‘Rotten With Money and Cocaine’

Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn doesn’t have much love for streaming services.

Speaking at the Venice Film Festival, per Variety, Refn slammed streaming services for being “overfunded and rotten with money and cocaine.”

He continued, “It’s incredibly sad and terrifying because art is essentially the only thing – besides, you know, sex, water and happiness — that makes us exist.”

In 2018, Refn told The Guardian that “cinema is dead.” He said at the time, “Film clings on to our feet as we move forward. The best way to move forward [is] to bury the past. That doesn’t mean you forget it.”

Speaking further on the matter at Venice, Refn said, “Even though I projected it was dead a few years ago, it has changed into something we have to fight for. Theatrical movies are part of what makes us human and experience creativity.”

Refn tied streaming services to the rising use of artificial intelligence in film and television, adding, “AI is not an artist. AI is a product.”

Nicolas Winding Refn is working on a new movie

Refn announced at Venice that he’s working on a new movie, which will mark his first feature film since 2016’s The Neon Demon. Prior to that, Refn made Only God Forgives in 2013 and Drive in 2011, both of which starred Ryan Gosling. He also directed Mads Mikkelsen in 2009’s Valhalla Rising and Tom Hardy in 2008’s Bronson.

Most recently, Refn created Copenhagen Cowboy, a Netflix series that was released in January 2023 starring Angela Bundalovic, Andreas Lykke Jørgensen, and Li li Zhang. He worked with Prime Video in 2019 on a series called Too Old to Die Young, which starred Miles Teller.

In 2018, Refn started his own website, byNWR, that allows viewers to stream certain curated titles for free. The service is run by site director Kimberly Willming.