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Lindholm follows the pirate code


anish director Tobias Lindholm and actor Pilou Asbaek, who first colla- borated on hard-hitting prison drama

R in 2010, re-unite for Lindholm’s new movie A Hijacking, which is being readied for completion by Cannes. Lindholm (pictured above), who co-

directed R with documentary film-maker Michael Noer, goes solo on A Hijacking, which adopts the same über-realistic style in telling the fictional story of a Danish cargo ship captured by Somali pirates. Asbaek plays one of the seven crew mem-

bers who is held hostage, while Soren Malling plays the CEO of the shipping com- pany back in Denmark who is involved in the negotiations to free the men while try- ing to pay the lowest possible ransom. Like R, which shot in a real prison loca-

tion with mainly non-professional actors who had experience of prison life, A Hijack- ing is what Lindholm calls “realism in real life”. “We don’t want to tell lies,” he explains.

“Nothing of what we are showing actually happened, but we follow the logic of reality. You can tell greater stories in reality than you can in your mind.” Many of the negotiations are based on

actual transcripts, while the phone calls between Denmark and the ship in the

Indian Ocean actually took place between the actors in the two locations. The actors were never told too much in

advance of what would happen, and Lind- holm strived to ensure the smallest details were correct. The veracity was enhanced signifi cantly when a real-life British hostage negotiator contacted the fi lm-makers offer- ing his services. He actually appears in the fi lm, though Lindholm is not telling anyone his name just yet. “He opened doors to us as to how to

approach this world of hostage negotiation, because at the start we didn’t know how to approach it,” he explains. Produced by Tomas Radoor and René

Ezra, the film was made independent of infl uence on a budget of less than $3m, not bad bearing in mind much of the drama was actually shot on a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean. “We were in the soup and were at risk ourselves from real pirates, so we had a private security fi rm protecting us,” he says. Lindholm says there are 500 hostages

being held in the Gulf of Aden right now and the problem is a constant one that rarely makes the news these days. “Everyone is caught up in it — the Somalis, the politi- cians, the businessmen, the hostages,” he says. “It is a very complicated situation, and these negotiations are very tense because they are negotiations for people’s lives.” The fi lm could benefi t from the interna-

tional heat surrounding TV show Borgen, about the administration of Denmark’s fi rst (fictional) female prime minister, which stars Asbaek and Malling and on which Lindholm is a chief writer. Lindholm has also written Thomas Vinterberg’s latest fi lm, The Hunt, which is in post-production. TrustNordisk is handling worldwide

A Hijacking ■ 12 Screen International at the Berlinale February 13, 2012

rights on both A Hijacking and The Hunt. Mike Goodridge

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