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INTERVIEW / ASK HASSELBALCH / ANTBOY – REVENGE OF THE RED FURY Antboy – Revenge of the Red Fury Photo: Christian Geisnæs

“We had to make a film that corresponded to where the children are, now that they have lost some of their innocence and are becoming teenagers.”

Antboy – Revenge of the Red Fury opened in Danish cinemas on 25 December. The film is produced by Eva Jakobsen for Nimbus Film and is enjoying its international premiere in Generation Kplus at the Berlinale. For more information, see reverse section. FILM | Berlin Issue 2015

Antboy – Revenge of the Red Fury Pelle gained his superpowers when he was bitten by a genetically engineered ant. As Antboy, he can lift many times his own weight, climb on walls and pee acid – if he’s fed enough candy bars, that is. In Ask Hasselbalch’s sequel our young hero is more popular than ever following the defeat of his archenemy The Flea. His greatest desire is to be more than just friends with Ida. Meanwhile, Antboy faces an even greater foe than before. Christian, the new boy at school, will stop at nothing to steal Ida away from him. As if that wasn’t enough, Antboy finds himself haunted. A new supervillain has taken the stage. The two Antboy films are based on a popular book series by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen, adapted for the screen by Anders Ølholm. .

Director Ask Hasselbalch Photo: Anton Willemann

No Use for Irony The director never rehearses scenes in advance with the children. Instead, he talks each scene through with them and lets them work based on their own intuition. “We rehearsed a couple of scenes in the first film and those are the worst scenes in the film. It’s good if things are spontaneous. Rehearsing makes it seem fake.” That’s not saying he doesn’t fill the role of adult authority figure. “I’m the one who sets the direction, of course,” he says. “But the most important thing is that they can tell I respect them.” Hasselbalch clearly enjoyed returning to the Antboy universe, even if his once so little leads are now teenagers with raging hormones and emotions. “That’s what makes it so much fun. For a teenager, everything is very black and white. There’s no in between.” That is also how Hasselbalch does Antboy. “We’re trying to be very clean with these films. Even if I can see the humorous slant in a situation, I don’t use irony. I want to go all in – the funny scenes should be funny and the scary scenes should be scary, too. No leavening the horror by having the villain slip on a banana peel. “Again, it’s about not talking down to children. I remember as a kid how the scary part of a film was really cool. It may have scared me, but at the same time I felt I was being taken seriously. It’s like fairytales that way. We know that most fairytales have a happy ending and Antboy’s audience knows that the characters in the film will make it. They just have to go through a few things before they come out on the other side” •

Ask Hasselbalch Director, born 1979. Trained at the European Film College, Denmark, 2001-02. Has directed short fiction, commercials, music videos and TV satire. Graduated from the alternative film school Super16 in 2010. Hasselbalch’s feature debut Antboy  (2013) world premiered at Toronto Film Festival. The sequel, Antboy – Revenge of the Red Fury (2014), enjoys its international premiere in Generation Kplus at the Berlin Film Festival 2015. Eva Jakobsen Producer at Nimbus Film. Films include her first feature as producer, Antboy (Ask Hasselbalch, 2013), and Antboy – Revenge of the Red Fury (Ask Hasselbalch, 2014).


Danish Films Berlin 2015  
Danish Films Berlin 2015  

Danish Film Institute's magazine with interviews and all the basics on Danish films at Berlin 2015