Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Royal Affair - Mads Mikkelsen Press Junket Interview

Premiere Scene’s Nicola Johnston had the huge pleasure in sitting down and interviewing the delightful Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen as he promotes his new film A Royal Affair in which he plays Johann Friedrich Struensee. At the press junket Mikkelsen shares with us how his early career as a dancer lead him to becoming an actor, his excitement on working on his first Danish movie in five years and how he hasn’t ruled out the idea of becoming a director himself!

A ROYAL AFFAIR in cinema’s 15th June 2012

Words by Nicola Johnston

This film has many things to offer. As soon as it begins you are transported into a different world. I personally did not know much about that time in Danish history but I trusted that all involved had done their work with the historians; I was not there for a history lesson anyway. I just allowed myself to be swept away by the story, which is a gripping one, dramatic, with fairytale shots, falling snow almost like particles of dust cleaning the way for a new start, snow covered ground the blank canvas for new beginnings, pouring rain that reminds Caroline Mathilde of England, a line that is sure to go down well with British audiences. It certainly was a fascinating time in Danish history.

The film is also richly served with humour which is very refreshing, the comic timing is perfect. Mikkel Boe Nielsen's portrayal of the King is utter brilliance and makes you question wither he was mad or just labelled mad by people who did not understand him, perhaps a victim of someone who did not have the right help or medication. I would have like more information on his childhood and what happened to make him the way he was, child like, lonely, perhaps even bored to tears most of the time. Mikkel plays the spoilt child extremely well but he also allows sharp wit to come through when he is not getting what he wants. His intense mood swings perhaps hinting at a bipolar disorder a character that when week others swarm around him like birds of pray ready to attack.

On their first meeting Johann Struensee (Mikkelsen) and the king connect through drama by reciting Shakespeare to each other in a wonderfully played out scene resulting in a friendship being born between the two men which organically turns into a father son relationship which in parts is very touching. A powerful moment is when the king stands up to the council when they try and take Struensee away, we see very clearly that this king does indeed have a voice and a strong one at that, the character choices made by the actor are very clever he keeps the audience guessing about to what extent he is aware he is being manipulated by the court and those around him.

Mads Mikkelsen is an exceptional actor one that commands the screen. There are many powerful moments in his performance but the one that has stayed with me is when he realises his own fate towards the end of the film a moment in cinema that snatches your breath away, his work is concentrated, wonderfully detailed, intense yet very sensitive, he casts a spell over his audience. I hope one day he goes onto direct.

Alicia Vikander who plays Caroline Mathilde also give an intense and beautifully crafted performance but all the actors involved have to be congratulated they are all solid in what they bring to the story.

I don’t want to say to much about what happens because I would urge people to go to the cinema and watch this remarkable, fascinating story where it belongs up on the big screen and make up there own minds.

I myself cannot wait to see what director Nikolaj Arcel does next; graduating from film school in 2001 he has already achieved many wonderful things as a director and as a writer. He is ambitious, brave, and full of passion and vision, to cast an actor still in drama school in the role of the king has to be commended. Ultimately he cares about what he is doing and that is telling stories.

The film is shot beautifully with a strong contemporary edge congratulations must go to Rasmus Videbaek for his cinematography, the colour, costumes, wigs and make-up are magnificent, original music from Gabreil Yared is breathtaking and I must also mention the dog who is a real scene stealer.

The writing and structure of the script is extremely well crafted and focuses on the experiences of the three complicated central characters, one of the film's executive producers is Lars Von Trier who came on board as a script supervisor and helped in the editing, what a team of talented people. I would say the film is definitely not a historical drama and if you want a history lesson then read a history book; I believe more than fifteen of them exist plus a ballet and an opera. It must have been a daunting task to try and assemble more than five years of history into 128 minutes. I left feeling totally inspired. All that is left to say is Jeg vil gerne sige stort tillykke til alle der har vaeret involveret I denne fantastiske film. Jeg oensker jer alt det bedste for fremtiden, og ser meget frem til hvad, i naeste gang laver!

Mange tak og de Venligste Hilsner Nicola Johnston.

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