You & Me Forever: An interview with Kaspar Munk and Julie Anderson
You & Me Forever is the European coming-of-age tale focused on the adolescent struggles of two 16-year-old friends. The Upcoming spoke to director Kasper Munk and star Julie Andersen about Danish filmmaking, teenage girls and finding your identity:
You & Me Forever was filmed back in 2012. Has it been a frustrating process to finally get the film distributed on a larger scale?
Kaspar Munk: Not really – I’m happy the film is getting out there. I made it under really limited circumstances, on a really low budget.
Do you think the success of Danish television such as The Killing (Forbrydelsen) and Borgen will prove beneficial to Danish cinema?
KM: Definitely! The ironic thing is that the great success coming from television in Denmark now is as a result of strategy from the broadcaster to get filmmakers to make the series. And yet its mainly people from the film industry who are working on the bigger series.
What encouraged you to make a film about the troubled friendships of teenage girls?
KM: I found that there’s real intense and powerful drama in the relationships between teenage girls. It’s like they’re fighting for their lives, and the smallest details can have a huge impact on how they react – or don’t react.
Your previous film Hold Me Tight also focused on peer pressure and a search for identity. Do you see these as universal themes that we all have to deal with?
KM: Yes. I find that stories centred around these years are stories we can all relate to – anyone, anywhere. It’s about friendship, identity and love.
What project will you be working on next?
KM: I’ve been working on teenage, coming-of-age topics for a long time. So I’m taking a break and am making a more traditional drama. But I’ll definitely return to this theme as we can always relate to such universal stories.
Julie, what kind of person is Laura and can you sympathise with her?
Julie Andersen: Laura is a down-to-earth girl with a safe and stable family. She’s easy to be with, kind, caring and open-minded. She has been like that all her life: together with her best friend Christine. But underneath the facade she has this longing for something more. She thinks that there is more to life than what Christine and her parents know about, and it’s when Maria comes into her life that she can let those feelings go. Since Laura is like every other normal girl, I can empathise a lot with her. When you are a “good girl” sometimes you’re longing to break free and rebel and not care about what other people think. Laura doesn’t have these “outer points”, she’s not seeking limits like Maria, and I think I’m pretty similar to Laura in that way.
What is it in Maria that Laura is drawn to?
JA: Maria is not afraid of anything. She can do whatever she wants, or at least that’s what Laura thinks. And Laura is at a point in her life when she needs someone who can push her. Someone that is not Christine. Maria is beautiful and interesting, she has tried a lot of crazy stuff that Laura could never dream about doing. And that is very attractive to her.
Do you think Laura outgrows Christine?
JA: In some ways, yes. Laura needs to find out some things about herself and her personal limits that Christine is not able (or willing) to give her. They need to “take a break” and find each other again when they are both more mature and sure about themselves.
Is teenage rebellion a natural thing?
JA: I think teenage rebellion is a completely normal thing. Every human being has a need to break free and do stupid crazy things, because otherwise they are not able to learn and grow. It’s a thing that everyone has to go through, whether their parents know about it or not!
Do you think Laura finds redemption in the end?
JA: I think Laura finds a lot of redemption in the end. She’s changed for life! But at the same time she’s ready to “take Christine back” and start over. I think she has learned a lot about herself, and her view of life after her friendship with Maria. So when she returns to Christine it is with a whole other mindset.
What did you enjoy the most about this role?
JA: We worked a lot of with improvisation, which I think has given me a lot of experience of the acting profession. It’s not easy to improvise because you have to be incredibly clear about your character. You have to do a lot of character work, which I think was a bit hard at the time – harder than now, because of this experience. You have to be completely clear about how the character speaks, how she reacts, what her family is like, and not just what the script says. But at the same time this was the best thing about creating You & Me Forever: the process was so much fun, and working with Kaspar Munk was so educational and giving. Working with a character where your limits are so loose, and where you can have such a big impact on everything is fantastic!
You & Me Forever is released nationwide on 25th April 2014. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for You & Me Forever here: