Q: What is your background as a filmmaker? What got you interested in genre movies?
My original background is really in acting. I went to acting school from 1998 to 2001 and have worked steadily ever since. I never went to actual film school but learned a lot because I'm extremely curious, watching people behind the scenes when I was on set, in between shots and so on. That said, I'm an extreme movie buff, I have no problem consuming several films every day, that is if I have the time of course, and I guess it all just came naturally. I do remember a few years back several people kept asking me if I was ever gonna direct anything which I, at the time, at once replied no to, but I guess it was inevitable after all, haha.. As for genres: For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by films. Genres changed through the years. As a kid in the early 80's I was hooked on Star Wars and the 007 films. 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 Halloween films. I still love these films 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, as it is with kids, what you are not allowed to do is always the most exciting. So... I saw it... and it scared the living crap out of me. I didn't sleep properly for two weeks after that, haha. 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 terrifyed 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 pursuation 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 abit tougher with age, haha
Q: There's a lot of serial killers out there, so why did you decide to make a movie about another one? What makes CRAIG different than the rest?
Basically, 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 looses his precious Lithium pills, his whole world is getting turned upside down. Well, my point with Craig was from the beginning to create a character that everybody would feel sorry for, and to get sympathy for. As awkward as he is, what he experiences from the world around him is nothing but rejection. I wanted to explore what would happen if you spend half a film trying to gain peoples sympathy and all over sudden, the character does something completely insane. It's really hard to explain this without spoiling anything, so please add to the reply, haha. Well, it clicks for him in the end and he does unspeakable deeds. Now, the exicing thing for me here is, will people lose their sympathy for him, or will they still be able to understand his reactions? Obviously I'm not hoping people will actually approve of what he does, but maybe find a sort of understanding, given his background, to why he reacts the way he does. How far can you actually take a person until he snaps?
Q: You also portray Craig in the movie. Was it difficult both directing and acting in the same production?
Well it was extremely hard work, absolutely. But you are given a lot of advantages when you both act and direct. You won't have to spend endless days with the lead actor explaining the character and his deeds, cause you just need to understand them yourself. And obviously, I know what I want, so if I deliver it myself I'm sure it's done the way I want it done, haha. No I'm kidding on that last bit, but I always wanted to play a serial killer part and there was so many things about Craig I wanted to try out, both as an actor but also working with the film media, so it was kinda given from the beginning. But yes, it was extremely hard work and if it wasn't for me collegues at Cetus Productions, Jan and Jim, I would never in my wildest dreams have been able to pull it off, that's for sure.
Q: What is your favorite scene in the movie, as a director? Your favorite scene as an actor?
Oh, that's hard, there are so many scenes I love in the film. I suppose as a director my favorite scene - I mean, if I HAVE to pick ONE to be the absolute favorite one out of them all, which is HARD - it must be...- I'm gonna give a couple of hints, so I won't spoil too much for those who haven't seen it, but it involves a swimming pool and a person who has a hard time to breathe. That scene still makes me cringe.
Favorite scene as an actor... Impossible... I don't know...
Q: How long did it take to make the movie? What was the most difficult aspect of it?
Well as we had an extremely low budget we went a slightly other way about it. In the whole the film took about 1½ year, which isn't that much off what any other film takes, but instead of doing what most people does - that is pre-production first, then shooting and then post-production, we decided to shoot whenever we were able to and when other actors were available. So we pretty much did one scene at a time and then edited when we were not shooting. So when we shot the last scene we did (the scene in the gothbar), the rest of the film was just about finished already. It made things a lot easier for us, cause we weren't that many people on the pre-production, so it was easier for us to arrange. I don't know if I'd recommend it, but it worked fine for us, but obviously this way of doing a film is far from always possible.
Q: What's happening with the movie now, in terms of releases?
Well it has been accepted so far as three festivals in the US. It was just released onto DVD in Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland) and will be released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on DVD in the end of May. There is currently no US DVD release planned, but we have a sales representative working on the case. Anyone who wants to keep up with what's happening is welcome to visit www.craigthemovie.com - all news will be posted there, such as new release dates, festival showings, new reviews, etc. Etc.
Q: Are you planning another movie?
In a months time from time I'm having The Horror Vault released. It's a Creepshow/Tales From The Crypt inspired project with nine tales of human cruelty I've been working on, while working on Craig aswell. I'll be sure you'll get a copy to review, hehe. Also, 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. There is also Czech Mates about a guy who is quite alone and there hires two girls from the Czech Republic to come and live with him. Now sadly, these girls have quite sneaky plans and are not quite as sincere as he hopes for. Finally, we in 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 part on it too. As an actor, I just did some stuff for a russian feature film by Andrey Iskanov named "The Tourist" and I'm really looking forward to seing the film. Also, "Operation Sunrise" 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 either. Same goes for a swedish thriller named "Dead on Arrival" I was in Stockholm to do last summer. "Westbrick Murders" starring Eric Roberts and Vernon Wells, in which I play the role as Officer Sam. "What nobody knows" (working title) by Søren 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. I have several other projects aswell but as none of it is completely certain at this point I should probably shut up about them, hehe
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.
Final words: The Horror Vault will be released via amazon.com in the middle of April, so support independent film and buy it. I hope the US will have a chance to see Craig in the near future aswell, but time will show. I do however promise that it WILL be happen before the end of 2008.