IRL, the Swedish remake of Nic Balthazar’s feature film Ben X starring celebrity kids Valter Skarsgård and Alba August is to première in Stockholm. It’s the first remake for Balthazar’s 2007 hit film, while there are also talks for an American and German version.
Ben X features Ben who’s mildly autistic and therefore a sitting duck for the school bullies. Inspired by his mystery girl on the web and fuelled by his signature video game, he takes revenge. Greg Timmermans portrayed the title character in Nic Balthazar’s 2007 feature, supplemented by Laura Verlinden, Marijke Pinoy, Titus De Voogdt and Pol Goossen.
Based on Balthazar’s bestselling novel, Ben X became an indigenous success with over 315.000 admissions. The film received its world premiere at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival, where it was the first Flemish film to win both the Grand Prix des Amériques as well as the Audience Award. Represented internationally by Films Distribution, the film was also sold to around 50 territories worldwide.
Live action scenes of IRL (short for In Real Life) were mainly shot in and around Stockholm. Valter Skårsgard, Happy Jankell and Alba August portray the main roles in the film. Being the youngest son of Stellan Skårsgard (Nymphomaniac, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Valter stems from an acting family, also including Alexander ‘True Blood’ Skårsgard. Alba August is the daughter of Pernilla and Bille August, the latter being the director of films as Night Train to Lisbon and Goodbye Bafana. August won two Golden Palms in Cannes; the first in 1987 with Pelle The Conqueror, for which he also received and Oscar, and once more in 1992 with The Best Intentions. That film also took home Best Actress, being awarded to Pernilla August for her role as Anna Bergman. The Swedish leading lady gained worldwide attention for her interpretation of Shmi Skywalker in George Lucas’ Star Wars-saga.
Alex Haridi adapted the original screenplay of Ben X for its Swedish version, directed by Erik Leijonborg. Johan Palm signed for the photography; producers are Martin Söder and Tomas Backström of Eyeworks Film & TV Drama. Swedish distributor is AB SVensk Filmindustri.
Ben X, produced by Peter Bouckaert and Erwin Provoost for Eyeworks (previously MMG), received funding through the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF).