Coco Moodysson's graphic novel, We Are The Best, has just been adapted by her husband, director Lukas Moodysson, and released as a film this week. Following three young girls in 1980s Stockholm, the /movie shows their attempts to form a hardcore punk band, despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone around them that punk is dead. In a guest column for Q Moodysson explains how her own childhood experiences were the inspiration for both the graphic novel and the film.
I came up with the idea for We Are The Best a couple of years ago – I had been working on a shorter piece for a magazine about myself in the early 80s when I was 12, and when I completed that I wanted to focus more on that time of my life because I thought it was so interesting.
When you’re 12 or 13, you’re a child but you’re also somewhere in between, you’re a child yet you’re also a teenager. I thought that this is a time in your life that is so interesting because you’re curious but you’re not afraid and life hasn’t been too hard on you yet, at least it hadn’t been on me, which is why I wanted to tell this story. It was such a good time in my life and it was very important for me as a person – I remember so much of it and so it was quite a natural process writing my graphic novel. It is a story about friendship and music and so it is also about my life when I was young and learning to love punk music for the first time.
I knew it was going to be a good story and an important story for girls today. One day my husband, Lukas, asked me if he could make the graphic novel into a film and I just said "yes". It wasn’t complicated, and so, he did it! I trusted Lukas and I knew he would take care of my story.
The book is very much like the film in many ways - there are lots of experiences that are taken from my life. The smaller details were very important to me - the music especially. I was very happy with the results of the music scenes – I think it’s very important that you get the right feel. I wanted audiences to really feel how it feels when you go into the rehearsal room for the first time, put your amplifier on, and discover chords for the first time. This was so exciting for me when I was young.
I was so happy that the story turned out this way because I think it can inspire girls and people to play, especially girls today to be loud and ugly and scream and take control over their lives and to do something! Coco Moodysson
We Are The Best is in cinemas now.