via press release
Finnish director Aku Louhimies has announced actors for key roles in his new film, The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon sotilas), an adaptation of a beloved Finnish novel. Production with 80 filming days is scheduled to start on June 6, 2016 and the film will premiere in October 2017 for the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence.
An epic World War 2 historical drama, set in the last stretches of the war, the Unknown Soldier is a story of a platoon of ordinary Finnish soldiers in the battlefield between Finland and the Soviet Union. The script is based on Väinö Linna’s bestselling 1954 novel, and it’s original uncensored version which was only released in 2000. The book, translated into 23 languages, has been filmed twice before. Both earlier adaptations (1955 and 1985) have become most watched movies of their eras and their characters considered as national heritage. A new English translation of the book has been published by Penguin Books in 2015 with the title Unknown Soldiers.
“The story of The Unknown Soldier is very universal. It’s a gripping portrayal of how a tragedy changes us all.” Aku Louhimies
Louhimies assembled a cast of Finnish award winning actors and young emerging talent. Eero Aho, known for his his roles in Louhimies’ films Tears of April (2008) and 8-Ball (2013), will play Corporal Rokka, a warm and witty character whose seniority and experience in life allow him to stick to his own ways even under strict military order. Second Lieutenant Koskela, a modest and reliable war hero is played by Jussi Vatanen, and Corporal Hietanen, another key character by Aku Hirviniemi, currently one of the most popular names in Finnish film and television. Amongst their other works on stage and screen Hirviniemi and Vatanen have been co-hosting Saturday Night Live for Finnish audiences this Spring. Full cast for The Unknown Soldier will be announced in June 2016. Apart from professional actors, already 14 000 people have signed up to volunteer in the production.
The premiere for The Unknown Soldier’s theatrical distribution in Finland has been set for October 27, 2017, the year Finland celebrates the centenary of its independence. The production with 80 filming days is fully funded. Key partners and funding bodies are the Finnish Film Foundation, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE and Finnish Military Forces. Domestic distribution will be handled by SF Film Finland.
Aku Louhimies is an award-winning director and screenwriter. Most recently he helmed REBELLION, a five-part drama series set during the 1916 Irish uprising for RTÉ, which is currently running on Sundance TV and Netflix. Louhimies is represented in the UK by Richard Cook at The Lisa Richards Agency and in the US by Martin Spencer at Paradigm Talent Agency and Eric Williams at Zero Gravity Management.