Culture Trips

How do you act drunk on screen?

To help themselves seem properly dizzy, the actors would spin around before each take – well, some of them. “I don’t think Mads did that,” notes Vinterberg. “It was beneath him.” They also made use of “very painful” eyedrops to give them the requisite bleary red eyes, and shoulder pads for when they bumped into walls. Being blind drunk can be dangerous, after all. In one of cinema’s most sublime films about someone who’s sozzled, One A.M., Charlie Chaplin’s genius for slapstick allows him to tumble spectacularly without breaking any bones. On Another Round, the solution was to have crash mats on the floor, just out of shot, so that the actors could fall over whenever the mood took them. “Very drunk people don’t use their hands to stop themselves when they fall down,” explains Mikkelsen, “they just use their teeth or their faces, so we were keen on having mats around the place.”

According to Vinterberg, though, “the most important thing” when you’re playing someone pickled is not fooling the viewer but fooling yourself. In the opening scene of Another Round, some teenagers knock back cratefuls of beers and sprint around a lake. The beers were all alcohol-free, says Vinterberg, but the young actors were so elated by the atmosphere that “they got crazy”. The same sort of hypnosis happened to the lead actors during one raucous scene in a pub. “It’s an illusion. Your brain processes it as, ‘I’m in the surroundings where I’m normally in that kind of state,’ and it brings you into that state.” So maybe, in a sense, the actors did get drunk for the drunk scenes: it’s just that they managed it without a drop of alcohol.

Another Round is released internationally on 5 February 2021.

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