The Icelandic Presence in Hollywood

From the Icelandic Film Centre

Recent months have seen a lot of Icelandic talent – from a variety of filmmaking disciplines – making significant inroads in Hollywood.

The actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson currently appears alongside Liam Neeson in the crime drama A Walk Among the Tombstones, and has recently appeared in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the acclaimed TV series True Detective and Banshee. Ólafsson will next be seen alongside Vin Diesel, Michael Caine and Elijah Wood in the adventure fantasy The Last Witch Hunter, which is currently in production.

Thor Kristjansson makes his Hollywood acting debut in Dracula Untold, in which he appears alongside British actors Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper. Kristjansson plays one of the main roles in the commercially and critically acclaimed Life in a Fishbowl, Iceland’s submission for the 2015 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir is the editor of the recently released action thriller John Wick, which stars Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist and Willem Dafoe. Ronaldsdóttir’s previous work in Holywood includes the films Inhale and Contraband, both of which were directed by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur.

Universal Pictures has acquired the distribution rights for Vikingr, an action thriller based on the Icelandic Sagas, which will be written by Baltasar Kormákur and Ólafur Egill Egilsson and directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Universal Pictures and Kormákur have enjoyed success together in the past, with the studio having previously distributed his box office successesContraband and 2 Guns.

It is also worth mentioning the Icelandic contribution to Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s most recent feature. Interstellar was partly shot in Iceland – at locations including Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vatnajökull and Skaftafell – in the autumn of 2013.


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.