Before he took on the role of James Bond and starred in “Casino Royale,” and even before he shocked viewers in films like “Rogue One,” “Fantastic Beasts,” and “Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny,” Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen first stepped into the spotlight with Nicolas Winding Refn’s compelling trilogy, “Pusher.” Despite this early success, one of Mikkelsen’s most acclaimed films and a significant milestone in his climb to international fame was “A Royal Affair,” directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel in 2012.
Arcel, also known for his esteemed work on “Kongekabale” (2004) and the original 2009 Danish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” has once again teamed up with Mikkelsen to bring viewers a brand new drama, “The Promised Land” (“Basterden”).
“The Promised Land” paints the vivid picture of a period drama, telling the engrossing story of Ludvig Kahlen who sets his sights on an ambitious dream — to transform the dry Danish heath into a prosperous land that would bring him not only wealth but also honor in his life. Tasked with the challenge of turning the exhausted Danish farmlands (a by-product of Stone Age farmers’ practices) into a utopia, Kahlen is indeed facing an audacious mission. But if there’s any actor who could portray such a daunting character, it’s the charismatic Mads Mikkelsen.
Media reports have indicated that “The Promised Land” is slated to have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, but it is also set to debut at the esteemed Telluride and the Toronto International Film Festival, indicative of its much-anticipated quality and appeal.
The film’s official synopsis provides a glimpse into the plot: “In 1755, the impoverished captain Ludvig Kahlen sets out to conquer the harsh, uninhabitable Danish heath with a seemingly impossible goal: to build a colony in the name of the King. However, his journey is shrouded with obstacles, tension and the fervor of the sole ruler of the land, Frederik de Schinkel, who will stop at nothing to drive him away and claim the land as his own.”
In a moving director’s statement, Nikolaj Arcel reveals how becoming a father influenced his approach to the film, leading him to craft a story about how our desires and ambitions often fall short when they remain our only focus. “Bastarden,” he says, is his most personal film to date.
While a release date is yet to be confirmed, “The Promised Land” is already making buzz as one of the most anticipated movies on the fall film festival lineup. For a special sneak peek, check out the film’s first official trailer, along with three press clips from its Venice premiere below.