Erik Poppe, interviewed in the last edition of Norwegians Worldwide, is the director. He has previously had success with films such as 1000 times Goodnight (2013), and Troubled Water (2008).
The King’s Choice (Kongens Nei) is a film about the real events that made a brave man the people´s King. Based on Alf R. Jacobsen’s book Kongens Nei, the story unfolds over three dramatic days in April 1940. This is the first film depicting these events, when the Norwegian King, Haakon VII, bravely held firm against the German occupants.
Poppe says he was baffled by the intensity of the dramatic events those three days in April 1940. “I thought I knew what happened back then, but I was surprised when I realized how dramatic it was and how little I actually knew. This story is important to tell, and the generation who lived through this is about to disappear,” he says.
There is a huge amount of information about this subject available, but no one has ever put it into movie form previously. In order to do so, the director and his team had to dig into all the material they could find, to learn more about the personal experiences of King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav and the rest of the royal family who had to escape the war. Much has been told about what they did, but little or nothing regarding how they experienced this in their private time.
“There were many of these private moments and those form the foundation for this kind of historical movie. We did our research thoroughly, and found a lot of information. This has now become the film that people will see.
-How was working with Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen and the rest of the cast?
“It´s been crucial to find actors that are both strong, brave, and uncompromising in the way they work. The actors had to create a forceful and convincing portrait of who these people were. The cast impressed me from day one at work!”
-How is this story relevant today?
“It is frightingly close to the situation we are in today. Our defense was scaled down to a minimum back then, and it is again today. Europe expereinced violent political tensions and an uncertain security situation. Here we are again today. People are forced to flee from war and threats. I want this movie to remind people that this happened in our country not long ago.“
Poppe draws a direct line to the current refugee crisis. “To follow the characters escaping and on the run is a sinister reminder of what is happening elsewhere today, but can also happen here. We must not close our eyes to this urgency and we must not think that these people dont need the help and support we can give. Tomorrow it might be us that needs help,“ says Poppe.
The King’s Choice is Norway’s candidate for the category Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscar. The jury that chose the film stated that “Erik Poppe’s film is a strong and universal story about taking the right decisions under extreme conditions.”
“The King’s Choice is a film that tells of a dramatic event relating to us as a nation, and examines the history that affected large parts of the world. With its engaging themes and strong cinematic qualities, I have great faith in the King’s Choice as our candidate for the Oscars,” says committee chairman Sindre Guldvog.
The King’ s Choice premiers in Norwegian cinemas September 23.
January 24. 2017 it will be revealed which foreign films will compete at the Oscars, held February 26.