There is Nothin Like Dane

Carsten Norgaard has appeared—often as sinister Germans and intense Russians—in a variety of movies you haven't seen. He's probably still most recognized for his role in 1994's The Mighty Ducks 2 . . . or perhaps you saw him in the ill-fated Gods and Generals? No? Well, if you haven't heard of this modest, hard-working Danish actor yet, odds are you will soon; for a while now, Hollywood's been desperately seeking the next big action hero (the Rock and Vin Diesel just don't seem to be working out), and if all goes well, Norgaard's role as Quinn in Alien vs. Predator could make him a star. Will Norgaard be the next Schwarzenegger? Judging by the following interview, I already like him better than the old one.

OC Weekly:Alien vs. Predator is definitely the biggest film you've been in so far. Is this the first time you've had to do a lot of press stuff?Carsten Norgaard: No, I've done junkets and things before for Mighty Ducks 2 and some for Gods and Generals. Is there anyAlien vs. Predator question you're already sick of being asked? Are there any stories you're sick of telling?

No! Not at all. So far, this has been really cool. [Director Paul Anderson] has been a fan of both franchises since he was a kid, and it was his dream to make this movie. He really put his heart into this, and I don't think fans of either franchise will be disappointed. So it's still very exciting to talk about this movie to people. Ask me again next week, maybe, after I've done more press. Then maybe I'll have a better answer for you.

Is this the first movie you've done with a lot of merchandising attached? Are they going to make an action figure of you, or are you going to be in coloring books or anything?

I don't know; I think they're mainly focusing those things on the monsters. I think I signed some things about that, but it was way back in October. I really don't remember.

I've read that the character you play in this film is based on a real person.

Well, Quinn is an oil driller, a very heroic, larger-than-life guy, and I wanted to do research and base him on someone real, and of course there aren't many oil drillers that you know. So I based him on this guy called Red Adair. He's kind of a daredevil firefighter. He capped more than 100 burning oil fields at the end of the first Gulf War, after the Iraqis set them on fire. John Wayne played him in a movie called Hellfighters.

If John Wayne played him in a movie, he must not be a young man.

Oh, no, he's probably really getting up there. But nobody else in the world does what he does–he really has that hero feel. And I wanted that for Quinn. I saw Quinn as somebody firm but fair, very dedicated to the safety of his men. And Red Adair definitely has that quality.

Did you ever meet him?

No. It was all just research.

I understand that the Predator broke your rib; you got hurt filming a fight sequence.

[Chuckles] Well, acting can be a serious business, you know. Yeah, we were filming this big fight, and we were throwing each other around, and I felt this impact in my side–it really hurt. We took a 15-minute break, and after that, we had to film something where I got hit in the chest, and every time we did it, I had to go off by myself, the tears were flying from my eyes. Unbelievable pain. But we thought it was just from the impact from before, so I worked until 5 a.m., and then I went home and took some painkillers. I woke up the next afternoon and went back to work, and we filmed the fight until 5 a.m. again. When we were done, the pain was just too much, so I went to the hospital, and they did X-rays and said there was a break.

If somebody broke my rib, even if I knew it was an accident, I couldn't help but be kind of angry at them. Were you angry at the guy in the Predator suit?

Not at all. We were shooting in fairly extreme conditions, in the middle of the night, in a blizzard, with the adrenalin and the fear going on, and he couldn't see very well in the costume. I couldn't blame him at all.

Have you healed okay? Do you get sore when it's cold or anything?

I'm fine now, but I'll tell you, for five or six weeks, it was hurting constantly; every time you sneeze or cough or do any of these everyday things, it's awful.

I know you've been sworn to secrecy, and you can't tell me if the Alien beats the Predator or any of that. But I was wondering: What would happen to you if you did happen to let any of that stuff slip?

[Long pause] Well . . . I guess you just don't let that happen.

Okay. So, where do you go from here? Do you want to do more action movies, comedies, dramas or what?

Well, I've never done anything like this, and it's been very fun. A couple of years ago, I co-produced a movie called The Gristle; it was a thriller with a lot to say about racial identity in America. I'd like to do something like that again, I think. Really, I'm just happy to do a good day's work.


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