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Norway’s national hero, The Ash Lad, set to get the big-screen treatment


- Mikkel Brænne Sandemose’s €5.8 million Norwegian folk fairy tale will in part be shot abroad

Norway’s national hero, The Ash Lad, set to get the big-screen treatment
Actor Vebjørn Enger (© Terje Bendiksby/Scanpix)

Norwegian actor Vebjørn Enger, who starred in Arild Andresen’s The Orheim Company [+see also:
film profile
– the winner of the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg International Film Festival in 2012 – has landed the lead role as Espen Ash Lad, Norway’s national hero, in Mikkel Brænne Sandemose’s €5.8 million The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King (read the news).

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Based on the folk fairy tales by 19th-century Norwegian authors Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, Norway’s Maipo Film and producer Synnøve Hørsdal will start principal photography for the adventure story next week (18 April); the cast also comprises Eli Harboem as the princess, Synnøve Macody Lund as the queen, Gard B Eidsvold as the king and Thorbjørn Harr as the Ash Lad’s father. 

“Finally, the Ash Lad will again become a hero for the whole family,” said Sandemose, who has promised a film full of humour, adventure, excitement and spectacular action scenes. After his 2010 debut, the horror-drama Cold Prey III, he directed the action-adventure Ragnarok [+see also:
film profile
(2013), which won two Amandas – Norway’s national film prize – including the Audience Award.

The Ash Lad fairy-tale character has been adapted for film before, for example by Norwegian director Ivo Caprino in 1960; this time, Aleksander Kirkwood Brown and Espen Enger’s screenplay is set between the 1700s and the 1850s. “The realism of the time appears quite adventurous to us now, and it will be a fantastic backdrop to the story we are telling,” according to Sandemose. “At a time when cinema audiences are increasingly watching international adventure heroes, I see it as a privilege to breathe life into one of our own,” he told the local press. He will film some of The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King in the Czech Republic, where €0.6 million of the budget has been raised (other sources of financing include the €1.8 million of production funding from the Norwegian Film Institute).


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