Fifteen years ago, under the moniker Stakka Bo, Johan Renck topped the charts all over Europe with the song “Here We Go Again.” Though still involved with music, Renck is best known these days for his award-winning commercials and musicvideos.
Now, with Sundance competition player “Downloading Nancy,” he’s moving into narrative features.
“The first time I went behind the camera was in 1993. I felt, ‘This is my thing,’ and I knew that someday I’d make a feature,” he says.
“Downloading Nancy” is a drama about a depressed married woman who enters into a dark pact with a man she’s met online.
Pic stars Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell and Amy Brenneman.
Ace cameraman Christopher Doyle served as d.p., a fact that eased Renck’s discomfort about not handling the camera himself.
“I have done so many commercials and so many videos, that in a technical sense I was probably one of the most experienced people on the set. In many ways, shooting my first feature was more difficult than I had thought it would be, but it was still the most rewarding experience I have ever had. I was experienced in the world I came from, but here I was confronted with a complicated script with intricate emotions,” he says.
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Renck credits the quality of his cast as the reason for why it turned out so well. “We worked very closely and with mutual respect,” he says.
Says his RAF production company partner Jonas Akerlund: “Johan has all the ingredients you need: He has his youthful curiosity intact. He is incredibly creative, and he finds ways to explore this everywhere. Now it’s film, next time it’s something else.”
Looking forward to the Sundance experience, Renck is determined not to get stuck in the “festival trap” of spending a year traveling and talking about his film. He gets sent piles of scripts, and he has resolved to start shooting his next feature in the U.S. very soon — but it’s all down to finding the right script.
INSPIRED BY: “I look in my own pockets.”
REPS: Agent, David Unger (ICM); attorney, Warren Dern (Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern)