“I think it’s a comedy made by people who want to be making an action movie,” Hannes Þór Halldórsson laughs, referring to his upcoming directorial debut ‘Leynilögga’. His name probably rings a bell—but from a totally different sector. A professional footballer and goalkeeper of the Icelandic national team, Hannes is unarguably most famous for saving a penalty kick from Lionel Messi in the World Cup in 2018. However, defending the goalposts is not his only passion—he has long been in the filmmaking industry, directing numerous advertisements and music videos. Now, he’s finally here with a full-length feature.
“I’ve been working as a filmmaker for 15 years. But now I’ve made my first feature film––which was always my goal––and earlier than I expected,” he says. ‘Leynilögga’, he explains, is a comedy-action-drama, which is quite atypical for Icelandic filmmaking.
”Icelandic films often have this tendency to be quite slow and depressing. Many of them are good––but they’re not always fun,” Hannes describes. “The core concept was to make an action movie placed in the small city of Reykjavík. None of the things happening make sense […] but because we’re making a comedy, we can allow ourselves everything.”
The movie—which Hannes co-wrote with Nína Petersen and Sverrir ‘Sveppi’ Þór Sverrisson—is a romp through the lens of a cop.
“The cop’s name is Bússi and he is the number one badass cop in Reykjavík. But then there’s another guy, the best cop in Garðabær, and they rivals. The two towns don’t like each other,” Hannes explains. “Then the two cops have to deal with a mysterious series of bank robberies, where nothing seems to be stolen. So they must partner up and there’s a lot of tension between them.”
Of course, there’s a twist––no spoilers here––that Hannes promises will surprise viewers. All we can say is that the aforementioned macho-cop Bússi is dealing with some personal issues. “He needs to get over his own prejudice,” Hannes elucidates. “There is a journey and we are taking the subject seriously. We really worked on giving the movie soul.”
The idea for ‘Leynilögga’ arose ten years ago, when Hannes took part in the popular Icelandic comedy show “Auddi & Sveppi”. Just for fun, Sveppi and Hannes created a rough trailer for ‘Leynilögga’ and the idea was stuck.
“We had been talking about it for years after the trailer came out. In fact, we were contacted by movie companies in Iceland, so we wrote the first draft back in 2012. But then I became a professional football player and was abroad for six years and the project just fell to rest,” Hannes. Eventually, the production company Pegasus contacted the duo and the first seeds for success were sown. Now, ‘Leynilögga’ will premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, while screening in Icelandic movie theatres at the end of August.
This was a fun movie
Above all else, Hannes hopes this film will bring some laughter and joy in these difficult times. “I think people are thirsty for some fun movie entertainment, so this is a fantastic time to come out with Leynilögga,” he thinks aloud.
“I just want people to say, ‘This was a fun movie.’ That’s my number one goal,” he concludes, pulling down his sunglasses and smiling. “But if it leaves something behind and raises some questions, that’s a nice bonus.”
‘Leynilögga ‘is scheduled to premiere in Icelandic movie theatres on August 27, 2021.
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