Maximilian Hult, director of award-winning feature HEMMA, will direct a romantic drama comedy entitled Pity the Lovers, set in Iceland with an all-Icelandic cast. The film produced by Swedish LittleBig Productions is currently shot on location in Reykjavík. Besides directing, Maximilian Hult also wrote the screenplay and original story about the somewhat dysfunctional brothers, their longing for love and their every day struggles towards a balanced life.

Boasting some of Iceland’s finest actors Pity the Lovers started principal photography in Iceland on the 24th of August and is planned for release in 2018. This is not the first time that Hult directs a film in Iceland. His first film HEMMA, despite being set in Sweden, was also shot in Iceland with Swedish cast. His new film is shot in Icelandic and the main roles are given to Icelandic actors and actresses such as to Björn Thórs, Jóel I Sæmundsson, Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir, Sigurður Karlsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Þóra Karítas Árnadóttir and Hafdís Helga Helgadóttir. “I have to admit to a certain nervousness regarding directing Icelandic actors in a languange I do not speak myself. But that concern disappeared as soon as the main cast was in place and we started working”, says Hult.

Producer Anna G Magnúsdóttir added that “the film was originally planned for production in Sweden but faced with the prospect of postponing the production for an entire year, due to waiting for the last bit of financing in Sweden, we opted for going to Iceland and bridge the financial gap with the 25% reimbursement for filming in Iceland”. Producer Anders Grantröm also talks about the location among other things. “We”re thrilled to be back in Iceland working with a highly professional, near all Icelandic production crew and all-Icelandic cast.  It’s amazing to watch the project come to life through a combination of Maximilian’s directorial skills, the talented actor performances, creative and professional contribution from the crew and, not to forget, the exceptional locations. It’s also wonderful to be able to in this way contribute to and further strengthen the ties between Swedish and Icelandic film-making.”

Pity the Lovers follows the life of a few very different characters and explores the cobweb of their relationship. Brothers Óskar (Björn Thórs)) and Maggi (Jóel Sæmundsson) are easy-going, but both have a hard time with close relationships, a problem they deal with in different ways. Óskar tries to stay clear of emotional ties while Maggi jumps into a series of short-lived relationships. Their absentminded father (Sigurður Karlsson) has similar problems but has miraculously managed to hold on to his relationship with Guðrún (Edda Björgvinsdóttir), whom he met after his first wife, the mother of his sons, died when the boys were young. The veterinary Anna (Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir) is facing a life-changing decision, unwittingly influenced by Óskar. The young wanna-be artist Ingibjörg (Hafdís Helga Helgadóttir) tries to become a grown-up as fast as she can and the 13-year-old friends Danni T and Danni M plod on with their daily lives, which increasingly take place in Óskar’s house.

With Pity the Lovers, producers Anna G Magnúsdóttir and Anders Granström of Stockholm based LittleBig Productions AB join forces again with Icelandic producers, Guðrún Edda Þórhannesdóttir and Friðrik Þór Friðriksson of Spellbound Productions, Reykjavík, repeating a successful co-operation on director Hult’s acclaimed first feature, award-winning romantic drama HEMMA (2013).

Photo by Sigga Ella:  Dir. Maximilian Hult with actors (sitting from left) Jóel I Sæmundsson, Þóra Karítas Árnadóttir and Björn Thórs. Copyright: LittleBig Productions.

Barbara Majsa

Barbara is a journalist, editor and film critic. She usually does interviews with film-makers, artists, designers, and writes about cinema, design and books.