After five years, UK-Norwegian black comedy Wide Blue Yonder is set for release
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
23/04/2012 - UK director Robert Young’s black comedy, Wide Blue Yonder – an adaptation of Hugh Janes’s play that was staged in London’s West End with Eric Sykes in the lead – will be launched in Norway on May 25 five years after it was shot around Haugesund.
”Earlier I felt like an idiot when announcing the release, but this time it should be certain: we have a print of the film, and all legal problems are sorted out,” Europa Film A/S Managing Director Egil Ødegård told the local press. He signed for the film three years ago.
Problems began during the shooting in Haugesund, when the producers – Parkland Films’ John Cairns (UK) and Euromax Production’s Bjørg Veland (Norway) – were unable to pay their bills, including salary for cast and crew. They had raised only €2.4 million of the production’s €6.4m budget.
Norwegian producer Bjarne Hareide was brought in to clean up the financial mess, and principal photography was completed – but €1.6m local costs were still uncovered. After new investments the film was finally ready for a star-studded world premiere at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund 2010.
It took another two years to clarify the rights to the film, further complicated by the UK producer’s bankruptcy. But here comes the story of two retired sailors, living at an old folks’ home in Norway; one day, Wally finds Skipper dead, and he wants to bury him at sea, the old-fashioned way. However, it is not as easy as he thought, according to Wide Blue Yonder, which was scripted by the playwright, and stars UK actors actors Brian Cox, James Fox, and US screen legend Lauren Bacall (pictured), with Norwegian actors Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Kåre Conradi, Hege Schøyen and Sverre Anker Ousdal.