- Good Boy is a love-story-turned-thriller film that mixes genres and takes inspiration from movies like Audition and Gone Girl.
- Director Viljar Bøe wanted to create a film that was unsettling and went under the audience’s skin, making it a cautionary tale and a little nasty.
- The actors, Gard Løkke and Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen, brought empathy and a sense of humanity to their characters, exploring the themes of love and open-mindedness in the film.
Good Boy seems to begin as a standard love story before suddenly turning into a strange and at times terrifying thriller. In the movie, Sigrid is searching for love when she meets Christian a wealthy and charming heir through a dating app. Everything is going well until she goes to his home and meets Frank, a man who dresses in a dog costume and acts as Christian’s pet dog.
This original thriller is helmed by Viljar Bøe who pulled double duty as writer and director. Good Boy stars Gard Løkke, Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen, and Amalie Willoch Njaastad. Nicolai Narvesen Lied and Darren Gaskell are executive producers with Marie Waade Grønning, Karl Oskar Åsli, and Ane Marie Sletten also serving as producers on the movie. Good Boy first premiered at Beyond Fest 2022 and is distributed by Saban Films.
Screen Rant spoke with director Viljar Bøe along with stars Gard Løkke and Katrine Lovise Øpstad about their new movie Good Boy. Bøe explained the inspiration for the original thriller, the filming process, and the dog costume. Løkke shared why it was important to tap into the humanity of his character, while Øpstad Fredriksen touched on why she believes her character stays in this strange situation.
Viljar Bøe, Gard Løkke & Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen Talk Good Boy
Screen Rant: Viljar, I love this film. It reminded me so much of The Audition and 50 Shades of Grey. Frank even reminded me a little bit of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast when you first meet him, because you kind of get this transformation afterward. Where did the inspiration when crafting this film come about?
Viljar Bøe: You said it. I think all those three are definitely huge inspirations especially Audition and 50 Shades of Grey. We’re kind of like a mix between those two. When they call for inspiration for the concept, I’m not really sure how it started. I for several years just thought it was fun imagery, a person in a dog costume.
Especially movies like Audition and Gone Girl kind of inspired me to make something that kind of twisted with genres and mixed genres. Because a human in a dog costume can be so many things, it can be scary, it can be funny. And I thought it would be fun if what if it was all those things in one movie. So that was kind of what I was going for.
Gard, when you first read the script for this film, what attracted you to the role of Christian?
Gard Løkke: What attracted me the most, for the first part was that it was a challenge. Personally, as an actor, I always look for challenges. And something so far away from me personally, that I can use my time to explore the worldview of these characters, or this character, Christian, which is not the same class as me. Well, I think, apart from the way I look, I think I’m very different. I found it intriguing and thought provoking, from my own prejudices. And I really enjoyed that Viljar dares to make a movie that’s both not holding back, could perhaps be controversial, and makes people talk.
Katrine, this is your first film. When you first read the script what were some of your first thoughts going through your head?
Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen: Well, the first meeting with this film was actually when I did the audition. I thought it was a romantic comedy because I got one of the earlier scenes.
When I got through to the second round, and got to read the whole script, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it develops into something else. And I think that was a very nice thing to see. It intrigued me a lot to see that character can experience so many different situations in one film and it was nice having a Viljar trusting me with this part. And also Gard and Viljar helping me out a lot.
I learned a lot in this experience as well, but it I think I liked Sigrid a lot as a character also because she’s all about loving connections. She is trying to figure out what is life and being open minded or I think she also portrays what the audience will see when watching the film as well.
Viljar, this film is almost a cautionary tale when it comes to online dating, but it could also be an allegory for being confined in relationships. Were any of those your intention?
Viljar Bøe: Yeah, so it is definitely in some way supposed to be… I wanted to make a film that was kind of out of the ordinary. I guess, a film that’s a little nasty. A lot of people have called the film nasty and I think that’s a great compliment. I wanted to make something that kind of went under your skin, and yet perhaps a cautionary tale definitely.
I also want to talk about the dog costume because it has to be tremendously uncomfortable for the performer of Frank.
Viljar Bøe: When it comes to the costume we had the two actors who played the dog. We had Nikolai who kind of is, not to give too much away, but he plays more the person. We only had him for three days. So for the rest of the scenes, where it was just the dog with the mask and everything we had Marie, who was the producer and costume designer of the film. I thought it was important there, yeah, it’s very uncomfortable being in that costume.
And very dehumanizing. It doesn’t take long before we kind of forget that there’s a human in there. So kind of method because we were kind of experiencing what perhaps Sigrid was experiencing in the film. Where we kind of accept that it is a dog and its a very weird thing. But we tried to make sure that the actor who was in the dog costume wasn’t in the dog costume for too long stretches of time, because being on all fours, being in this costume, and being treated like a dog it’s uncomfortable. It’s very uncomfortable.
Gard, you do such a tremendous job in the role of Christian. Can you talk to me about your approach to him, and how that kind of shifts in the third act?
Gard Løkke: Yeah, I think it’s important. Me and Viljar talked a lot about this, I wanted to bring a lot of sympathy as the character into the character, and that the character himself doesn’t change necessarily. He looks for his own desires all the way through. Well, he’s thoughtful. He’s trying as hard as he can really to the extreme to give people what they want, to be liked. To understand the world.
I think he has a different worldview, maybe because of the money where you can create your own world without having to interact with the real world and just having this desire to be loved. As I feel all people do, and maybe his way of loving is different. It is different. You will see.
Katrine, I think your character is in love with the idea of being in love more than anything else. Why do you think she stays in that situation so long and agrees to go on that cabin trip with Christian?
Katrine Lovise Øpstad: I think it’s very normal in a bizarre way that people want other peoples to be good and we want to believe in humans. I think we all do mistakes of course, but I think it’s also about Sigrid’s history. She comes from a family where the parents are divorced and she doesn’t have any strong connections. So finding that when she feels safe with Christian even though this weird situation with Frank is going on. I think she’s holding on to where she feels safe and where she can kind of try to explore who she is.
Viljar, this film is shot very naturally. The tone of it is consistent, even though the characters and situations shift. Can you talk to me about shooting this film?
Viljar Bøe: Yeah, so you’re completely right. The intention was that, of course, the script and the situations in the film changes, but I wanted the look of the film and the style to be the same all throughout as to not impose too many styles into the audience’s minds. So they could make up their own minds about these situations. So, we did go for a more naturalistic handheld style. Maybe you could say dogma or documentarian style, because it is kind of an unbelievable story. So, I wanted to also ground it with the more natural style. So it was more believable for the audiences.
Gard and Katrine, what did you want to bring to your role that wasn’t necessarily on the page?
Katrine Lovise Øpstad: I think that for my characters at least, I wanted Sigrid to be liked and not feel dumb. Because it’s easy that she is just a blonde girl ending up in situations where she’s not supposed to go, but feeling that the audience really understand why she wants to try out to feel that connection with the Christian. And giving her different perspectives and a voice. And I really also liked her, exploring her energy as an opposite to Christian with her bubbly style. So that was very fun.
Gard Løkke: Yeah, to hop on that. The energy shifts, and just bringing a lot of empathy to the character was important. That was the the conversations me and Viljar had at the start. And it took a long time to find the empathy for the character without giving too much away. Which was what I think was the most important thing that I brought into the role, a sense of being human, just like anybody else.
When your characters first meet on that Tinder date, you do feel that you’re just an awkward guy looking for companionship. How much research did you do into puppy play to prepare for the film in your case, Viljar?
Viljar Bøe: I have to be honest. For the most part when I started the script, I actually didn’t know what pupy play was. I’m not really sure when I found out about it. I obviously, I kind of assumed that it was a thing. If you can imagine it, it probably exists in the world. I think I had made a couple of drafts already of the script before that puppy play thing got introduced, but when I found out about it, it was a great thing, because that made it easier for Sigrid to accept this thing.
Because if it is a real thing then it’s much easier to accept. So that’s why I added it into the script. There was some research done about just looking at what it was, but mostly, I think, essentially what Frank and Christian [are] doing is technically not puppy play. It’s something very specific between those two people and that situation.
Gard and Katrine, what did Viljar’s directing style add to the project?
Katrine Lovise Øpstad: For me, it was very nice. Well, the first part of getting into this film was also that me and Grad [were] able to read through the script with Voljar and have comments, getting in ideas, and exploring it firstly, just from the script. On the floor, it was very naturalistic. It was very trusting and trying to build up a safe space for me and Gard to explore and be creative. He was following our work and of course, he gave feedback and took care of us. It felt really, really safe and nice to work with him.
Gard Løkke: Absolutely. I think Viljar had a vision. We had talks in the evening where we went through the scenes, and we talked about it. We had a really nice and open conversation and it was a lot of freedom within the boundaries of the role and the movie. He’s a really interesting guy and open minded. He loves to explore the stories that he tells so a really, really fun experience.
About Good Boy
Christian – a millionaire heir, meets Sigrid – a young student, on a dating app. They hit it off quickly, but there’s only one problem: Christian lives with Frank, a man who dresses up and constantly acts like a dog.
Good Boy is available in select theaters as well as on digital and On Demand now.
Source: Screen Rant Plus