A Danish boxing legend on the way to the big screen in A Better Man
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- The life of nine-time European champion Jørgen “Gamle” Hansen is the subject of Danish director Mikkel Serup’s upcoming movie
At 73, Danish welterweight boxer Jørgen “Gamle” Hansen – a nine-time European champion in the 1970s, who won 78 out of his 92 professional fights, 34 of which on knock-outs – will see his life laid bare in A Better Man (working title), the new feature by Danish director Mikkel Serup, which will shoot in Croatia and Denmark between 11 July and 19 August.
The boxing legend will be portrayed by Danish actor Mikkel Boe Følsgaard (who was a soccer player in Danish director Kasper Barfoed’s 2015 title Summer of ‘92 [+see also:
interview: Esben Smed
film profile]), while Lene Maria Christensen will play his wife. In addition, Søren Malling will perform as Danish boxing promoter Mogens Palle, and the UK’s Arnold Oceng will step into the ring as Ugandan boxer Ayub Kalule, who lived in Denmark. The cast also includes Marie Askehave, Benjamin Kitter, Martin Greis, Ari Alexander Andersen, Kristian Høgh Jeppesen and Kristian Fjord.
“A Better Man is an underacted, underdog story from Northern Jutland in provincial Denmark, about a father, a husband and a boxer who had to conquer himself before he could defeat others. It is about believing that your time will come, although others may tell you it has long gone,” explained Serup, who directed The Reunion 2: The Funeral [+see also:
film profile] (2014) and was conceptual director on the third season of The Killing TV series (2012).
The film catches up with Jørgen “Gamle” (meaning “Old”) Hansen in the late 1970s, when most people thought his career was over. He is physically worn out and financially broke – the bank is about to take over his house – but together with his wife/manager, Hanne, he is fighting to keep his career alive. And when they decide to house young African boxer Kalule, he realises he is not yet ready for his old-age pension.
“It’s a touching story of a man who, with indomitable support from his wife and this boxer, manages to step out from his own shadow, find the courage to defy his own inner demons and become a living legend.” At 36, Hansen defeated European champion Dave “Boy” Green; he gave up boxing shortly before he was 40, in 1982, and became a waiter at Copenhagen’s Hviids Vinstue.
The script for A Better Man was written by Serup, together with Linn-Jeanethe Kyed and Søren Felbo, and it will be produced by Lea Løbger for Nimbus Film, with Mainframe Production and Pegasus Pictures. Nordisk Film Distribution has scheduled the local premiere for 15 June 2017.