The Norwegians are coming! (and the Swedes too)


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Hollywood has absorbed a wave of directors from Britain, and welcomed genre auteurs from Spain and Mexico. But perhaps no foreign influx in recent years is coming as fast and as furious as the Scandinavian invasion.

Most filmgoers are familiar with the influence of the Millennium Trilogy -- the three Swedish-language films based on Stieg Larsson’s books, as well as David Fincher’s upcoming remake of the first movie, ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.’ Turns out it’s only the beginning. As we explore in a print article in Tuesday’s Times, a group of film types on both sides of the Atlantic are bringing actors, directors and, of course, remakes to these shores.


Monday night, we caught up with a monster mockumentary called ‘The Troll Hunter’ from a Norwegian up-and-comer named Andre Ovredal that’s essentially ‘The Blair Witch Project’ meets ‘Men in Black’ meets ‘The Host.’ (Really.) After a successful run at Fantastic Fest, the movie is set to come out in the U.S. next year. Universal owns remake rights, so don’t be surprised if that happens too.

Meanwhile, Hollywood powerhouses such as United Talent Agency have signed nearly the entire cast of movies such as the Swedish crime drama ‘Snabba Cash,’ as well as the film’s director, and deployed them in a host of big American movies. (The film’s director, Daniel Espinosa, is directing the Denzel Washington thriller ‘Safe House.’) ‘Snabba’ itself will be released stateside next year and is getting remade by Warner Bros. with Zac Efron playing the title character (an ordinary 20-something who leads a double life as a cocaine runner).

Meanwhile, John Ajvide Lindqvist, the author of the novel on which vampire hit ‘Let the Right One In’ was based (itself remade as the Chloe Moretz movie ‘Let Me In’), has another book; this one is about zombies and is called ‘Handling the Undead.’ The rights will soon be shopped to U.S. studios.

And when it comes to actors, there’s the queen of the Swedish invasion -- Noomi Rapace, the original girl with the dragon tattoo. She’s in ‘Sherlock Holmes 2’ and is being mentioned for seemingly every other big role in Hollywood.

All this is happening because Hollywood is looking for new places to mine talent -- but also because there’s a feeling that, if remakes are going to happen, they may as well be sourced from a place with some filmmaking chops. That Scandinavia has its wealth of English-speaking actors and directors -- and a dark sensibility that Americans are coming around to -- doesn’t hurt either. Bring a surfboard: This wave could be here for a while.

-- Steven Zeitchik



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