The Most Expensive Icelandic Film - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Most Expensive Icelandic Film

The Most Expensive Icelandic Film

Published June 18, 2008

Much Ado About Something

The project has received considerable publicity over the last few months. The script was written by Dagur Kári himself, and has won several awards amongst others the prestigious NHK International Filmmakers awards at Sundance Film Festival. The script has gotten rave reviews by many and Þórir Sigurjónsson, the producer, has described it as if Charles Bukowski had written the Pygmalion. Ryan Goosling and Tom Waits were originally scheduled to star in the film, but both had to pull out due to other engagements. That hardly dampened Dagur Kári’s spirit. Instead of Goosling he casted the rising star Paul Dano who has, in spite of his young age, starred in two Oscar films. Tom Waits was promptly replaced with the experienced and unimpeachable Brian Cox.
When The Grapevine tried to catch up with some of the stars attached to this film it turned out to be rather strenuous; the foreigners were always either shooting or on mandatory tours around the country. At last we gave up on trying to reach the stars, and instead got a hold of some of the production staff, the all-important behind-the-scenes people who everyone knows really put the films together anyway. They informed us that the atmosphere on set wasn’t typical for an Icelandic film sets, but much more metropolitan to say the least.

Barflies Redux With a Twist

The film plot line is elaborate but it takes on the coarse New York Bartender Jacques (Brian Cox) who operates a bar attended by hardcore bums and is as fierce looking as he is in his words. One day the homeless young man (Paul Dano), who appears to possess some mysterious healing powers, shows up and starts healing all the bums, including Jacques himself. Jacques had suffered from heart difficulties for many years and spent almost as much time at the hospital as he did on his bar.
He grows immensely fond of the young man and plots to train him up so he can fill his imminent void but things get complicated and don’t exactly work out as Jacques meant them to.
According to this synopsis, it sounds like a drama, right? Not so, says the production staff. They claim it would be a vulgar understatement to call it a drama. The storyline combines comedy, tragedy as well as drama and is rather enigmatic. Their spirit was so determined there didn’t seem to be any point in objecting.
The filming process has been adventurous and includes filming at the previous US Naval Base in Keflavík as well as in Iceland National Hospital where an actual heart transplant surgery was caught on tape for the first time, at least for cinematic purposes. This helps to make The Good Heart the most expensive Icelandic film made hitherto, with a budget of 2,6 million Euros.
When asked when the premier could be expected, the production staff simply hissed, shook their heads and said they weren’t the right people to answer that question, and probably nobody could at this time. Dagur Kári is a little eccentric they say and he won’t release anything until it’s completely ready. So whether we will witness the payoff of this vast filming procedure before this Christmas or in two years, hopefully it will live up to its expectations..

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