Nicolaj Kopernikus interview: ‘Stenofonen’ director
“The biggest choice was to make it,” admits Nicolaj Kopernikus, the writer and director of “Stenofonen.” For our recent webchat he continues, “It is really important that you keep having this stamina and this courage. I thought, ‘If I just made this movie for myself to follow my idea all the way from the beginning to the end, that would be enough.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Stenofonen” is based on Kopernikus’ dad who, as a 12 year old boy collected stones that could be played as a musical instrument. The director reveals, “I wanted to combine it with his very tough relationship he had to his father. It would be a perfect combination to tell universal stories about how important it is to put some spotlight on each other. But, first of all, it was because I thought it was such a crazy idea to find a music instrument out of 2000 stones.”
Kopernikus actually had his son Louis Næss- Schmidt play the lead role of his 12-year-old father. He explains, “I have a very nice relationship to him as a son, but I also got a very nice working relationship. He was like all the other actors and talked to me like I was a director. I remember one time we were having a scene at the beach and I wrote a very long and extremely bad line. He said to me, ‘it’s impossible to play this shit.’ I said, ‘can you at least try?’ He tried and I said, ‘I understand what you mean, we have to do something.’”
“Stenofonen” has made the Oscar shortlist in the Best Live Action Short Film category, an accomplishment for Kopernikus’ first short film. He’s best known for his performances in Danish TV series such as “The Killing.” He says, “I’ve been an actor for like 30 years. I have done a lot of TV shows and movies, but I found out through this movie that I’ve got such a lot of energy and creativity, working with things that are close to my heart. You can simplify it in a way, and it sounds banal, but I really found out that I was so creative through that process. I want to do more of that. I want to go to search for stories that are close to my heart.”