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"There are those who miss being in-depth with the world," explains Nikolaj Lie Kaas in an interview with Politiken on April 29th, 2001, "but for me superficiality means a lot - that's where I get my drive." This is an interesting comment from an actor, whose acting always strikes a deeply personal cord. While other actors strive to close in on life, Kaas - who experienced tragic loss at an early age - seems eager to escape the eye of the storm. It is a disturbing quality that etches his characters in the audience's mind.Kaas graduated from the National Theater School in Denmark in 1998. He first appeared on screen in Søren Kragh-Jacobsen's film Drengene fra Sankt Petri (1991) (The Boys from Sct. Petri) in 1991 as Otto, the rebel son of a traitor. The development of the character illustrates the growth of moral resistance into full-fledged violent revolt. This somber and masterfully-acted part earned Kaas two Danish film prizes, a Robert and a Bodil.Today Kaas imbues his adult characters with the unsentimental innocence and vulnerability of a child and audiences respond intuitively. Jeppe in Lars von Trier's Les idiots (1998) takes on true love, only to lose it. The actor received another Bodil for this portrayal. Kaas makes a narrow escape from type-casting by adding original qualities to the individual characters. He has also done self-parody as a happy-go-easy cook, working for a mafia-like boss in the midst of a murderous streak in I Kina spiser de hunde (1999) (In China They Eat Dogs) and as a helpless man in the throes of love in Blinkende lygter (2000) (Blinking Lights).After imbuing smaller parts with larger-than-life performances, Kaas landed another main part in Et rigtigt menneske (2001) as Ahmed, the aborted son (!) of a working couple. His would-be little sister is the emotionally neglected Lisa. When she dies, Ahmed comes to life and tries to become a real human being. Kaas delivers another masterful performance in this movie, inspired by the tragic tale of Casper Hauser.

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