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PRODUCTION Denmark

€13 million Viking action adventure The Long Ships sets sail for Zentropa and Nordisk

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- Danish producer and Zentropa Entertainments chief Peter Aalbæk Jensen announced 'the so-far most ambitious Viking project in the Nordic countries'

€13 million Viking action adventure The Long Ships sets sail for Zentropa and Nordisk

“I just wanted to write a story that people would enjoy reading, such as The Three Musketeers or The Odyssey,” said Swedish author Frans G. Bengtsson, when asked about The Long Ships (or Red Orm = Serpent), the adventure novel he published in two parts 1941-1945, and which has been translated into more than 24 languages.

“Many have tried – we will do it!” said Danish producer and managing director of Zentropa Entertainments Peter Aalbæk Jensen in Cannes, when announcing and Zentropa will join forces with Danish major, Nordisk Film, to adapt the book for “the so far most ambitious Viking project in the Nordic countries”. The budget for the action adventure could be as much as €13 million, he added.

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Set in the late 10th century, describing the political situation in Europe in the later Viking age, and largely based on the Icelandic sagas, the novel follows the adventures of the native Scanian called Red for his head and his temper. One of the most heroic figures of the period, he embarks on a journey that ends up changing the course of history.

UK director Jack Cardiff’s British-Yugoslav The Longest Ships (1964), with Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier and Russ Tamblyn, was a very loose adaptation; a Swedish version to be directed by Hans Alfredson starring Stellan Skarsgård was dropped for financial reasons in the 1980s; plans for another Swedish film were published in 2011, but never took off.

While discussing with scriptwriters and directors, Aalbæk Jensen, Zentropa producer Sisse Graum Jørgensen (In A Better World [+see also:
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), The Hunt, The Salvation and Nordisk Film producer Lone Korslund (The Millennium Trilogy, Headhunters [+see also:
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), the Easy Money [+see also:
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trilogy and Kon-Tiki [+see also:
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) have started packaging The Long Ships, which will sail in both western and eastern Europe. Filming is due to start in 2015.

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