Ole Bornedal to direct biopic on cult Danish singer John Mogensen
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Danish actor-singer Rasmus Bjerg will personify the legendary performer in Miso Film’s €3.7 million The Way to Mandalay
Danish director Ole Bornedal, whose latest feature, Small Town Killers [+see also:
film profile], is closing in on 200,000 admissions domestically, will next direct a biopic on legendary Danish cult singer John Mogensen, named after one of his all-time hit records, The Way to Mandalay [+see also:
Danish producers Jonas Allen and Peter Bose, of Miso Film, will stage the €3.7 million project with 4Fiction and Nordisk Film, Danish commercial broadcaster TV2 Danmark and the Western Danish Film Centre. Nordisk will handle distribution in Scandinavia, and Denmark’s TrustNordisk is in charge of international sales.
“Mogensen’s story encompasses sensitive drama, demonstrative selfishness, heartfelt love and dark self-destruction. Our ambition is to make a touching, visually strong and very musical film, which first and foremost must be seen, but also heard because of his popular songs,” said Allen about Miso Film's third collaboration with Bornedal (after 1864  and Small Town Killers).
Originally a member of the Four Jacks (1956-1963) vocal quartet, Mogensen made a comeback as a solo artist in 1971 – his gravelly voice and frank and direct language formed a rare link between traditional popular music and folk song, and his work alternated between criticism of society, love songs and reflections on the pub milieu he knew so well.
Bornedal will depict his ups and downs as a touring musician, husband and father, following him through his childhood, his time with Four Jacks, and his successful career as a solo artist, which ended in 1977 when he died from a heart attack at the age of 48, caused by the over-consumption of alcohol, which was part and parcel of his life.
Danish actor-singer Rasmus Bjerg will play the lead – he is as well known from classic plays at Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre as he is from satirical TV series; Helle Fagralid has been cast as Ruth, the love of his life, and they are flanked by such actors as David Dencik and Peter Mygind. Shooting will start on 20 March, and the local release is scheduled for early 2018.
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