Copenhagen Cowboy’s Nicolas Winding Refn Admits Cinema Needs To Be Challenged To Become Better

Jan 10, 2023

Home TV News Copenhagen Cowboy’s Nicolas Winding Refn Admits Cinema Needs to Be Challenged to Become Better

Ahead of his neon-noir acid western’s January 5th premiere, Nicolas Winding Refn speaks on the room for improvement within Hollywood’s industry

Nikolaj Thaning Rentzmann / Netflix

Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn returns to television in his upcoming series Copenhagen Cowboy for Netflix on January 5th. The upcoming noir-thriller is his first project in four years and marks his second television series through a streaming platform. Although he’s most known for his distinctively polarizing and magnetic film catalog which includes the Pusher trilogy and Drive, he has welcomed streaming’s lasting presence as the entertainment industry has continued to morph to keep up with content demand. During a recent Crew Call Podcast interview, Refn expressed his sentiments about Hollywood’s current system and why it needs to be challenged to become better for future cinematic projects in the midst of its current reinvention.

Through his work, Refn has always maintained his autonomy and independence as a filmmaker, in spite of a shifting Hollywood industry and their target for mainstream projects. “Hollywood is very seductive and intoxicating, but it’s also a system that’s falling apart desperately. And I think they’re doing it to themselves more than anything else,” Refn stated. “Who knows? I would love to make something grandiose and big, but I would want to maintain my freedom, my impulse and creative control.”

Although Copenhagen Cowboy marks his second television series for a major streamer, he remains adamant about maintaining the integrity and legacy of the cinematic market as a way to ensure more profound projects can continue to come to fruition.

“The theatrical market is in its own re-definition of existence. For cinema to survive, we need to go back and make films again. There also needs to be an ecosystem that reflects the opportunities. Streaming has forced the theatrical market to reinvent themselves as well. I don’t think theatrical will ever go away. I think theatrical will always exist, but it needs to be challenged in order to become better, more sufficient, and more meaningful.”

Related: Nicolas Winding Refn’s Copenhagen Cowboy: Everything We Know So Far

Copenhagen Cowboy Is The Feminist Parallel to the Pusher Trilogy


Nicolas Winding Refn’s Copenhagen Cowboy is a six-episode neon-noir series born during the uncertainty of the pandemic with help from his two daughters and wife Liv Corfixen, who serves as co-executive producer. The acid western focuses on a gifted young woman named Mui, a lone wolf protagonist who is characteristically similar to Ryan Gosling’s Driver in Drive and Mads Mikkelson’s Tonny in the Pusher franchise. Remaining true to his crime-thriller nature, the story revolves around Mui’s dissent through Copenhagen’s criminal world as she pursues vengeance. With the Pusher trilogy centering masculinity, Refn felt the transition to Copenhagen Cowboy was a “natural evolution into femininity.”

When speaking on the series’ inception, which focuses on the renegade superhero Mui, Refn mentioned:

“We were stuck in Denmark during the pandemic, and I really didn’t know how the world was going to turn out. I came up with the concept of what I wanted to do. Netflix Nordic had been established. Once they heard I was thinking of extending from the Pusher trilogy into a new narrative, they came on board.”

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