"1864" was a fateful year for Denmark. The nation lost the Battle of Dybbøl to the Prussians and, in turn, two thirds of its land and population, 5,000 troops and a good measure of self-respect. The ignominious defeat became a national trauma that can still make Danes feel small.
Costliest drama ever
Now this bloody period of Danish history will be the setting for an epic new undertaking by the national broadcaster DR, makers of the international hit series "The Killing" and "Borgen": "1864", a drama of politics, war and love. Ole Bornedal ("The Possession", "Nightwatch") is directing and wrote the script based on the best-selling novels by the historian Tom Buk-Swienty, "Slagtebænk Dybbøl" and "Dommedag Als" (translate as "Slaughterhouse Dybbøl" and "Apocalypse Als", ed.).
Produced by Miso Film ("Varg Veum", "The Candidate", "Those Who Kill", "Dicte"), the project embraces a TV mini series of eight 58-minute episodes and a 150-minute feature. A budget of 23 million Euros makes "1864" Denmark's costliest drama production ever.
"1864" is a dramatic love story told against the backdrop of the Danish-Prussian war. Two brothers, Laust and Peter, grow up poor but happy far off in the Danish countryside. Both fall in love with adorable Inge, a well-read landholder's daughter who lectures them on poetry, philosophy and women's suffrage. Inge loves them both. But when their father dies from a German bullet wound, they volunteer for the army.
The multinational cast features the "Borgen" stars Sidse Babett Knudsen, Pilou Asbæk, Søren Malling and Jens Frederik Sætter-Lassen, "The Killing" headliners Nicolas Bro, Bent Mejding, Lars Mikkelsen and Søren Pilmark, along with Zlatko Buric ("Pusher"), the Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro ("Kon-Tiki"), the German-speaking Rainer Bock, Barnaby Metschurat and Heikko Deutschmann, plus the British actors Barbara Flynn and James Fox.
Shooting runs until October in the Czech Republic and on Funen, Denmark. The series will be broadcast on DR in fall 2014 and the feature will premiere in early 2015.
See the first stills from the set just a short drive outside of Prague. All photos are by Per Arnesen/Miso Film.