Writer, Director, Producer. Nicolas Winding Refn was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1970. Aged 8 he moved to New York with his parents where he lived out his teenage years. New York quickly became his city and soon began to shape Nicolas's future. At 17, Nicolas moved back to his native Copenhagen to complete his Gymnasium (High School) Education. Upon his school graduation, he swiftly flew back to New York where he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. However, this education was cut short when Nicolas threw a desk at a classroom wall and was expelled from the Academy. Consequently, he applied to the Danish Film School and was readily accepted. This education too was to be short-lived though as one month prior to the start of term Nicolas dropped out. A short film Nicolas had written, directed and starred in was aired on an obscure cable TV channel and lead to the offer of a lifetime. Nicolas was spotted and offered 3.2 million kroners to turn the short into a feature. At only 24, Nicolas had written and directed the extremely violent and uncompromising, Pusher (1996).
Pusher became a cult phenomenon and won Nicolas instant international critical acclaim. The success of his debut spurred him to push the boundaries of his creative filmmaking further, resulting in the close-to-the-edge and intricately gritty Bleeder (1999). Highly stylized and focused on introverted reactions to outward situations, this film was a marking point for the shaping of Nicolas's future career. The movie was selected for the 1999 Venice International Film Festival as well as winning the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize in Sarajevo.
Nicolas's third feature, the much-anticipated Fear X (2003) was also his first foray into English language movies. Starring the award-winning actor John Turturro, Fear X received its world premiere at Sundance Film festival delighting fans and critics alike. Following the success of Fear X, Nicolas surprisingly decided to revisit Pusher due to the movie's growing cult following in both its homeland and abroad. In just two years he managed to write, direct and produce the two sequels. Pusher II (2004) and Pusher 3 (2005) sealed the box and success of the internationally renowned Pusher Trilogy. In 2005 Toronto Film Festival held a PUSHER retrospective showing all three features cementing its worldwide phenomenon.
In 2006 Nicolas embarked on a second English language feature called Valhalla Rising (2009), inspired by a story his mother read to him aged five about a father and son who embark on a trip to the moon. Not recalling the ending of this story has been a long time fascination of Nicolas's with the unknown. During the pre-production on Valhalla Rising, his long time collaborator and friend , Rupert Preston, urged him into accepting an offer to write and direct Bronson (2009), an ultra-violent, surreal, and escapist film following the real life landmarks and self-entrapment of Britain's most notorious criminal, Charles Bronson.
Before its cinematic release Bronson was making waves inside and outside the film industry. Sundance Film Festival 2009 selected the blistering film for its World Cinema Dramatic Competition and it soon became the talk of the festival. With such a prestigious premier, Bronson went on to be selected for other major international film festivals and reap strong box office rewards. But, even with such a buzz surrounding the film no one could predict how the British press would bite at Bronson's bit. The content was close to the knuckle, the subject matter controversial but Nicolas's take on this was even more inspired leading him to be labelled by the British media as the next great European auteur. With such critical acclaim, Nicolas's reputation as a producer, writer and director was solidly reaffirmed.
Nicolas and his wife Liv Corfixen were the subjects of an acclaimed documentary, Gambler, which premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2005. In addition, Nicolas has already received two lifetime achievement awards (one from Taipei International Film festival in 2006 and the second from Valencia International Film Festival in 2007) and was the winner of the Emerging Master Award from the Philadelphia International Film Festival 2005.
|Liv Corfixen||(? - present) 1 child|
Usually sets his films in Copenhagen, Denmark
Frequently uses handheld cameras
The color red is frequently shown throughout all of his films
Shoots all his films in chronological order and without rehearsal
Effective use of rock, electronic, and pop music in films
Unsettling scenes of extreme violence
Often works with cinematographers Morten Søborg (Pusher (1996), Bleeder (1999), With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II (2004), I'm the Angel of Death: Pusher III (2005), Valhalla Rising (2009)) and Larry Smith (Fear X (2003), _Miss Marple: Nemesis (TV 2007)_, Bronson (2008), Only God Forgives (2013)), editors Anne Østerud (Pusher (1996), Bleeder (1999), Fear X (2003), With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II (2004), I'm the Angel of Death: Pusher III (2005)) and 'Matthew Newman' (II) (_Miss Marple: Nemesis (TV 2007)_, Bronson (2008), Valhalla Rising (2009), Drive (2011/I), Only God Forgives (2013)), composers 'Peter Peter' (Pusher (1996), Bleeder (1999), With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II (2004), I'm the Angel of Death: Pusher III (2005), Valhalla Rising (2009)) and Cliff Martinez (Drive (2011/I), Only God Forgives (2013)), producers Henrik Danstrup (Pusher (1996), Bleeder (1999), Fear X (2003),With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II (2004), I'm the Angel of Death: Pusher III (2005), Valhalla Rising (2009) and Lene Børglum (Valhalla Rising (2009), Only God Forgives (2013)), casting director Des Hamilton (Bronson (2008) , Valhalla Rising (2009), Only God Forgives (2013)), production designer Peter De Neergaard (Bleeder (1999), Fear X (2003)).
Danish Film School drop-out.
Son of Anders Refn.
Owned a film company called Jang Go Star, which went bankrupt.
He once stated that his greatest source of inspiration is Martin Scorsese and his films. As a salute to him, he used the main theme from Scorsese's Casino (1995) in the opening sequence of Bleeder (1999).
Of his Pusher trilogy, he prefers the third movie, because it's the most experimental and risky one.
He and his wife Liv Corfixen were the subjects of a theatrical documentary called Gambler (2006). The film followed the struggle of his career after the bankruptcy from Fear X (2003) to the successful completion of the Pusher trilogy.
Due to the complicated production of Fear X (2003), he was forced to complete the successful Pusher trilogy, which he wrote, produced, and directed within a year.
Avid toy collector. In particular Japanese robots, Dr. Who Daleks, and replica Thunderbird vehicles.
In 2008, he started a new production company called JGS (Jang Go Star) with longtime friends and business associates 'Lene Borglum' and Thor Sighvatsson.
In his native Denmark, Nicolas is known as l'Enfant Sauvage (the Wild Child).
Despite directing Drive (2011/I), he doesn't have a drivers' license. He failed his driving test 8 times.
He is color blind.
He is dyslexic.
Like all art forms, film is a media as powerful as weapons of mass destruction; the only difference is that war destroys and film inspires.
The auteur theory is such a strange theory, because you're dealing with human beings. You only make good stuff if your collaborators are a part of your process and a part of your ideas, and there's no point in fighting them or them fighting you. Even Ingmar Bergman had a lot of discussions with his actors about pros and cons. An auteur doesn't have to write every single word, because the writer's there to help the director do what the director wants to do, and that was certainly my case.
[on Ryan Gosling] The thing with Ryan, you can look at him for hours. Very few actors have that. It's a gift.
Well, art is an act of violence. It is about penetration, about speaking to our subconscious and our moods at different levels.
[on casting Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives (2013)] I was initially looking for an unknown in the role and then I heard she was interested through the grapevine. So I went to Paris to meet her and very quickly realized she had no problem in turning on the bitch switch. But she said, 'In order for me to do this, I need to transform'. And I said, ''You're preaching to the choir, baby'.
Silence is cinema! We are so used to sounds; we're always talked at. Silence is very rare for us for a long duration of time. It makes people very uncomfortable. But what it does, it also forces us to perceive on a much deeper level because we can no longer just be told things..Silence is like gold. It forces the audience to engage more, because they're not being told what to think.
The thing that's interesting in the digital revolution is that beyond your classic journalists or film critics, there's a whole world of people that are interested or fascinated by film. They didn't used to have a voice. The way that people describe, argue and debate is very fascinating because it shows that art has been taken back by the people. It's not longer individuals who set the standards or set the taste. It's been completely democratized.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.