From Cannes to Bangkok

CANNES. With "Drive" winning in Cannes Nicolas Winding Refn will be able to reach a broader international audience, says Lene Børglum, producer on Refn's upcoming "Only God Forgives" which starts pre-production in August.

Nicolas Winding Refn's reputation as one of Europe's most innovative auteur filmmakers moved up several notches as the Danish director took home an award for his US production "Drive" at Cannes on Sunday.

Kristin Scott Thomas in Bangkok thriller

Lene Børglum, producer on Refn's next film in the pipeline, the Danish production "Only God Forgives" starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Luke Evans, sees the Danish director's Cannes triumph as a gateway to a wider international audience.

"The award is an important acknowledgment of Refn's work and a great career boost," Børglum says. "It testifies to Refn's position in the premier league of cinema. And I hope this will make it easier for us to find the missing pieces in the financing of 'Only God Forgives', which is scheduled to start pre-production in August in Bangkok," Børglum says.

"'Only God Forgives' is set in Thailand because it's a place where many criminals from Europe and the US live in refuge, somewhere between heaven and hell," the producer says. "This fits well with the idea of the film which unfolds in an underworld of gangsters and combines themes of revenge and punishment with the same spiritual dimension Refn was seeking in 'Valhalla Rising'."

Good reputation among actors 

Lene Børglum explains how Refn came on board as director of "Drive" after Ryan Gosling saw the Danish director's "Valhalla Rising", Refn's best selling film in America.

"Ryan Gosling found it so inspirational that when he was asked if he'd make 'Drive', he said yes on condition that Nicolas Winding Refn would direct. I think that Refn has a good reputation among actors who would love to work with him because he has shown that he is capable of bringing out new and unexpected aspects in their performances. That's a challenge to any actor," Lene Børglum says. 

See video interview with Gosling on "Drive"

In an interview with IndieWire's Anne Thompson Ryan Gosling talks about his collaboration with Refn, about "Valhalla Rising" and about how the whole idea fell into place ... in a car.