Erik Poppe to direct film about the Norwegian terrorist attack

Norwegian director Erik Poppe is set to direct a feature film about the 2011 Norwegian terrorist attacks.

Poppe started his career as a war photographer and has since gone on to make some of Norway’s most contemporary and successful films, including Hawaii, Oslo and A Thousand Times Good Night. Last year, he released The King’s Choice, an almost documentary-like war drama about the days surrounding the occupation of Norway in the Second World War.

For his new film, he will also turn to a key point in Norwegian history where on the 22nd of July 2011, far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a van in Oslo killing eight people, then killed sixty-nine people who were at a summer camp on the island of Utøya.

Poppe has spent two years researching and developing the story, which will be based on in-depth interviews he conducted with the survivors.

Poppe mentions in an interview with NRK that he has felt like all the media attention around the attacks has been on Breivik and the prison conditions (Breivik has been trying to sue the Norwegian government for violating his human rights while in prison). Poppe hopes to turn the attention on the victims and the survivors and will tell the story from their perspective. In order to keep the attention on those involved, he will only use unknown actors and will not base any character on an actual person.

The film explores the twelve minutes before the bomb goes off and the seventy-two minutes of attacks on Utøya.

Erik Poppe will direct the film, while Stone Resin and Finn Gjerdrum are producing. Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig wrote the script. They have also written the script for the TV series Acquitted that aired on TV2.

At the moment there are a few projects in the works about the attacks. British director Paul Greengrass has plans for a film based on the book ‘One of Us’ by Åsne Seierstad, and NRK is producing a six-part drama titled 22 July, which will focus on those who were indirectly affected by the day.


You can read our interview with Erik Poppe about The King’s Choice here. 

Image: Paradox Production

Source: NRK

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.