'Pusher II-With Blood on My Hands' follows one of the 'Pusher I' characters, Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen), as he is - once again - released from jail, this time after 13 months.
But now he decides it is time for something else: he wants to sort out his life, and gain the respect of his father, a notorious gangster.
But the more he tries, the more trouble he gets into - especially from his father. Mikkelsen won both Danish national film awards, the Robert and the Bodil, for his performance.
"The trilogy is made from stories of destinies, about good and bad destinies - mostly bad, unfortunately. Whenever I meet a destiny, I see a film - and I have many waiting to be realised. In fact 'Pusher II' is better than the original. It deals more with human feelings," added Refn, having just world-premièred 'Pusher III - I'm the Angel of Death' and screened the other two films in the trilogy at the Toronto International Film Festival.
"The series deals with people in the underworld of crime, not about crime itself. Shakespeare wrote about royal families, which are essentially confronting the same moral dilemmas that you find among gangsters - and they both have their own rules. Each film depicts one person, the 'I', and his experiences, and clearly shows that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword," Refn concluded.
Director/Scriptwriter: Nicolas Winding Refn
In 1995, at 24, Nicolas Winding Refn - against much advice, especially from his director/editor father, Anders Refn - decided to drop the Danish Film School in favour of filming 'Pusher', which was launched at the Venice International Film Festival.
A success both in Denmark and abroad, it sold over 200,000 domestic tickets, and made local audiences return to see Danish films. After the television series, 'De udvalgte' ('The Chosen'), he directed 'Bleeder', then his first international production, the $5 million 'Fear X,' co-written with Hubert Selby Jr, starring John Turturro.
'Fear X' was a box office bomb, and it forced Refn's and producer Henrik Danstrup's NWR Productions into bankruptcy.
The new beginning was Pusher II-With Blood on My Hands and Pusher III-I'm the Angel of Death, staged in collaboration with Danish major, Nordisk Film Production.
Refn is currently writing an English-language thriller, 'Billy's People', with US author Nicholas St John ('King of New York'), as well as preparing Valhalla Rising, an action film which follows a stupid Viking (Mads Mikkelsen), who accidentally discovers America.
Producer: Henrik Danstrup
Originally educated in a bank, Danstrup took a university degree in film science, before he entered the production line of the Danish Film School.
After graduating he started Balboa Enterprise in 1994, with Peter Aalbæk Jensen (Zentropa Entertainments), producing Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Pusher' shortly afterwards. Balboa also backed such films as Simon Staho's 'Wildside' and Shaky Gonzáles' 'Angel of the Night'.
In 1999 he realised 'Bleeder' and set up NWR Productions with Refn, producing 'Fear X', followed by 'Pusher II - With Blood on My Hands' and 'Pusher III - I'm the Angel of Death'.
Nicolas Winding Refn
Henrik Danstrup, NWR Productions
Mads Mikkelsen, Zlatko Burix, Leif Sylvester
Nordisk Film International Sales