Danish eccentrics Spies & Glistrup reunited in new Christoffer Boe feature
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
16/04/2012 - ”Their biographical narratives go far beyond themselves,” said Danish director Christoffer Boe (pictured), who on April 15 began principal photography for a feature he has been preparing since 2008 - Spies & Glistrup, the friendship between two Danish eccentrics Simon Spies, the king of charter holidays, and Mogens Glistrup, the controversial tax lawyer-turned-top politician.
Born into a poor family, Spies gained MScs in psychology and political science from the University of Copenhagen, when in 1956 he opened Spies Rejser. The following year the travel agency sent coach-loads of tourists to Mallorca, shortly to become Denmark’s largest provider of package holidays. In the 1970s, Danish producer Steen Herdel filmed him over several years for a project that was never completed, but the material was used in his and Danish director Torben Skjødt Jensen’s Simon’s Movie (1999). A multi-millionaire, Spies died in 1984, aged 62.
A former associate professor in tax legislation at the University of Copenhagen, Glistrup owned one of Denmark’s leading law firms, when on national television in 1971 he compared tax evaders to freedom fighters, and disclosed his own tax rate: 0%. The following year, he instigated the Progress Party, which in 1973 was the second largest in Parliament, with 28 seats. After an investigation of his financial affairs, he was in 1983 sentenced to three years in prison, but returned to politics. He died in 2008, aged 82.
Spies and Glistrup met at university; Boe, who most recently signed the psycho-horror drama, Beast [trailer] (2011), catches up with them in 1965, 15 years after their graduation, whenGlistrup helps Spies build up his economic empire. ”It is a story of a friendship between two great originals in a small country that has not been quite the same ever since,” he explained. Pilou Asbæk and Nicolas Bro play the leads in Spies & Glistrup, which is produced by TineGrew Pfeiffer and Caroline Schlüter Bingestam for Alphaville Pictures, with support from the Danish Film Institute.