Arriving in select theaters this Friday, July 27th, from Drafthouse Films, is one of the funniest comedies of the year. Based on a Danish television series of the same name, Klown follows best friends Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen as they set out on a sex-fueled canoe trip away from their significant others. These plans go south when Frank is unexpectedly forced to care for his young nephew Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen). Despite the presence of this ten-year-old child, Frank and Casper push on, pulling off some of the raunchiest jokes ever witnessed in the history of cinema. It's the "Tour de Pussy!" And it's not to be missed. If you don't live near one of the select theaters playing Klown this weekend, you can rent and watch the film directly from us! Just click on the player below.
We recently caught up with the two masterminds behind this ribald tale to chat about its Stateside debut. Continue reading for our exclusive conversation with Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen. Then take a chance and rent this audacious adventure today!
How has the reaction from American audiences been thus far? We saw it a couple of weeks ago, and we're still talking about it. Which doesn't happen often nowadays...
Casper Christensen: That is great. So cool. Thank you. We are quite surprised. We've had a couple of screenings. At those screenings, we felt the movie translated well. We felt that the audiences really liked it. That was extremely exciting for us.
Frank Hvam: When you live in Denmark, you always here, "The Americans are so friendly. They like you so much. They cheer for you...But once you are out of the room, it's a completely different story." That is what we hear in Europe. But here, people seem to really love the movie.
I need an update on Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen). Where is he and what is he doing now?
Casper Christensen: He is doing great.
Frank Hvam: Yeah, he is in good shape.
Casper Christensen: He is a star now, back in Denmark. He had sort of a rough time before he did the movie. But his life changed with this movie.
Frank Hvam: We haven't seen him that much since we finished shooting.
Casper Christensen: Oh, we've seen him a couple of times. He is doing well. For him, it was a great experience. He was a big fan of the show. He volunteered himself. He went into casting without telling his parents.
Frank Hvam: He was chosen among 800 other kids. The whole shooting period was such a joy for him. He had so much fun with it. Of course, he is a young kid. So making fun of your penis is a big thing. But, first of all, it ends well. The penis grew. You know the tone, you know the humor, and he is such a strong little kid.
Casper Christensen: This is based on a television show, I don't know if you've seen it...
I haven't. Can American audiences get their hands on it?
Casper Christensen: Yeah, it's on Amazon. It's subtitled. We did six seasons before we did the movie. So, that is how Bo came about knowing of this. He had sat and watched the whole series. For him, it must have been strange. Here, he's watching the show, and then he's in the middle of it. Everything we do, we improvise the dialogue. So every single scene is new. And he is just sitting in the middle of it, listening to Frank and I bouncing back and forth, trying to make each other laugh. We try to go over the top, and do stupid stuff. At first, he was just paralyzed by it. Then, midway through, he was laughing too hard. We had to stop a couple of the takes.
You guys pull off quite a magic trick with this movie. Its one of the raunchiest comedies ever made, but you go about it with such heart, and every moment is earned in such a way that you never lose the audience. That's going to be hard to recreate in this upcoming remake of the movie, don't you think?
Frank Hvam: The way we see it...We had a lot of fun with this movie. Writing it, and acting in it...And we think someone else can have fun with it. We couldn't be happier that Danny McBride is the one that picked it up. We think he can do really good work with it. He is a nice guy. He is a funny guy. We've talked back and forth about ideas, so...It is in good hands. If they can have fun with it, It will be worth it.
Casper Christensen: It will be interesting to see how they work it out. It is interesting to us.
It will be interesting to see how they handle the Underberg storyline. It's so important to the movie, and I'm guessing most Americans won't know what that is. Losing the bottle caps is such a heartbreaking moment for Bo. We don't have any kind of consumer tie-in along those lines here.
Frank Hvam: That Underberg program is real. It exists...
I know! I, of course, had to get myself some Underberg to try it out after the movie, and it came with the little catalogue. And you can even still get the exact car that Bo is trying to get in the movie...
Casper Christensen: In Denmark, it's not unusual to collect bottle caps, or capsules, to collect stuff.
We don't have anything like that. Maybe in the 70s and 80s. I know you can use Marlboro cash. Or Camel Cash. Maybe that's the way they will go. The American Bo is trying to get a Marlboro jacket.
Casper Christensen: (Laughs) Yeah, you know, this was really big in Denmark in the 70s. It was fun for us to bring that retro thing back. Maybe it will also work in the American version. We don't know.
Did you have the full cooperation of the Underberg Corporation? They come off as dicks in the movie. Especially the way they refuse to give this kid his car.
Frank Hvam: There was an agreement with Underberg, that it was all right to use their product. I think they doubled their sales in Denmark just off of this movie. I hope they are happy. They should be.
It may seem odd to compare this to Back to the Future, but that's the last movie I can think of that was so well written, were every single joke or moment is important and pays off in the end. There are no wasted moments in Klown. It all falls perfectly into place, and it is amazing how all the jokes, big or little, come back and are actually a part of this whole grand scheme...
Frank Hvam: Thank you for that comparison...
Casper Christensen: I think having written six seasons before, and knowing this universe, and the characters, helped us know what we should be writing. The other thing is that we write no dialogue, only the story. But then, we keep writing the storyline, and rewriting. We keep on. We had twenty-five drafts for this movie. We do big changes in each draft. We don't have a funny line or a visual punch line that the scene needs to be about. We are just on the situation the whole time. We are motivating these characters to do stuff in a scene, and then we come up with the dialogue later. That helps us out a lot. So that everything hopefully felt natural. This journey they are on needs to feel natural. This could happen. I understand why the guy is doing what he is doing, even though it is really immature, and its not really funny.
Working in that way, how did you make sure everything paid off so naturally and perfectly? Did you have a really good script supervisor?
Frank Hvam: The storyline is so strict. We have to follow that storyline so straight, because we have such a tight budget. We only have six weeks to shoot. We couldn't invent too many new scenes. But how we played out the scenes would sometimes allow us to pick up fun stuff, and then we could bring that stuff back later on. Because this is shot in order, scene by scene. The first day of shooting is the first scene. Doing that allows us to pick up some neat stuff along the way.
So that's why we see Bo being quiet at the beginning of the movie. And then he sort of comes to life midway through. That is what was naturally happening for him on set...
Casper Christensen: That is so true, yeah.
Frank Hvam: We tried to use his natural progression. From being shy to being extraverted.
Casper Christensen: He is brilliant. But we were afraid of spoiling him too early in the process. Because we didn't want to have a happy, smiling child at the start of the movie. But I think we achieved what we needed with him.
Frank Hvam: It's hard when you are shooting, because you have to move back and forth within the location while you are shooting it scene by scene. At the same time, everybody knows where they are at in the movie, because we shot the day before in the movie the actual day before.
Casper Christensen: It's so easy to find the same emotions, and pick back up where you just left off.
Frank Hvam: For us not being trained actors...I only did some community theater....It was so much easier for us to know what was going on.
Everyone is comparing Klown to The Hangover. Had you seen that film before setting out to make this?
Casper Christensen: Yes.
Frank Hvam: Oh, yeah.
Casper Christensen: That is a fun movie. They pushed the envelope a little further.
You think they pushed the envelope further than Klown?
Frank Hvam: Oh, no! In general.
Casper Christensen: Klown pushes the envelope quite further. (Laughs) But then again, it's hard for us to know exactly where we pushed the envelope. Because, for example, the homosexual storyline in the movie is working better here than it is back home. I don't know why. Maybe it's a bigger taboo here.
Frank Hvam: It's not that big of a deal in Denmark if you are a homosexual. It's just a fun thing. The stupidity of man flirting. That is the joke.
Casper Christensen: But it seems like, when we screen it over here, audiences really find it funny.
Frank Hvam: One man having sex with another man. We weren't thinking about that aspect of it.
What's strange is that its so not sexy. That scene in particular isn't about a homosexual act. It's about a man doing something really dirty, and his own sexuality doesn't even really come into the equation. Its like on The League, when Rafi is hooking up with some dude in his car. Rafi is just this animal that will fuck anything. It's about the fornication of it, not who is doing the fornicating, if that makes sense. Have you guys seen The League?
Frank Hvam: No, I haven't seen that yet...
Casper Christensen: For us, it was about man flirting. I have some experience with this. I was shooting up in Norway, and I went to a party afterwards. There was this snowboarder guy, and he was really good looking. I was at this party, and suddenly he starts flirting with me. For some reason, I flirted back. Later, I came to Frank and said, "This is kind of fun." You can flirt with someone and not get in trouble. Because, I can have a girlfriend with me, and there is no way in hell that its going to happen. But I still got that little kick out of it. That's what we are talking about it that scene.
Frank Hvam: Yeah, if you can take power out of it. If you can win by man flirting, why not?
You seem very flirtable, just watching the movie and now meeting you in person...
Casper Christensen: (Laughs)
Frank Hvam: Do you feel anything? Do you two need a couple of minutes alone?
Casper Christensen: Just for five minutes.
Now, I haven't ever seen the show itself, but I do hear comparisons to Larry David. Is that something you guys hear all the time as well?
Frank Hvam: Oh, yeah.
Casper Christensen: Sometimes. But we are very proud of that.
Frank Hvam: We saw Curb Your Enthusiasm a couple of years ago, and we were really impressed. We thought maybe improv could work for us, so of course we've been inspired by it. We are inspired by Larry David, that is for sure.
Casper Christensen: We watched Seinfeld before, and we were very interested in how he would do something that was different. And he went for it with that long form improve. It is great. It really worked.
Is Curb a big show in Denmark?
Frank Hvam: No! They do have it on in syndication. There is a channel that it is on. Yeah.
Do people in Denmark ever see his show and think he's ripping you guys off?
Casper Christensen: We'd been doing six seasons of another comedy series before Klown. It was scripted. There was written dialogue. It was more of a Friends type sitcom. So, we wanted to try something different. I think a lot of people did. I don't think certain things ever completely fall out of fashion. But it seemed like that documentary-style dialogue just came out at that time in comedy. And we just happened to jump on that wave. Another thing is that we worked with the guy that created Dogma. So, we had that feeling in our lives already.
Frank Hvam: The hand-held camera. No make-up. No costumes or anything.
So, this is almost a Dogma film...
Casper Christensen: It is. It's made by the same company. Dogma was such a good idea when it came out. To tell a good story, and not be influenced by how many special effects you can do, and how beautiful it can look. You just keep it on the great story. It's such a great idea. But once you've done it, inspiration will take you elsewhere.
You guys recently took the film on a canoe trip, where you watched the movie outside at a campsite. Did you guys enjoy that? I don't know if there are Drive-In Theaters in Denmark.
Casper Christensen: Oh, yeah. There are a few. It's not that common. Because cars are very expensive in Denmark.
Frank Hvam: There is a 200% tax on a car in Denmark. If you buy a car for one hundred thousand dollars, it will cost you three hundred thousand dollars.
Casper Christensen: So it's insane.
Frank Hvam: The whole automobile culture is not that big in Denmark. But we like watching movies outside. We enjoy it. I actually went to a Drive-In in Denmark several times.
Casper Christensen: Watching the film outside in Texas, that is wild! The funny thing about the canoe is that we wanted to make this a road movie to start with. But Denmark is so small. You can drive from one end to the other in four hours. So, we tried to slow ourselves down by using a canoe instead. Denmark, there, you can sail for days without getting where you are going. There is a very funny scene that we wrote, that isn't in the movie. When the High School teacher is chasing Casper and Frank, there was a complete canoe chase just like a car chase. It had all of the things you'd normally do in a car chase. But just in canoes. It sounded like a lot of fun, but it was too much work. We did get a couple of shots that looked like a car chase into the movie, but it just didn't work out.
You can watch Klown, in theaters today, or rent it from this page by clicking on the embedded player above.