I recently got the chance to talk to actor and director Kim Sønderholm about his new film, ‘Little Big Boy’. Here, Kim talks about how the film was developed, and what films have inspired him as an artist…
Hey Kim. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘Little Big Boy‘.
You’re welcome and yes, we are indeed.
You wrote, produced, directed and acted in the feature – how did the idea come about in the first place? How easy was it to put the film into production?
It’s never easy and this one certainly was no exception….but then if we had to let anything in life that appears difficult stop us, then where would we end up? Besides, anything that’s easy is rarely worth doing at all….but…I was sort of inspired by a documentary named “Overnight” about the breakdown of the director who did ‘Boondock Saints’. It was interesting and scary at the same time to see how attitude alone can burn all bridges, not just in the movie industry, but in life as a whole, and it made me feel there might be an idea for a fiction film here. I know many films of that caliber have been done before, many times even, but I wanted to make mine different, with a bit of an edge. I don’t wanna say too much about it really, the reviews speaks volumes – either you love it or you hate it, there doesn’t seem to be an in-between.
How would you say the film is different and unique? What tricks as a director did you try to throw in?
I think that question is irrelevant once you see it, you either hate it or you love it. I promise that you haven’t seen anything like it, haha. As for tricks I don’t really rely on that as such, I rely on what I feel works.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
Jimmy Duncan works as a film maker, and is working on a new feature film. He had a very unfortunate upbringing and lived through things in his life no-one should be exposed to in a perfect world – such as seeing his mother get murdered right in front of his very eyes by a lover of hers, referred to as ‘The Mystery Man’. These things make their marks. So when his lead actress – who is also the love of his life and the one person in the world he feels he can trust – starts giving him a lot of attitude and therefore problems on-set his mind goes into overdrive. It’s not a typical popcorn flick with big explosions where you go from A to Z Hollywood-style and have everything spelled out to you. If you’re not into films of a somewhat experimental nature that demands you keep track and do a little thinking of your own, then this probably isn’t for you. There – you have been warned 😉 I’ve had a few reviewers rip it apart, one cause there wasn’t enough blood and guts in it. I’m not sure what this person was expecting, but nobody was ever promised a splatter movie and that was the total opposite I was striving for. It’s the story of a man and his decline into madness….of course Charlie Sheen clearly displayed earlier this year how that can look, haha…but unlike Jimmy Duncan he seems to have found his path again. The movie contains a lot of dark humor as well, some will get it, some won’t. I’m pretty sure people who’ve worked with film are gonna have various deja vu’s underway, haha.
How has the reception been to the film so far?
Well at this point it still hasn’t really been widely released publicly, although a few magazines have had the opportunity to review it. Some of these have managed to grab a copy of a not completed version as well which makes me wonder how they’ve gotten hold of that. But…it’s been very mixed, some people were able to comprehend what I tried to do, others didn’t. It’s all fine, it’s nice to know that people still bother to form an opinion instead of just sitting like mindless zombies consuming everything that comes on the screen without asking questions. In these times of reality-TV that is a welcome surprise, haha.
The film stars your good self, Brandon Slagle, Lloyd Kaufman, Gry Bay and Monique Gata Dupree – what was it like working with the cast and crew?
Well, if it wasn’t for these people (and many more) and their will to go that extra mile to help me and my film, this film wouldn’t have become reality. They know what I mean, I demanded more out of them than is normal to demand of actors and they all stepped up to the plate cause they liked the idea. The ones you mentioned are only a number of people I feel a great urge to thank for their support.
Let’s talk a bit about you Kim. What made you want to get into the acting and directing chair in the first place?
Always loved film and wanted to be up there on the screen, not to become famous but for an inner satisfaction I suppose. It’s a good question seeing as I don’t feel comfortable with the fame thing in general. As far as directing goes I kinda just fell into it, did a few segments and realized I actually loved it just as much as the acting and since I had the opportunity to direct some things, why not go with the flow. I’m glad I did cause it gave me a whole new perspective on a lot of things. I’ve made a lot of mistakes underway and I’ve learned a lot. But that’s life, isn’t it – a learning process? 🙂
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career in writing, producing and directing?
That’s a hard one, I can only take it from what I know to be true – I’m in it cause I love creating. The whole fame thing doesn’t give me much. Fine for those who get turned on by it – they should find a reality show instead and bare their soul on national television. That’s not what acting is about anyway. Let your character bare it all but keep your personal persona somewhat private. Too many people tend to focus on the actor rather than the character and that’s a shame I think. Plus, an actor you don’t know much about is much more interesting than one whose personal life you know every little detail of….well, that’s what I think anyway.
A lot of people think that doing reality TV is a shortcut to fame, but really – think about it – how many reality stars do you still see on TV once the show they started on died down? Do you see many of them getting other industry related jobs? In general, creating films to become rich and famous is a ridiculous idea. Sure it happens to some but by far the most part will be sorely disappointed, hell, more people win in the Lottery. But of course, might as well be you than somebody else, right? No, I truly feel the truth here is: do it cause you love it, cause you can’t live without doing it and wanna go that extra mile for it… or don’t do it at all! If you’re gifted and truly show pride in your work, good things will happen for you. If you’re a fame hunter, you might get your precious 15 minutes one day and you’ll be forgotten just as quickly.
Would you say you find it difficult to do all these things – (writing, producing, directing, etc) all at the same time? Or is it just a regular day at the office for ya?
It’s stressful to have several hats on when on-set, sure. But at the same time it also gives privileges. I don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining to myself what I want to have on-screen. I always have a very clear idea of what I want and how to use it, not forgetting what means and budget we have to achieve it. But I have been confronted by a lot of people since who wants me to produce their next flick, and I wanna go on the record right here and say that I have stepped down from producing completely and absolutely, definitively. I love acting – which was what got me into the film thing to begin with, I love directing as well cause it’s a completely other way of delving into something and watch it grow in a creative way. But the whole producer thing always has been hanging out my throat, so…no more of that, the producing bit is what has broken my neck every time and it’s not for me. Once I finish the things I am currently working on, the producer task is done for me. Not anymore.
What films have inspired you as an artist? Do you have any favourites?
I seem to have an infatuation especially with films from the 90’s and to an extend the 80’s, my favorites are ‘Natural Born Killers’, ‘The Crow’, ‘Mulholland Drive’, ‘Lost Highway’, ‘American History X’, ‘Se7en’, things of that nature. I can’t really say how much it has inspired me as a whole, but then again looking at my own work I can’t deny it has done that, a lot, in fact. But it hasn’t been a conscious thing as such. I’m also a huge fan of 80’s slasher flicks like ‘Friday The 13th’, Nightmare On Elm Street’, ‘Halloween’, etc. I grew up on this stuff and it has a very special place in my heart and I can still watch it to this day and think….god, they knew how to make horror films back then… Don’t get me wrong, there are good ones coming out still. If I had to mention a list of films from the past ten years that made an impression on me, the list would be pretty short, but a few would be ‘Saw’ (the original, not so much the sequels), ‘Sin City’, ‘Haute Tension’…to me it’s not really about big budget and huge explosions but creating something unique that stands out. I can’t really explain it any clearer than that, it’s a feeling with me – does it make an impression or have I forgotten it again in two days?
What does a Kim Sønderholm day usually consist of?
Pretty boring really, I get up, I go to the gym 4-5 times a week when I have the time, I read scripts, I check my email…when I work, I work whole heartedly and that has my first priority. But I can’t complain, I make a fair living out of doing what I do, and I get to do what I love and meet a lot of interesting people and get a lot of experiences that will last for my whole life, but it’s not very hectic or glamorous. Which is fine with me, that part of it never really appealed to me anyway. People often seem to be of a notion that I am living my life on a film set because of my body of work but fact of the matter is, I somehow always find time for everything I get “turned on” (in a creative sense) by doing.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Oh dear…we just had an election in Denmark, in my mind we were able to choose between the plague and cholera, haha…but one of them had to win, right? So we’ll see if my country becomes this wonderful place to stay at, (that they keep promising) or if it goes like it always does, empty and forgotten promises. It all sounds grim and dark, doesn’t it? Haha…no really, it would be nice if our reputation could be changed a bit, we haven’t had the best rep for the past few years with all the Mohammed drawings and so on, e.g. “Most Racist Country In The World” doesn’t sound very flattering and I honestly don’t believe it to be true either. The problem here isn’t so much racism but the fact that a lot of people are close minded and can’t see what’s at the tip of their nose. It’s egocentrism, not racism. There, I just did my bit to try to salvage our once good reputation, haha.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I’m working on different things, one smaller thing as a director and I am attached to quite a few projects hopefully shooting in 2011 or 2012, so time will show. At this time I am just braising myself, taking a little time off. Always looking for new jobs, of course.
Thanks for the interview!