Five Things You Didn’t Know About Nicolas Winding Refn

Few jobs require as much work, foresight, and creativity as directing films. As such, people often assume that successful directors are somehow infallible. The amount of talent that it takes to thrive in a business as competitive as the entertainment industry cannot be overstated. However, this does not mean that these directors never experience failure. A perfect example is Nicolas Refn, the iconic Danish director.

Refn is best known for his work on Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and Drive. He also created the highly successful Pusher series. He is set to direct the upcoming Amazon series Too Old to Die Young. For those who want to learn a little more about who he is as a person, here are five of the most interesting facts about Nicolas Winding Refn.

5. His career hasn’t been perfect 

While Refn has created some incredible films, earned numerous awards, and forged a legacy as a talented filmmaker, he has also had some failures. For example, despite his obvious natural talent, he was not a great student. Refn was kicked out of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts because he had an episode and ended up smashing a table. Later, he would create a film company that has since gone out of business. Despite his many successes, he has experienced several setbacks.

4. He enjoys working with his wife 

Many people know that mixing one’s work and personal lives can be a recipe for disaster. For some, however, there can be nothing as exciting as working together with a loved one. Such is the case for Refn, who has worked with his wife Liv Corfixen numerous times. The two collaborated on Bleeder and Fear X. Interestingly, they were also the subject of a documentary following Refn’s career titled Gambler.

3. He hasn’t always been an English-language director 

Despite experiencing great success with films like Drive, fans should know that Refn’s career hasn’t always focused on English films. Although he was raised in New York, Refn moved back to Denmark in his teen years. For this reason, his career did not involve the English language for many years. In fact, he did not make an English-language film until 2003. His first English film was Fear X.

2. He does not have a driver’s license 

One of the most unexpected aspects of Refn’s life is that he does not have a driver’s license. It is not for a lack of trying, either; Refn has failed his driving test a grand total of eight times. What makes this so interesting is the fact that one of Refn’s most critically and commercially successful films is Drive. The film, which features some incredible driving scenes, won Refn numerous awards for his directing.

1. He is dyslexic 

While his apparent lack of driving ability may be an inconvenience, it is likely not a serious hurdle for Refn’s career. However, he has managed to overcome some issues that would likely have prevented others from achieving the success he has seen. One of the most notable is the fact that Refn is dyslexic. The talented director actually did not even learn to read until he was thirteen years old.


Nicolas Winding Refn is a highly talented director who has created some critically-acclaimed movies. However, he has experienced numerous challenges and failures in his life. From dealing with dyslexia to his bankrupt film company, Refn’s career has been anything but perfect. What is truly inspiring is how he has dealt with these issues to form an incredible career and create wonderful films.

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