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Home | Interviews | Interview: Kim Sonderholm

Interview: Kim Sonderholm

MOVIE: “CRAIG”, “horror vault”

Interview with KIM SONDERHOLM – 12.26.08

DR.GOREHOUND: How did you get started acting/directing in films, and what fascinates and inspires you to do it?

Kim Sønderholm: Well I always wanted to be an actor ever since I was a kid. I watched way too many movies and I still do, I had a fascination for the James Bond and Star Wars films as a kid and used to run around pretending to be Luke Skywalker or some of the other characters. At some point I even seriously (well as serious as you can be with it when you’re seven years old) planned to make my own Star Wars and a lot of my classmates at school suffered for that, haha.. I used to collect the Star Wars figures big time and I think I had about all of them at some point .

Interest for these films became a little more normal, but then when I hit the teenage years I was presented to the Friday the 13th films and bang! here we go again, the need to make films came back, although at this point I ignored them and concentrated on my home computer instead.It wasn’t really until I hit the mid 20`s that I started actually doing something about it. I had been in the army for a couple of years, done this and that, never really finding my place on the working market. I seemed to grow tired of doing any sort of work, in reality cause I had the dream to become an actor but at the same time having the usual “you can’t do that” hanging over my head.

A few times I thought about applying to the National Theatre School in Århus where I was born and raised, but every day you heard how almost thousand people applied and only a handful got it, so why would they accept me, right? In short, I didn’t believe in my abilities at all.It wasn’t really until I had some very basic acting lessons at school I realized that this was actually something I might be able to do after all, and fully motivated I realized that it was too late to apply for the National Theatre School that year (they usually have the auditions in winter time) and this was spring and I saw this advert for an acting school started two years prior by two Russian actors named “TeaterStudio” and they were having auditions the coming month.

So I thought why not, and went, thinking doing it at least for the experience, but I got in, first attempt and I stayed there for three
full years until I graduated and moved to Copenhagen where I live to this day – basically because I wanted to make films, and that’s where
most of it happens in Denmark. Long story short, right? Well maybe not that short..

DR.GOREHOUND: How did you come to form your production company Cetus Productions?

Kim Sønderholm: Ever since I was put in a film the first time I was a little curious about what was going on behind the camera as well. A lot of people often asked me if I was ever gonna direct anything myself, and for the first many years I replied with a very confident “no”, but as it happened I began directing my first film “Craig” (which was released worldwide on dvd on December 9) early in 2006 and rapidly grew a fond taste for it. It was a good thing I did, I’ve often found myself in a big creative void but as I started going behind the camera it just vanished, finally I was able to have full control – and let’s face it, I am a control freak – a little too much sometimes, haha.. It was in
connection with Craig that Cetus Productions was founded, two very dear friends and colleagues of mine supported me a great deal and while we made Craig we decided to start the company. It however wasn’t the first production company I was involved with. Back in 1999 while still in acting school a friend of mine from the school wrote an action comedy named “Brutal Incasso”, and at that point we started our own company named Make-Believe Entertainment. The film was produced in 2004 and Make-Believe Entertainment was also mentioned as collaborator on the film, but my partner and I sadly sort of went on each our directions and that was probably the only thing the company will ever produce. But seeing our script come to life (and we played the lead characters ourselves) was very inspiring and I’m quite sure that was what finally made me realize that I wanted to direct and produce as well.

So, in 2006 I took on a “minor” job to write, direct and play the lead in a feature film, which was in many ways completely insane seeing as I’ve never directed anything and then starting out with a feature and playing myself, but it turned out there was a lot of advantages to it
as well, but that film would never in a million years have been finished if it hadn’t been for my partners in Cetus, Jan T. Jensen and
Jim Pedersen.

DR. GOREHOUND: Could you explain some of the horror features you’ve stared in and directed like The Horror Vault Vol. 1-3 and Craig?

Kim Sønderholm: Well, The Horror Vault is an anthology of small stories combined into a feature film, inspired by the concept of Creep show. Volume 2 was just finished and it currently making it’s way out in the world, we’re currently shooting for volume 3. Over the past years I’ve been in a bunch of horror films and thrillers. I was recently in the UK shooting a horror film much in the vein of Saw and Hostel named “WebKam”, directed by Ibraheem James Layton. It’s a quite grueling thing and I can’t wait to see the final piece. Last year I was in Poland shooting Donovan Cerminara’s “Operation Sunrise”, which is finished now and on it’s way out in the world. I’m fairly confident these are movies that you will all be able to enjoy before you know it ;-) I’ve got a lot of others projects coming up, but as nothing is completely sure and all is so hush-hush, I’m gonna put on my mysterious silent face and just try to look interesting, haha…

DR.GOREHOUND: What are the films Mental Distortion and Brutal Incasso about, and are they some of your early film projects?

Kim Sønderholm: Mental Distortion is a short film which is sort of a spin-off of Craig, actually. A lot of ideas that kept roaming through my head, but didn’t really fit in with Craig’s character, so we shot that film at the same time as Craig – it has a lot of the same basic ideas, but at
the same time it is very different. It can actually be found on the first volume of The Horror Vault, and in some countries it was
released as bonus material on the DVD release of Craig – not the official worldwide release which was released in early December,

Already mentioned Brutal Incasso earlier, but yeah that was fun to write. We were very inspired by a bunch of films like “In China They
Eat Dogs”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrells”, and the fact we actually got the film made was fantastic. We wrote it back in 1999 and it didn’t go into production until 2004 with an extremely low budget, but I am quite pleased about the result. In the
end it did become everything I had hoped for. It is actually available a few places, sadly not widely. It was released on DVD in Germany and Denmark. Sadly never made it to US distribution, but you never know if that will happen some day.

DR.GOREHOUND: Is Craig a serial killer homage maybe to the classic HENRY: Portrait of a Serial Killer?

Kim Sønderholm: I can safely say no – but I can see where your idea comes from. Fact is I never saw Henry until about a year ago after Craig has been finished. It was a great film, don’t get me wrong, but it was sort of a lack in my upbringing until very recently. I did find inspiration for Craig in a lot of other films though, a big mixture of films like Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, even the original Psycho by Hitchcock. There is a lot more titles I could have added here, but to be honest I don’t even remember half of them. For some reason I’ve always found the idea of playing a serial killer interesting – obviously not that I condone any of their actions, but it’s a quite interested – and scary – journey to make as an actor, and the fact that most people have received the film and my performance so well is a fantastic feeling – and, in itself, also a scary feeling, haha…

DR.GOREHOUND: What is the biggest challenge about being a writer/director/actor?

Kim Sønderholm: Tough one. Keeping all things afloat at the same time, I suppose. I doubt I am overloaded with work when I’m out shooting, I got more than enough to keep an eye on – but that’s how I prefer it, keeping myself busy… But.. Actresses with big egos is something I have a hard time with, I gotta admit. I am very much down to earth myself and I always try to keep things that way, peaceful, non-stressed, creative.. And thank god it hasn’t happened that often, but I have trouble taking actresses with sky high demands seriously – you probably know the sort; the ones that demands your full attention the whole time. That is something I can live without, haha..

DR.GOREHOUND: I see your directing/staring in your first action thriller “Tour De Force”, so is it gonna be a revenge type film?

Kim Sønderholm: Not really, it’s an action film about a policeman turned hitman for the mob. Basically he experiences great loss of his son because of a freak accident and his wife leaves him. He has a mental breakdown and just.. Well, see the film when it’s done.. Can’t really say too much without revealing too much, but it’s gonna have a lot of dark humor, blood, action, shootouts and…. maybe… a happy ending.. or maybe not…?! ;-)

DR.GOREHOUND: What type of deaths can we expect in Craig if they have any..like can you tease us with some?

Kim Sønderholm: Well let’s just say Craig isn’t the type of guy who likes to let his victims die a quick or easy death.. although it does happen a few times it is never his intention… There, does that tease you enough? haha..

DR.GOREHOUND: Who are some of your favorite actors and actresses to work with on your films?

Kim Sønderholm: Oh, well.. I’m not much for naming names, but there are some I love working with and I keep trying to get into my newer projects and then there are some that my experience working with was not a happy one, so obviously I avoid those people in the future. I don’t really like to point people out, good or bad, but I guess it is fairly obvious in some cases if you compare imdb pages, hehe… Like I said, I like to work with people with a calm mind set who is easy to get along with and those are usually the ones I get involved as the first ones on my projects. Then there are the demanding attention queens who I try to avoid at all costs, haha.. I like people who behave as human beings and doesn’t have an ego and a big inflated self full of air..

DR.GOREHOUND: Are there any films you haven’t done yet and like to star in some?

Kim Sønderholm: I’m guessing you mean genres, right? Well, I’ve been doing a lot, I think I’ve done something in just about every genre now, but I love making horror – which I suppose is quite obvious. Action is always a lot of fun but something very close to my heart is comedy, so those are probably the three genres I enjoy doing the most. But drama is good and if the script is right I’d love to dive myself into more of that too. I would basically love to be able continuing what I’m doing now, I feel very gratified by what I do.

My favorite sort of humor probably is english stuff like Monty Python, Young Ones and Bottom. The Office was awesome too, and I think the american version is awesome as well. I love that sort of humor which is played very straight and sometimes gets under your skin so you don’t really know if you should laugh or cringe. I am actually working on getting that exact sort of humor into my segment for The Horror Vault 3, named “Little Big Boy” which is about a film maker who on the outside is very successful but on the inside he is a giant chaos. It will be messy and hopefully also fun to watch. You be the judge!

DR.GOREHOUND: You have done alot of international work throughout your career..can you talk about some of that with us?

Kim Sønderholm: Well, everybody will tell you that if you wanna be an actor you should contact all the agents and casters, and in a sense that is very true. However for me the case is a bit different. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many people throughout my now 10 years as an actor, so for me network is a lot more important. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people, had to privilege of becoming friends with a lot of them and in that vein worked with them as well. For the past three years I’ve been doing a lot of stuff outside Denmark, and aside from my own projects actually not a whole lot here in my home country. I hope that will change, cause danish films stands very close to my heart. But I enjoy working outside of Denmark too, I’ve been in the United Kingdom a handful of times to work now and it’s fantastic. Also done a bunch of english language films here in Denmark actually; my own film “Craig”, “A Viking Saga” which was released recently. It endured a lot of harsh criticism while it was in post-production but I think the final result will silence alot of that, plus cameo size parts in “No Right Turn” by David Noel Bourke and “Aurum” by James Barclay.

DR.GOREHOUND: Are there any future film projects you’d like to talk about?

Kim Sønderholm: Well we are currently working on two feature film projects in Cetus Productions. “Tour de Force” like was mentioned earlier and a supernatural thriller named “Silverthread” which is written and directed by one of my partners in the company, Jan T. Jensen. It’s gonna be a creepy and disturbing ride. We’re currently about half way into the shooting and things look to be great. Also, of course The Horror Vault 3 is currently in progress, and yeah, we’re keeping our hands full. We can sleep when we get old, right? ;-)

DR.GOREHOUND: What are your top 2 favorite horror films of all time?

Kim Sønderholm: The first film that every truly scared me was The Exorcist. I was 13 years old and didn’t sleep for two weeks. I was a rookie wimp when it came to horror and now I’m hardcore, haha.. Nah, I don’t really think movies are scary anymore. It’s probably a mixture of me being more used to watching them but I think most horror films today are concentrated more by the gross factor and the attempt to be disturbing, more than actually trying to be creepy. I think it’s a bit of a shame, but I guess it’s a sign of the times.

It’s not that I dislike all new horror films, cause I truly don’t, but I’m sort of missing the more creepy ones, like eg. The Exorcist was. The French “Razorblade Romance” stuck with me – it WAS disturbing, but it managed to retain the creepiness as well, so I liked that one a lot. But actually naming my top 2 is hard, but I guess in the end it must be the two films that made the lasting impression on me, and that is The Exorcist. Place no. 2 is difficult, but it must be the Friday the 13th series and the Freddy Krueger series as an extremely close follow up.  There, I answered your question without really answering it, didn’t I? haha..

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