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Nicolas Winding Refn Reveals the Connection Between ‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ and ‘Drive’

The neo-noir series set in Denmark is a "fairy tale" involving the "female evolution" of a character similar to Ryan Gosling's in "Drive."

Copenhagen Cowboy

“Copenhagen Cowboy”


Nicolas Winding Refn is winding down on the debate over Marvel shows and indie streaming series, and instead showing just how intertwined they both are.

The “Copenhagen Cowboy” creator and director revealed that the upcoming six-episode Netflix series is his own take on a “superhero show,” building out the cinematic universe created by previous films “Only God Forgives,” “Drive,” and “Valhalla Rising.”

“I’ve done films in the past with a certain type of character that was first played by Mads Mikkelsen in ‘Valhalla Rising’ on one hand and then Ryan Gosling played him as a driver in ‘Drive’ and then Vithaya [Pansringarm] played him as a lieutenant in ‘Only God Forgives,'” Refn explained during the Venice Film Festival premiere of the series, via Deadline.

He continued, “So, I was working with Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, or Purvis and Wade as they are called, on a larger female evolution of that character and then suddenly one night, I was like, ‘Maybe I should try to do a version of it as female and not just one but many.’ So, I said, ‘I’m going to make my version of a superhero show.’ And that was the kind of aspiration to do it.”

Refn noted that genre is “is one of the saviors of mass media” and compared the “poetic neo-noir” series “Copenhagen Cowboy” to a fairy tale of sorts.

“I think that genre, like fairy tales, or whatever you can combine it with, it’s a reflection of us as a society and it mirrors our desires and it’s our fantasies and it’s everything that’s really interesting because it’s heightened reality,” Refn noted.

The “Too Old to Die Young” creator formerly stated that “with ‘Copenhagen Cowboy,’ I am returning to my past to shape my future by creating a series, an expansion of my constantly evolving alter-egos, now in the form of my young heroine, Miu,” played by Angela Bundalovic.

Ren previously told IndieWire that streaming offers an “ocean of possibilities” for modern filmmakers. “The difference between streaming and more traditional theatrical is that streaming is an energy flow around us that runs 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and we can tap into and consume it whenever we want,” Refn said. “That is a whole new ideology for how to exist.”

Netflix’s official synopsis for the show reads: “‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ is a thrill-inducing, neon-drenched noir series set across six episodes which follows enigmatic young heroine, Miu. After a lifetime of servitude and on the verge of a new beginning, she traverses the ominous landscape of Copenhagen’s criminal netherworld. Searching for justice and enacting vengeance, she encounters her nemesis, Rakel, as they embark on an odyssey through the natural and the supernatural. The past ultimately transforms and defines their future, as the two women discover they are not alone, they are many.”

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