Debunking Bodybuilder Stereotypes

The mind and muscle behind 'Teddy Bear' reinvent the meathead stereotype attached to bodybuilders.

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear, a Danish movie about a bodybuilder's journey to move on from his smothering mother to a relationship with a woman who might be able to give him a real life, wants to change the meathead sterotype the public has tacked onto bodybuilders.

Real-life professional bodybuilder Kim Kold plays Dennis Peterson, and does a fine job of playing a lonely, thoughtful regular Joe trapped inside a giant muscular body. Dennis works as a security guard and lives with his domineering mother near Copenhagen. In an early scene in the movie, Dennis returns home from an awkward date but lies to his mother (Elsebeth Steentoft) and says he was at a movie. Though the tiny white-haired woman is dwarfed by her son, it is Dennis who cowers from her.

After seeing his wimpy uncle score a charming bride from Thailand, Dennis seeks advice on how to find one of his own. After telling his mother that he is off to Germany for a bodybuilding contest, he follows his uncle's counsel and heads to Pattaya City in Thailand to meet a bald, flabby American (David Winters)—the epitome of a dirty old man—in a bar. The shy bodybuilder is not enamored by the prostitutes Scott introduces to him, and, in one scene, Dennis recognizes the bar for what it really is—a refuge for old and desperate men who have to pay for the company of young women.

It is only when he goes to work out in a local Thai gym that he meets Toi (Lamaiporn Hougaard), who offers him the chance of a real relationship. 

Director Mads Matthiesen and Kold started work together on a 2008 short film called Dennis, which features the same character, and Matthiesen told Muscle & Fitness that finding Kold was crucial for both projects.

“I needed to find a bodybuilder for the main part. I needed the look and the muscles. In DenMark The bodybuilder community is very small, so I didn’t know if I could find a bodybuilder that could act and therefore ultimately I didn’t know if I could do the film,” he said. “When [Kold] came for the first casting session I was very impressed by his talent and I knew that I had found someone very special. Kim had a natural acting talent. I would not have done Teddy Bear if Kim wouldn’t or couldn’t do it.”


NEXT: Kold talks about his experience in the film >>

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