You have just released a movie, Craig. Can ou tell us in a
few words what it's about?
The film is about a shy guy named Craig who loses both his parents when
their house burns down. His sister survives, but due to heavy lack of
oxygen, she is sent into a deep coma. Craig has only got one friend,
Cliff, but he's got more than enough problems on his own, so he cannot
really be there for Craig. Meanwhile, Craig is under heavy medication, and
when he one day loses his precious Lithium pills, his whole world is
getting turned upside down.
What can you tell us about production of the movie?
Tjerrild as Cliff
I wanted to play Craig even before the story was developed fully. I
knew it would be an interesting journey for me to take.
I've always been very interested in the serial killers films, both the
ones about fictive killers and the ones about real-life killers. Without
of course thinking what they did was cool, I've always found it quite
interesting, and as the time was right it became more and more interesting
to me to explore that as an actor. I had developed this serial killer
story over several years in my head, and finally I got around to actually
making it a full-on story and we started to film it before I actually
guest appearances by ubiquitous Lloyd Kaufman ...
I wanted to make it a little surrealistic as well, a bit messy
if you will, because that's how Craig's mind is - messy. I've been a huge
fan of David Lynch for years and love the way he is able to affect your
subconscious. Sometimes his movies don't make a whole lot of sense, but
you still do get something out of them. I mean, I've watched Lost
Highway and Mulholland Drive several times now, and every time
I think I get something out of it. Now, that being far from me to compare
myself with The Lynch, but I tried to put some elements in that
didn't make a whole lot of sense, but at the same time on another level,
they did. I've had a lot of reactions to it, positive I'm glad to say, but
different people get different things out of it, but all things fit in
somehow, so it's an amazing thing to explore.
Another thing with Craig was - I wanted to see if it was
possible for the character to get people's sympathy, in this case because
he is rather pathetic and sad, and to see how far that sympathy stretches
when he starts doing evil deeds. Will they on some level be able to
understand him, not condoning it necessarily or how will they react? It's
clear that Craig has had a very tough life, experienced very gruesome
things but does that justify punishing other people?
Sønderholm as Craig
You have directed and written the film and also played the lead. How
much of you is actually in the Craig-character?
Haha, very little. Well possibly the feeling of alienation at a time in
my life I went through a couple of rough years, but other than that, not a
whole lot. Never really killed anyone and I still have my family and a lot
of friends I care a lot about, heh.
Apart from Craig, another movie you have collaborated on has been
just released, the horror anthology The Horror Vault. A few words about
that one, and especially your episodes of course.
Well I made two segments for The Horror
Vault - Mental Distortion and
When John Met Julia. Basically it is an anthology of nine stories, all about
cruelty among human beings. I know that is a rather vague description but
talking too much about it will reveal too much, heh... I encourage people
to see it if you're into horror, I hope you will like it. There'll be a
lot of bloodshed, cruelty, mystery, thrills, violence and a fair bit of
explicit torture that will make you cringe.
The film is an Danish-American-British-Australian co-production.
How did such an international co-production come into being?
Well I made a lot of contacts over the years and simply suggested the co-operation. Of all the people who collaborated I probably know Russ
Diaper from the UK the best, we've met on a UK film a few years back and
since then worked together on a lot of stuff - he also had a role in and
composed the music for Craig.
On both Craig and The Horror Vault, you are writer, director and
actor. Which do you enjoy the most/which does satisfy you the most?
Well I'm an actor first and foremost, that's my first priority field of
work. But I enjoy all stages of film production and wanna keep doing it...
well, except pre-production, that I hate, haha...
The websites and/or mySpace of both Craig and Horror
Both flicks can be ordered online through www.thehorrorvault.net
- the DVD is region free so don't worry about where in the world you are,
you can order from the site no matter where.
After working solely as an actor for a few years, the first film you
also worked on as a writer (not
director though) was Brutal Incasso. A few words about that film?
Yes, Brutal Incasso was my first feature film not only as an
actor but also as a writer.
The filming in itself took only 21 days around August 2004, but the
whole process took 6 years in total. Let me elaborate, it started out in
1999 when we began to write it. Claus Lund, whom I studied acting with,
and myself had thrown ideas through the air for months and finally sat
down to write it. It started with a few loose ideas and we started
building a story from that. The first idea was actually two money
collectors beating up a Santa Claus in a mall (who hasn't always dreamed
of that?), and when we filmed it, it was changed into a mime, since it was in
the middle of summer. The scene was however cut in the end, although it
can be found as bonus material on the DVD.
(In my own way I got my revenge
on Santa though, watch the short film Blank and you will know
what I mean!).
We wrote for over half a year and by then in the summer of
2000, I was about to start the last year of acting school and my time ran
low. The script was hidden away for a couple of years until we started
talking about actually making the film. I had a quite good impression of a
director, Jonas Kvist Jensen, with whom I had already worked on a couple
of projects and as he was looking for his next project and gave him the
script and suggested making it. At first he had a lot of doubts but
changed his mind, luckily. He felt some things were missing in the script,
so he added on a few good things. It was a long process; writing started
in 1999 and we had the final result of the film shown for the first time
for a public audience on December 8, 2005. Since then we've worked on
distribution and it's been released in several European countries, but
we're still very interested in getting distribution in the States and the
Asian countries. At the point of me writing this there's some negotiations
with a few distributors in the US but nothing certain yet.
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How did you get your start in the film industry in the first
I guess I always just saw acting as a dream that would never come
through anyway, which is why I never pursued it. I simply didn't have the
confidence in myself, I suppose. I did different jobs, let myself enroll
in the Danish army where I spent nearly two years of my life, and all I
got out of it was the certain knowledge that it was not what I wanted with
the rest of my life. Ironically enough, I've played in army characters
five times since then, but of course it's something entirely different.
When I was 25, I was taking courses at a business school in Aarhus - my
birth town in Denmark - and I was bored out of my mind. I knew that wasn't
what I wanted either, but I had to do something - couldn't keep dreaming
for the rest of my life, right? At the second year I enrolled in drama
classes at the school, and even though the level wasn't very high, I
realized that maybe I did have some potential. I got a lot of positive
feedback and people kept telling me to pursue it.
As the year closed, I found an ad in a local newspaper for a
school named TeaterStudio in my hometown teaching method
acting. They were about to start a new semester and looking for students.
I applied, and after a long weekend of extensive auditions, I was one of
twelve students to be accepted. It was quite rough and already after the
first year we were down to eight students. In the end only seven of us
graduated.The course took three years, you had to pay for everything
yourself and the government didn't want to give you anything while doing
it. The Danish government usually gives students what we call SU, which is just enough money to get by while under education
so you can concentrate on that and don't have to worry about making a
living. However, as Denmark already had three well renowned theater
schools, they refused to give us this SU during these three
years. So, it was three years of full time school and then after that, a
full time job. Forget personal life - there wasn't much time for that. But
it didn't matter. I finally got a taste of what I wanted - although I had
known it all along - and I wasn't about to let go, just because it got a
A few films you really liked, both recent and all-time favourites?
As a kid in the early 80's I was hooked on Star Wars and the
Always wanted to be up there as a part of the action. Throughout my
teenage years I turned very much towards horror films, such as the Friday
the 13th series, the Freddy Krueger flicks, not forgetting the
films. I still love these films, and to this day I still watch any horror film
I can get my hands on.
I suppose I've been hooked on horror ever since I saw The
Exorcist one late night it was shown on the TV. I guess I was 12 or
so, and my parents had forbidden me to watch. But, you know how it is with
kids, what you are not allowed to do is always the most exciting. So I saw
it and as clichéd as it sounds, it changed my life in many ways. The film
scared the living crap out of me. I didn't sleep properly for two weeks
after that. (laughs) What scared me wasn't the possession as such, it was
more the face of the demon you see in very short frames in a dream that
Damian Karras is having, with his mother having to cross a highway. I
mean, that fascinated me a lot. The fact that we have this whole film. And
what terrified me the most was what you hardly saw, I guess those glimpses
you catch of the demons face is less than a second in the entire film, but
it made quite an impression on me. No other film has ever been able to get
to me like that one did. It actually took me several years and a lot of
persuasion to see it a second time. These days, obviously, it might not
look like much - although to me it still does. As I got older I loved the
slasher films such as Friday the 13th and the likes, and I guess I grew a
bit tougher with age.
I guess the films I find most inspirational are probably Se7en, The
Crow, Natural Born Killers, The
Machinist, Requiem For A Dream, Lost Highway, Mulholland
Drive... stuff like that... I like the darker stuff,
I find myself oddly attracted to it... the Predator films and the
Alien films also have a very big place in my
And some films you really deplored?
Hm, well, yes... but I'd rather not get into that, heh...
Any future projects?
I'm currently in the early stages of two other feature films as a
director: Tour de Force, which is an action film about a policeman who due
to a tragic loss has a breakdown and starts doing hits for the mafia.
Second, Czech Mates. Finally, we at Cetus
Productions are currently working on a supernatural thriller in Danish
named Sølvtråd, English title will most likely be Silver Thread, which is being directed by Jan T. Jensen and
I'm producing and playing a bigger part in it too.
And FINALLY, recently, I played a supporting part in a feature film
named Jon by Texan based director William Instone. Another
part in Unlikely Prophets by director Cristian Cupertino based
in Florida, and finally a part in The Tourist by Andrey
Iskanov from Russia.
I'm looking forward to What Nobody Knows (Det som Ingen Ved) by Sren Kragh-Jacobsen. A Danish political suspense
thriller by the same people behind Mifune's Last Song, the
third of the Dogma films. Not a very big part I play in this, but I am
very much looking forward to seeing that one as well. That film
incidentally premiers in Denmark on my 35th birthday, heh. Dead on
Arrival, a Swedish crime thriller I was in Stockholm to do a part
for last summer, directed by Henric Brandt. "Operation Sunrise"
by Donovan Cerminara which is a Canadian film I was in Poland to shoot
last year just had a couple of screenings and will hit the festival
circuit soon, can't wait to see that one. I did a cameo bit for Aurum by James Barclay and finally a part in
Murders, directed by Shaun Rana, starring Eric Roberts and Vernon
Wells, in which I play the role of Officer Sam.
So I'm really happy and honored to have been given the chance to
participate in projects that far away from my homebase, it has
certainly been exciting and an enormous experience for me, and I certainly
hope to be given that chance again in the future.
I love my job, so I always make space for new projects. I've done a lot
of each, both indie films and studio films. Both definitely have their
charm. I love the indie way of working, always so vibrant and alive.
Thanks for the interview, and good luck with your films.