Danish helmer Janus Metz’s next feature project after Amazon Studios’ “All the Old Knives,” starring Laurence Fischburne and Chris Pine, will be the Danish drama “Bastard Love,” produced by Jesper Morthorst (“Silent Heart,” “Rita”) and Lise Orheim Stender (“Heartstone,” “Venus Effect”) for Motor.
“Bastard Love” will be Metz’s sophomore Scandinavian feature film after the multi-awarded ”Borg vs. McEnroe.” The project is co-penned by Metz and Danish author Kamilla Hega Holst from her acclaimed novel “På Træk,” winner of the 2015 Blixen Literary Award.
The intense psychological drama centers on a woman in her late thirties who leaves her failed marriage, ex-husband and two kids, and ends up in Pattaya, Thailand, where her retired grandfather is living with a Thai woman. There, she starts a relationship with a trans prostitute and throws herself into the dark underbelly of the city, where anything is possible, including redefining herself.
The Thai setting is familiar territory for Holst whose grandfather lived in Pattaya, as well as for Metz who made three documentaries over a decade about Thai women sharing their lives with Danish men. The festival hits “Love on Delivery” (2007), “Ticket to Paradise” (2008), and “Heartbound” (2018) were made in collaboration with anthropologist Stine Plambech.
“Bastard Love” is an intriguing and exciting story, exploring the darker suppressed side of human beings,” commented Morthorst who compares the complex female lead in the project to Trine Dyrholm’s character in “Queen of Hearts.”
The producer said filming in English and Danish will be split between Denmark and Thailand – COVID-19 permitting. “It will be a big project, with an international cast,” said Morthorst, who is starting to look for international partners. The film has received development coin from the Danish Film institute. Production is due to start in 2022.
Since his international breakthrough with the documentary “Armadillo,” a Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prix winner in 2010, Metz has alternated film and TV projects in the U.S. and Denmark. He was an episode director of “True Detective” and the Amazon released “ZeroZeroZero.”
Fast-expanding Danish production house Motor has had a strong presence at the Göteborg Film Festival’s industry confab Nordic Film Market (Feb. 4-7) with three features in post, pitched as works in progress: Bille August’s psychological drama “The Pact,” produced with SF Studios, and two debuts by female directors: Anna Emma Haudal’s “The Venus Effect” starring Sofie Gråbøl and Lars Mikkelsen, and the period drama “Night of Dying” by Tea Lindeburg (Netflix’s “Equinox”).
The feature project “Stranger,” by promising director Mads Hedegaard, based on a script by Jesper Fink (“Margrete-Queen of the North,” “Before the Frost”), was pitched at the Nordic film confab’s Discovery section.