On 9 April – 74 years to the day after they were fired against the German cruiser Blücher(around 900 soldiers of the 1,308 on board were killed when it was sunk in the Oslofjord) – the cannons thundered again at the Oscarsborg Fortress for the shooting of Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s The King’s Choice, a film about “three of the most dramatic days in the history of Norway”.
Nazi Germany was about to start the invasion of Denmark and Norway. On 8 April 1940, the Norwegian Parliament decided its armed forces should be mobilised the following morning, but the attack began overnight, and a German representative arrived in Oslo with the message, “Surrender or prepare to fight.”
While everybody was hesitant, Colonel Birger Eriksen, commander of the Oscarsborg, ordered his men to fire when he saw the German invasion fleet. The King’s Choice follows the crucial period of 8-10 April, describing how first Eriksen, and then King Haakon of Norway, stood up against the German forces, deciding the country’s role in the war.
Norwegian actor Erik Hivju – who has been a member of the ensemble at Oslo’s National Theatre since 1968, and has had film roles in, among others, Max Manus: Man of War[+](2008) and Hamsun (1996) – will play the lead as Eriksen in the historical drama, which is scripted by Norwegian writers Jan Trygve Røyneland and Harald Rosenløw Eeg.
Poppe’s fifth feature is produced by Finn Gjerdrum and Stein B Kvae, of Paradox, who also staged his most recent outing, A Thousand Times Good Night[+], starring French actress Juliette Binoche and Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Danish heavyweightNordisk Film has Nordic rights, and Nordisk Film Distribusjon has scheduled a local release for December 2015.