Thomas Vinterberg Daughter
Thomas Vinterberg Daughter
Vinterberg’s life took a harrowing turn when his daughter died in 2019. But as the filmmaker and star Mads Mikkelsen explain, they knew they had to go on.
In early 2019, more than 20 years after launching the Dogme ’95 movement with “The Celebration,” Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg was on the verge of making his most personal movie. It ended up at the center of his greatest tragedy.
“Another Round” would reunite him with Mads Mikkelsen, following their acclaimed collaboration on “The Hunt,” and serve as the debut performance of Vinterberg’s daughter, Ida. Mikkelsen was playing a disillusioned high school history teacher who confronts a midlife crisis through day drinking, and Ida Vinterberg would play his concerned teen. Vinterberg planned to shoot the movie at Ida’s high school and populate the ensemble with her friends, envisioning a unique seriocomic generational conflict grounded in the naturalism of its backdrop. Ida was on a trip to Africa when he sent her the script. “She shared her unconditional love of this project,” Vinterberg recalled in a recent interview over Zoom. “She felt seen by it.”
Production started in early May of that year, before Ida’s return. Four days into the shoot, Vinterberg received a call from Belgium. His ex-wife, Maria Walbom, had been driving Ida to Paris to rendezvous with some friends and there had been an accident. Another driver, distracted by his phone, slammed into them on the highway. Maria would recover from her injuries; Ida died instantly. She was 19.
The production went on immediate hiatus. “My life was destroyed,” Vinterberg said, in a careful, matter-of-fact tone. “We were very close. She always told me the honest truth.” In the midst of the trauma, he said, he imagined how she would feel about the impact of her death on the project. “It did not make sense to continue, but it did not make sense not to continue,” he said. “She would’ve hated that. So we decided to make the movie for her. That was the only way we could do this.”
After Ida’s funeral, Vinterberg clawed his way back to the movie in fits and starts, with his co-writer, Tobias Lindholm, handling the shoot on days when Vinterberg felt overcome by grief. The result is a touching black comedy about navigating life’s messiest curveballs by matching its tempo and stumbling through the darkness.
Mikkelsen delivers one of his most satisfying performances in years as Martin, who joins forces with his equally downtrodden old pals to enliven their daytime routines with booze, as they suffer a range of personal and professional consequences. Despite some of its bleak turns, the movie stands out as Vinterberg’s gentlest work, and offers a warm and poignant window into resilience in hard times. The movie scored a slot in the Official 2020 Cannes Selection and became the Danish Oscar submission, and stands a good shot at a nomination; Mikkelsen could even be a dark horse in the Best Actor race. In the final version, the actor’s character has two sons, but Ida’s legacy hangs over it. Vinterberg included a dedication to her in the credits.