered them experts and treated them since professionals. These are actors. Therefore I’m asking them to action. I asked them to do a refined, detailed, emotional journey. I asked them to be funny. I asked these to be tragic and to end up being drunk in very particular levels. So I did challenge them a lot, but simply giving them a bottle of whisky would be complicated and am guess an element of amateurism.

Mikkelsen: You can do that if it is a complete ballistic rock ’n’ roll scene, obviously, and you could get something that’s maybe very interesting as well. But Thomas’ job was, in many regards, when we’re doing the teaching scenes, you know, we do the take and then he would are available in and say, “Listen, let’s put the volume up. Let us go up to 0. one now, ” and then we would give that a shot after which, “No, let’s go back meant for 0. 05. ” And you will not be able to do that, certainly, if you were just consuming. There would only become one way that the volume button would go. And that will be up, up, up. And am don’t think we would have survived in any way if we had to drink for 40 times straight.

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A husband and wife sit by a campfire beside a lake.

Mads Mikkelsen and Helen Bonnevie in the movie “Another Round. ”

(Henrik Ohsten)

I don’t think I’ve look at a single review or interview or article about the movie that has not mentioned the ultimate dance number. Are the both of you surprised that it’s end up being the signature scene of the movie, that it’s become a favourite?

Mikkelsen: Not really now, but if you questioned me while we were in the middle of shooting, absolutely, I was. And Thomas can elaborate with this, I was quite reluctant. Not that I didn’t want to dancing in a film, I just had a hard time picturing how we can pull it off without coming across as pretentious. It’s a realistic film. So in my world we should heighten this. We should be a drunken man’s fantasy, something that was standing up out of the film. And Jones was insisting on no, this man gets up and he starts flying. And we went back and forth a good number of times. And luckily I actually gave in and he was absolutely a hundred-percent correct. But if you asked me a year ago, I didn’t see that coming. When I view the film now it all makes perfect sense.

Vinterberg: We’ve always been nervous about this picture. It’s a bit of a stretch aquiring a teacher suddenly being a great dancer, but emotionally this just made so much feeling to all of us. And I always pursued it, I experienced it was so right which he becomes weightless. All these kids are weightless. And at this time in life, everyone is yearning for that time, for the weightlessness associated with youth. Now Tobias is really a reality-rules kind of guy — Mads is too, to some extent, and I is too. We really needed to work out how to prepare this so it became believable. So if you look at the scene itself and actually the whole story of Mads’ dance, it’s all about their reluctance, the character’s unwillingness to dance.

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Mads, there’s such a sense of catharsis for the personality in that dance. Would you say the same was true to suit your needs? With your background as a dancer before you were acting, had been it meaningful to you in order to dance in a movie in this way?

Mikkelsen: Those people two days of shooting had been maybe the most meaningful days of shooting I’ve ever had. However, not because I finally obtained the chance to dance, because I have never been ambitious about doing that in a film, but because it was this kind of important ending for a number of reasons. Obviously for extremely private and personal reasons for Jones, it became cathartic and, and those two days were extremely beautiful to be part of.

The movie is a big commercial hit there in Denmark, and has also gotten a lot of awards identification. Thomas, why do you think audiences are responding so strongly to the movie?

Vinterberg: Well, this movie comes from the heart. There’s a great sense of honesty plus an element of love on screen amongst those guys. I think this speaks to people’s minds, basically. It also speaks to a world of confinement plus a world of death plus bankruptcy. And there’s some riot against that within our movie. There are a lot of people dance, holding each other, drinking, with odd times, allowing once again the element of the uncontrollable to take over their lives. Whereas all over the place we’re living very controlled and restricted lives. And then Mads is actually good. The actors are really good. And I’m OK. And it all adds up.