The Vikings are still coming, with Working Title attached to the €42 million epic
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
When two years ago Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (photo) announced his plans to make a €42 million Viking epic (read the article), they were somehow derailed by rumours that Australian actor-director Mel Gibson would do the same, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead.
Now Viking is back on track - Gibson's feature has not materialised, and UK production unit, Working Title Films, is developing the project which is set to become the largest undertaking in the country's film history, to shoot mainly in Iceland in two years.
Scripted with Icelandic writer Ólafur Egilsson (who also collaborated on Kormákur's 2005 Hollywood ticket, A Little Trip to Heaven), "the action driven film, absolutely huge in scope" is based on the Icelandic sagas, focussing on Vikings bringing Irish slaves to Iceland.
While preparing the Norse adventure, Kormákur has teamed up with Icelandic award-winning set designer Karl Júliússon (currently filming Kon-Tiki - read the article) and Irish costume designer Consolata Boyle (The Queen [+see also:
interview: Andy Harries
interview: Stephen Frears
film profile]). His own Blueeyes Productions will co-produce the film.
"The Viking age is a very intriguing period to deal with, both regarding national character and national heritage," explained Kormákur, who recently - with Egilsson - adapted and directed Halldor Laxness' novel Gerpla in Reykjavik, later to tour Norway.
In the meantime he has finished directing the American shoot for Contraband, a Working Title Films-Universal Pictures thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale (and a remake of Reykjavik-Rotterdam [+see also:
film profile], his 2008 starrer).
His next local drama, The Deep, which Blueeyes filmed last summer with Norway's Filmhuset, is currently in post. A survival drama with Ólafur Darri Ólafsson in the lead, co-written with Jón Atli Jónason, it follows a young fisherman's five-hour swim in icy waters.
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