Scott Free Options Rights to Jónasson’s Thriller “Outside”

Ragnar Jónasson

The production company Scott Free has optioned the rights to writer Ragnar Jónason’s latest thriller Outside. Danish director Henrik Hansen is in talks to direct the feature film.

Optioned for feature adaptation

The independent film and television production company Scott Free has optioned the rights to the thriller Outside from Icelandic author Ragnar Jónasson for feature adaptation. The book relates the story of four friends who seek refuge from a lethal Icelandic snowstorm in an abandoned hunting lodge – but “nothing can prepare them for what’s inside.”

As reported by RÚV, publisher Bjartur and Veröld released a press statement yesterday saying that Scott Free would be collaborating with the Icelandic production company True North on the project. Talks are underway with Danish director Henrik Hansen.

Outside was published last year and will be released in English translation in the UK and the US this spring. The widely-acclaimed thriller will subsequently be made available in other languages. Ragnar Jónasson has sold more than three million copies of his books in thirty-six countries.

English director Ridley Scott founded Scott Free with his late brother Tony Scott in 1970. Ridley Scott ranks among Hollywood’s most renowned directors, having directed films such as Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and Thelma & Louise. Scott has received numerous awards.

Nordic Noir Author Arnaldur Indriðason Awarded

Best-selling Nordic noir author Arnaldur Indriðason was awarded the Jónas Hallgrímsson Prize yesterday. The award is given annually on November 16, Icelandic Language Day, to individuals whose work has helped the Icelandic language flourish through writing, teaching, or scholarship. Arnaldur’s books have sold over 14 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 40 languages.

Arnaldur is a prolific writer whose crime fiction books are popular in Iceland as well as abroad. In 2006, his novel Jar City was made into a film directed by Baltasar Kormákur. On receiving the award yesterday, Arnaldur stated that he was accepting it on behalf of all crime fiction writers in Iceland. “I believe the award is also a recognition of the branch of literature of which I have been a representative for about a quarter of a century and has flourished in our literary flora in recent years,” he stated.

Podcast host Vera Illugadóttir also received special recognition at the ceremony. Vera is the creator of the Icelandic-language podcast series Í ljósi sögunnar, produced by RÚV. The podcast presents global history in a gripping, narrative format, often telling of historic events that have rarely been written about in Icelandic.

Book of Essays on Nordic Crime Fiction Discusses How Noir the Nordics Really Are

Books by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir on a shelf.

Bloomsbury has recently published the book Noir in the North, a collection of scholarly essays on Nordic crime fiction. Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir, professor of comparative literature at the University of Iceland, is one of its two editors and recently told Lestin radio show that one of the biggest issues tackled in the book is the question of how noir Nordic crime fiction really is.

For the past few decades, some of the world’s most famous crime writers have come from the Nordic countries. Recently, Scandinavian tv series have continued developing this tradition and aesthetic, telling tales of crimes and the dark sides of the nordic welfare system, shows like Broen, Forbrydelsen, Wallander, Trapped, and Brot. Scholars show the genre increased interest. The book’s origin is a conference that took place in the University of Iceland in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and the Iceland Noir crime fiction festival. Among the topics discussed at the conference was the name of the genre. Icelanders talk of the Nordic crime novel, but abroad, it’s knowns as Scandinoir or Nordic noir.

“That’s what we’re wondering about in the book, why the noir? Is it just because Nordic Noir has a ring to it and stuck? Or does it have deeper roots? That’s one of the main topics in the book,” Gunnþórunn told Lestin. “Is Noir a helpful term to understand this genre, or is it a superficial marketing term? Björn Norðfjörð’s essay mentions that there’s very little connection between the American noir we are familiar with and the Nordic crime novel. Others take a broader understanding of noir and reason that some elements of Nordic noir are similar to Hollywood noir. Such as how tv series such as Broen and Forbrydelsen portray cities – focusing on their darkness and frayed edges.

What most notably separates Nordic crime fiction from the rest of the world is the societal angle, that crime fiction can be a mirror to society. Another thing is the North’s image in the minds of the public. “It’s the mystical north and its darkness. We also have a subgenre of the Nordic crime novel that’s set in very remote places and deal with terrible weather and darkness and so on. Shows like Trapped work with the cliches of the north – the isolation, and the edges and boundaries. The market, as well as people’s imaginations, have welcomed these shows.”

Gunnþórunn also says that you can note that the cliches of the North and the world’s interest in them affect the Nordics’ production nations of their tv shows. “Some have suggested that Danish tv is using this much more markedly to sell their series internationally and that they have started to see their tv productions, which were originally only intended for the local market and the nordic one, as an international product. This international interest makes it a little self-exoticising.”

The popularity for the past few decades has been immense, but it looks like the international market of the Nordic noir is slowing down a bit. “The tv shows are slowing down. They still exist, but Broen is over and Forbrydelsen as well.” But then someone makes a new series, changing the landscape again. We’ve also seen non-nordic series taking on the aesthetics and topics, such as the Uk’s the Fall and The River. Other countries are developing their noir as well, Scotland’s tartan noir, iris noir and so on.”

Trapped Season 3: Filming Begins in North Iceland

Ófærð (Trapped)

Filming of the third season of Icelandic crime drama Trapped (Ófærð) is scheduled to begin shortly in Siglufjörður, North Iceland, reports. Between 60 and 80 people will be working on the shoot, which is to take place between September 24 and October 9. Both season one and two of the popular show were filmed in part in Siglufjörður.

All cast and crew will be staying at hotels and guesthouses in the town of 1,174. One scene will be filmed at the Siglufjörður swimming pool, which will be closed to the public for the duration of filming. The gym and sports facilities at the same location will remain open.

Iceland’s largely successful response to COVID-19 has made it possible for many large-scale film projects to go ahead as planned this year. Regulations have been put in place, however, to minimise the risk of transmission. Presently, production companies in Iceland must apply for a special filming permit that allows actors to be exempted from distancing rules. A COVID safety supervisor must be on set at all times, and makeup and costuming staff are required to wear masks, as is the film crew in spaces where distancing cannot be maintained. Cast and crew will all have their temperature taken daily when arriving on set.

The Trapped team has been working on the show’s third season since as early as December 2018.

Trapped Again

Ólafur Darri is a charming, affable man – it really is no wonder how well he takes to the large screen. He oozes warmth as soon as he enters the coffeehouse, his contagious smile giving life to the room. Even though he is one of Iceland’s most successful actors, Ólafur remains humble in his approach to his roles as well as life. In the midst of shooting the second season of Trapped, Ólafur takes a look back on a career which has spanned countless roles. Having conquered the Icelandic acting scene already, Ólafur is just getting started though.

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