‘Spermageddon’ Directors Tommy Wirkola, Rasmus Sivertsen Debut Clip: ‘It’s ‘Inside Out’ for Adults; How the Hell Did We Get This Made?!’ (EXCLUSIVE)

As Annecy premiere “Spermageddon” continues to rack up sales, even its makers are surprised they got away with its risqué subject matter.

“When we finally got to make it, there were times when I was looking at the screen, thinking: ‘How the hell did we get this movie made?!’” said Tommy Wirkola, who co-directed with Rasmus A. Sivertsen.

More from Variety

“We made it in Europe – that’s how. Years ago, I pitched it in Hollywood and it never went anywhere. When it comes to sex, it’s more delicate over there.”

In the film – sold by Charades and debuting an exclusive clip with Variety – two teenagers have sex for the very first time, unaware the sperm cells are readying for their perilous journey. But despite some suggestive content, “Spermageddon” is not just for grownups.

“We would say it’s like ‘Inside Out’ for adults, but we didn’t want it to be R-rated – we wanted it to be for teenagers. You see what happens to your brain and your body when you fall in love or feel passion,” observed Sivertsen.

Rasmus A. Sivertsen
Rasmus A. Sivertsen

“It’s cute, it’s awkward. I used to listen to this radio show where people asked the host about sex. It was surprising how little they knew sometimes. We wanted to have this innocence but also reflect the world where you have access to all sorts of sexual imagery and pornography,” added Wirkola.

“I remember watching [Albert Barillé’s] ‘Once Upon a Time… Life.’ It was very matter-of-fact: nothing was disgusting or scary. We tried to do the same. The only note we got from our distributors was: ‘Don’t show any nipples.’ Which was… Absurd.”

For Wirkola, best known for Nazi zombie attacks in “Dead Snow” and for Santa Claus fighting mercenaries in “Violent Night,” animation was unfamiliar ground.

“I brought ‘Spermageddon’ to the producers at 74 Entertainment, and they suggested Rasmus, who obviously made amazing animated films. I jumped at the chance because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” he laughed.

Tommy Wirkola
Tommy Wirkola

“Me coming from family-friendly movies and Tommy making films for a grownup audience, it made this collaboration interesting. Also, we are both interested in humor. We had some entertaining discussions,” added Sivertsen, also behind “Captain Sabertooth” and “Just Super.”

“Funnily enough, we never talked about whether we can make it more shocking. We talked about whether we could make it sweeter and more relatable. We wanted to demystify sex and having sex for the first time. It’s normal for it to feel awkward.”

Still, what happens inside of the body is a whole different ball game, with every sperm cell trying its best to succeed.

“We decided to approach the world of humans in a more realistic way – even the ‘acting’ is toned down. Inside of the body, we go crazy. It’s almost a parody of our own reality, where everyone is fighting to be the best and the fastest,” said Sivertsen.

“It was important for people to be able to tell [the sperm cells] apart. At first, we tried to be subtle. Then we just went for it, big time,” added Wirkola. The team also decided to add some outrageous musical numbers.

“With my co-writers Geir Vegar Hoel and Jesper Sundnes, we are big ‘South Park’ fans. I never had a desire to make a musical; it wasn’t in my movie DNA, but then it started to make a lot of sense. Now, these are my favorite moments.”

Despite humor and storylines that push limits, “Spermageddon” also makes safe sex and pro-choice arguments.

“When we wrote the script, it wasn’t that controversial. Then it suddenly became a ‘thing,’ not just in the US but also in many places in Europe. In Norway, no one will even blink,” noted Wirkola.

“I am proud of it, and I am proud of that ending and the fact that despite it being silly, we are also saying something important. It’s not just fun and games: this feels real for these characters.”

“Something I always like to play with is tone, and it feels like so many things at once. It’s pushing the limits, and it has a very big heart. If I were a teenager again, I would love to sneak into the screening and laugh my ass off. We wanted to make something that can’t be put in just one box.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.