The Hunted
by Mike Goodridge
Sep 04, 2012 | 448 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thomas Vinterberg, director of the groundbreaking film Festen (The Celebration) returns to Telluride with the story of Lucas, a kind, once-beloved man who is wrongly accused of a crime and then exposed to the hatred of a small town.

Mike Goodridge: This is a story about how quick people are to form judgments of others. Is that worse today?

Thomas Vinterberg: It’s uncontrollable. Especially in the world today where communication is so easy … You can tell stories about another person that very quickly become the identity of that person. The people in this town give Lucas a mark and create an identity around him that he will never escape. I find that really interesting and frightening.

Goodridge: Please describe how you got Mads Mikkelsen, who is so masculine, to play a hapless character.

Vinterberg: This character is in a way a portrait of a modern Scandinavian man. He is warm, friendly, helpful and humble. He does everything people ask him to, and he is being run over by his ex-wife. He is castrated, in a way. And the journey we made with Mads was to develop him from this person into the conflict of being a man. How does he keep his dignity without being violent? How does he manage this cold and brutal reality without taking a step from his Scandinavian character?

This very manly man, Mads, came into the film with all his beauty and muscles and we decided to flip the character and make him a humble schoolteacher. We worked constantly at not trying to create a myth out of this person but to stay in real life, and Mads is an expert at that. He is constantly demanding answers. Why am I doing that? Could I do this? Could I wear these? He would call me at any time asking different questions about the scenes and coming up with new lines. And when an actor gets the feeling that he knows the character through conversation and improvisation, then all the small details come. He feels calm enough to disappear into the unknown.

Goodridge: Can you describe the day of shooting when Lucas faces the congregation of people who hate him?

Vinterberg: Mads wept all day in every take in exactly the same way. I’ve never seen anything so professional. The scene was all mapped out very precisely but we shot it from many different angles and he has to go through several stages: determination, collapse, anger, relief. He wept for eight hours. There are very few actors that can do that.  

Mike Goodridge is editor of Screen Daily. Reprinted with permission of the author.

A Tribute to Mads Mikkelsen

Featuring onstage interviews



Denmark, 2012, 110m

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Writers: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen and Annika Wedderkopp


Mads Mikkelsen

b. November 22, 1965 in Copenhagen, Denmark

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