"I hadn't hoped for anything. It's extremely overwhelming. It's a recognition for my work, and it's fantastic." So says Mikkel Boe Følsgaard to the news agency Ritzau after winning a Silver Bear for Best Actor as the first Danish actor ever.
The 27-year-old acting student Følsgaard plays the deranged King Christian VII in Nikolaj Arcel's historical drama "A Royal Affair" alongside stars Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander as the romantic leads Queen Caroline Mathilda and the German Physician Johann Struensee. Nonetheless, it was the 27-year-old 4th year acting student who stole the spotlight, both in the festival jury and among the critics.
"There's unexpected poignancy in his characterization," writes Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney, while Screen Daily's Mike Goodridge notes that the great performances from Mikkelsen and Vikander are "perhaps upstaged by Folsgard, whose unhinged king becomes increasingly endearing as the story goes on."
Mikkelsen overtaken by Ferrari
Asked whether Mads Mikkelsen begrudged his young colleague's the prize, the reply fell promptly:
"Are you crazy? He gets the prize because he is supreme. When you are overtaken on the freeway, it's nice that it's by a Ferrari," Mikkelsen says to Information.
Director Nikolaj Arcel had no doubts that the part belonged to Følsgaard when he showed up for the casting, but he hesitated a little about giving the part to someone still in theater school. "But it's the coolest bet I've ever made," says Arcel to Information.
The man of the day, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, hasn't let the sudden fame turn his head.
"I got a lot of help from Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Arcel to work on the film and shape the character. So I don't feel like the new wonderkid in Danish film. It will be good for me to go back to school for another 4-5 months, I think," Følsgaard said at the press conference after the ceremony, according to Politiken.
"It was my first movie ever, so I've been very nervous about whether my performance was good enough. This indicates that it was, says Følsgaard with a grin to Berlingske Nyhedsbureau.
Nikolaj Arcel and co-writer Rasmus Heisterberg also took home a Silver Bear for Best Script and were equally thrilled and proud:
"It's a great honour to receive this prize. We were rewarded for the story and the quality of the film. It's a huge accolade for the whole film, and the entire team is completely up in the air," Arcel says to Ritzau.
"A Royal Affair" is produced by Louise Vesth, Sisse Graum Jørgensen and Meta Louise Foldager for Zentropa with support from the Danish Film Institute.