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Nords Abroad: Who’s doing what and where in 2018

As Nordic film and television continues to dominate, major stars are heading abroad for new projects. Here’s a quick summary of who’s doing what and where. Mark your calendars, there are some good films coming in 2018!

Keep an eye on Cinema Scandinavia between Christmas and New Years as we’ll be bringing you many lists about the most exciting films and TV series in 2018!

Denmark

  • Paprika Steen, who this year we saw in the television series Below the Surface, has been cast in The X-Gene Project, which also stars Lars Mikkelsen.
  • Director Tobias Lindholm directed some episodes of the new Netflix series Mindhunter this year and is currently working on three different American productions, all of which still in development.
  • Nikolaj Arcel, famous for A Royal Affair, directed the disappointing The Dark Tower based on a novel by Stephen King, and is still working in the US on a number of projects still in development. His ‘most confirmed’ of them all is a biography about Robert F. Kennedy, starring Matt Damon. He is also writing the new Department Q film, Journal 64.
  • Susanne Bier is directing a US film called Bird Box. This sci-fi thriller stars Sandra Bullock and follows a woman and a pair of children who are blindfolded and make their way through a post-apocalyptic setting along a river. The film is currently in production.
  • Trine Dyrholm has been cast in the German series Brecht as well as the German horror film Endzeit, the latter of which is currently in production.
  • Jesper Christensen has been cast in AST – A Sexual Thriller.

  • Thomas Vinterberg is directing the European film Kursk.The film follows the 2000 K-141 Kursk submarine disaster and the governmental negligence that followed. As the sailors fight for survival, their families desperately battle political obstacles and impossible odds to save them. It features Scandinavian actors Max von Sydow, Michael Nyqvist and Gustaf Hammarsten (Midnight Sun), among others.
  • Mia Jexen is in the British film A Rose in Winter. Not much is known about the plot, but it will be released next year.

Kim Bodnia in ‘The Violin Player’

  • Kim Bodnia is in the Finnish film The Violin Player as well as the US mini-series Killing Eve, which is about a security operative hunts for an assassin and is based on the Villanele novellas by Luke Jennings.
  • Nikolaj Lie Kaas is in the US series Britannia, which is set in 43AD and follows the Roman Imperial Army, who are determined to crush Britannia.
  • The Bridge’s Thure Lindhardt is in the British film The Vicar’s Wife, which is about
    a shy vicar who has never married and finally meets his match in feisty Deirdre, but with a string of vicars’ wives being murdered as of late, the vicar may be up against more than he’s bargained for.
  • Sidse Babett Knudsen is in the British horror film In Fabric. The film is a haunting ghost story set against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person, with devastating consequences. In Fabric is currently in post-production and will be released some time in 2018. She also stars in the French film Les Traducteursthough it has been in pre-production since 2016.
  • Nicolas Winding Refn is a busy man at the moment. He is directing his new television series Too Old to Die Young. It explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles by following characters’ existential journeys from being killers to becoming samurais in the City of Angels. He is also directing The Avenging Silence, an action thriller set in Asia, but not much is known about it. He is also directing Les Italiens, which tells the events of an Italian-french police squad that operates in Quai del Orfevres’s department in Paris.
  • Pilou Asbaek is in the US film Overlord; it is the story of two American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day and is currently in post-production with an expected release date set for the 26th of October 2018. He will also most likely be in the next season of Game of Thrones, though those details are always kept secret.  
  • Claes Bang has been cast in The Girl in the Spiders Web, the US sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials. The Girl in the Spiders Web will be released on the 19th of October 2018. The Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason, who is known for his leading role in Borg/McEnroe, has been cast as Michael Blomkvist. Lisbeth Salander will be played by Claire Foy.
  • Nikolaj Coster Waldau is in the Canadian film The Unusual Shop on Persistence Street, which is currently in development. In the near future, a man uses banned technology to quickly learn the guitar and suffers a life-altering side effect. He will also star in the final season of Game of Thrones.

Mads Mikkelsen in ARCTIC

  • While Mads Mikkelsen has found international fame, his films seem almost Nordic in theme. First is Arctic, which follows a man stranded in the Arctic, who is finally about to receive his long awaited rescue. However, after a tragic accident, his opportunity is lost and he must then decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his camp or embark on a deadly trek through the unknown for potential salvation. He also stars in Polar, where a master assassin comes out of retirement to contend with a group of young hit men. Polar is currently in pre-production.
  • Lone Scherfig is directing a Danish-made American film called Secrets From the Russian Tea Room, which is currently in pre-production. Secrets from the Russian Tea Room tells the story of four people in New York City through the worst crises of their lives, the year they gradually become each other’s closest allies and forever change each other’s lives through compassion, kindness and love. The film juxtaposes some of New York City’s most luxurious and iconic locations with the bottom of American society.

Søren Malling in REDBAD

  • Søren Malling has been cast in a Dutch film called Redbad, which is set during the year 754 A.D. The monk Bonifatius was killed in a Dutch town called Dokkum, and according to history this was done by barbaric warriors. But was he indeed murdered in cold blood, or is that just the Christian take on the story? Redbad will be released in the Netherlands in June 2018. He is also cast in the British film Keepers, made by Kristoffer Nyholm and co-starring Iceland’s Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.
  • Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen (Men & Chicken) is working on The Dark Tower television series alongside Nikolaj Arcel.
  • Mikkel Boe Følsgaard is working on Hamlet Revenant, a Danish/French/German take on the classic story.

Finland

  • Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo is finding huge international success with his work in the Star Wars franchise. He is currently acting in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story as none other than Chewbacca.

Peter Franzen in Ashes in the Snow

  • Peter Franzén has been cast in the U.S film Ashes in the SnowIn 1941, an aspiring artist and her family are deported to Siberia amidst Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region. In a seemingly hopeless place, love is the only means of survival. It will be released some time in 2018.
  • Jasper Pääkkönen has been cast in the Spike Lee film Black Klansman. The film follows Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, who successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter. This Spike Lee-directed film will be released some time in 2018.
  • Laura Birn has been cast in a Mexican film called Bayoneta. Not much is known about it, but it is currently in post-production.
  • Finnish director Antti Jokinen is developing an American film called Clear Winter Noon. It will be about the ex-con Saul who attempts to make restitution for the murder he committed thirty years ago but discovers that his crime casts too long a shadow for him ever to escape it.

  • Mika Kaurismäki is directing the German film Valentina, Her Piano and the Tangos. This film is the story of a female concert pianist passionate for tango music, who is challenged to face the tough destiny of a tragedy. It is currently in pre-production.
  • Dome Karukoski, whose Tom of Finland has been a big hit of 2017, is now having some international attention. He is directing the biography Tolkien. J.R.R. Tolkien, a love lorn soldier, draws from an epic life on his return from the Great War to create one of the greatest works of literature in “The Lord of the Rings”. Tolkien has just begun the post-production stage, and no release date has been announced. He is also directing The Starling, which stars Keanu Reeves and Isla Fisher. A man grieves over the death of his baby daughter while trying to hold on to his strained relationship with his suicidal wife. The Starling is in pre-production.

Iceland

  • Hera Hilmar has been cast in the New Zealand film Mortal Engines, which is directed by Peter Jackson. Many years after the “Sixty Minute War,” cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources. You can spot Hera in the trailer above. Mortal Engines will be released in December 2018.
  • Baltasar Kormákur is a busy man at the moment. He is currently directing Adrift, which stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. It’s about a young woman who sails into the eye of a hurricane to save the man she loves. Adrift is currently in production. It has also been announced that he will be directing a Jo Nesbø novel adaptation called I am Viktor, a thriller about Victor – a skilled but morally corrupt and narcissistic divorce attorney. When he finds himself framed for a series of brutal murders, he embarks on his own investigation to find the killer.
  • Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson has been cast in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald The second instalment of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series which follows the adventures of Newt Scamander. The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released at the end of next year.

Norway

  • Kristoffer Hivju will surely be busy next year with the final season of Game of Thrones. 
  • Aksel Hennie can be found in Cloverfield Movie, which is currently in post-production with an expected release for some time in 2018. After a scientific experiment aboard the space station involving a particle accelerator has unexpected results, the astronauts find themselves isolated. Following their horrible discovery, the space station crew must fight for survival. Cloverfield Movie is currently in post-production and will be released in the US on the 2nd of February 2018.
  • Pål Sverre Hagen will be seen in Halo of Stars, an American film currently in post-production. It will be released some time in 2018.
  • Tommy Wirkolawho directed Dead Snow, is currently building his American career. He is working on the American film War Pigs, which is about a team of ex-Special Forces soldiers who go undercover as drug dealers to avenge the murder of one of their own and to pull off an audacious heist. The film has been in development since 2016.
  • Morten Tyldum is another Norwegian director making it big overseas. He is developing the sci-fi Exit West, which follows a young refugee couple from a war-torn country who hear rumours that there are doors in the city they live that serve as portals to other destinations. He is also directing episodes of the television series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryanwhich follows Ryan as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the centre of a dangerous gambit with a new breed of terrorism that threatens destruction on a global scale.. It stars John Krasinski (The Office) and will premiere next year. He is also directing episodes of the TV series CounterpartIt stars Harry Lloyd and J.K. Simmons along with Denmark’s Ulrich Thomsen.
  • Norwegian director Roar Uthaug is about to debut his first U.S. film, Tomb Raider, which stars the Swedish Alicia Vikander. Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared. Tomb Raider will be released in the US in March 2018.
  • Anders Danielsen Lie has been working a lot in France recently, including the Norwegian/English language French production The Night Eats the World, based on the French novel by Pit Agarmen. It will be released in France in March 2018. He was also cast in Allons enfants, which will premiere in Germany in April 2018. He has recently been cast as the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik in the Paul Greengrass film about Norway’s terrorist attack, which is currently in production.
  • Joachim Rønning, who became internationally famous from Kon-Tiki and has since directed the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, will direct the 6th Pirates film as well as the sci-fi film Origin, which is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
  • The Norwegian actor Christian Rubeck, who you’ll recognise from the political series Nobel, just wrapped up work on the British comedy Swimming With Men, which will be released next year.

  • Hans Petter Moland is currently in post-production on the American remake of his hit film In Order of Disappearance, titled Hard Powder. Starring Liam Neeson, A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.

Sweden

  • Alicia Vikanderthe Academy Award-winning Swedish actor who has had a busy 2017, seems to be having a much quieter 2018. Tomb Raider is due to be released in March, and after that she’ll star in Freak Shift alongside Armie Hammer. It’s about a band of misfits who hunt down and kill underground, nocturnal monsters.

  • Noomi Rapace is another Swedish actress making it big. She is starring in the British action thriller Close, which is currently in post-production. She also stars in the US film Stockholm, The strange story of the infamous 1973 hostage crisis in Stockholm. This film is also currently in post-production. She has also been cast in the Italian film Callas, which is in pre-production. It’s a biopic about the operatic star, Maria Callas. She has also been cast as Amy Winehouse in a biopic about the singers life, but not so many details are known about that yet.

  • Bill Skarsgård is the first of the many Skarsgård’s named in this list. Bill will star as Pennywise in the second installment of the horror film It, though we won’t be seeing that until 2019. There’s plenty of Bill in the mean time, though. He stars in the American television movie Ascendent, which is about individuals who fight to end the Bureau of Genetic Welfare’s authoritarian reign. He was also cast in the American film Assassination Nation alongside Odessa Young and Joel McHale. This is a thousand percent a true story about how the quiet, all-American town of Salem, absolutely lost its mind. He also stars in another Stephen King adaptation, this time a TV series called Castle Rock. Based on the stories of Stephen King, the series will intertwine characters and themes from the fictional town of Castle Rock.

  • Alexander Skarsgård stars in the American thriller Fever Heart alongside Cara Delevingne. An amnesiac teams up with a quick-witted sharp shooter to recover the past. This film is currently in pre-production. He also stars in the thriller Hold the Darkwhich follows an author who is hired to investigate a missing child after deaths of children are rocking an Alaskan town. He is currently filming The Hummingbird Project alongside Jesse Eisenberg.  A pair of high-frequency traders go up against their old boss in an effort to make millions in a fiber-optic cable deal. The Hummingbird Project is currently filming.
  • Gustaf Skarsgård can be found in Vikings as well as the television series Westworld.
  • Swedish actress Malin Akerman stars in the American film Rampage. Based on the classic 1980s video game featuring apes and monsters destroying cities. It will be released on the 20th of April 2018 and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

  • Joel Kinnaman will be found in the sequel to Suicide Squad, though it hasn’t been confirmed yet. He currently stars in Three Seconds alongside Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen. The film is about an ex-convict working undercover intentionally who gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison.. It will be released in the US in August 2018. He has been cast in the upcoming television series Altered Carbon, which is set in a future where consciousness is digitised and stored in cortical stacks implanted in the spine, allowing humans to survive physical death by having their memories and consciousness ‘re-sleeved’ into new bodies. The story follows specially trained “Envoy” soldier Takeshi Kovacs, who is downloaded from an off-world prison and into the body of a disgraced cop at the behest of Laurens Bancroft, a highly influential aristocrat. Bancroft was killed, and the last automatic backup of his stack was made hours before his death, leaving him with no memory of who killed him and why. While police ruled it a suicide, Bancroft is convinced he was murdered and wants Kovacs to find out the truth. It will be released on the 2nd of February 2018.
  • Stellan Skarsgård will also be in several films next year. He stars in the Czech film The Painted Bird which is about a young Jewish boy in Poland seeks refuge in the forest during World War II where he encounters many different characters. He was also cast in the sci-fi film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a Spanish/British film An advertising executive jumps back and forth in time between 21st century London and 17th century La Mancha, where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza. He will also appear in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, the sequel to the hit musical film.

  • Peter Stormare will star in the second season of the American series Swedish Dicks. He is also in the American thriller Legacy. A rookie detective, son of a dead disgraced cop, works to solve his first major case while under the watchful eye of a ghost-like assassin. He is also about to be seen in the new American comedy LA to Vegas, an ensemble workplace comedy about a group of underdogs trying to find their place in the world, set on the Friday night flight from LAX to Vegas and the returning flight on Sunday, who all share the same goal: to come back a winner in the casino of life. 
  • Max von Sydow has been cast in the British film Bach. J.S. Bach, orphaned at 10, widowed at 35, 20 children, regarded as the world’s greatest composer, challenged the conventions of church, state and society by expressing personal tragedy and hardship with passion, joy and conviction. It is currently in production. He has also been cast in Thomas Vinterberg’s new film Kursk, which is currently in post-production.
  • David Dencik is currently in Top of the Lake. Obsessed with the disappearance of a 12-year-old pregnant girl near a freezing lake in New Zealand, a brave detective will find herself up against small-town secrets and a side of herself that was meticulously kept at bay. He has also been cast in the British series McMafia, which will be premiering in January 2018. Alex Godman, the English-raised son of Russian mafia exiles, has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of their past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend Rebecca. But when a murder forces his family’s past to return to threaten them, Alex is drawn into the criminal underworld and must confront his values to protect those he loves.
  • Lasse Hallstrom, who has a successful career in the US, is currently directing The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It stars Keira Knightly and Morgan Freeman in a film about a young girl who is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.
  • Valter Skarsgård stars in Lords of Chaos, a British film. A teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s results in a very violent outcome.

Keep an eye on Cinema Scandinavia between Christmas and New Years as we’ll be bringing you many lists about the most exciting films and TV series in 2018!

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.