Icelandic Hollywood film producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson, whose portfolio boasts more than 40 movies and television series, has secured the movie rights to Yrsa Sigurdardóttir´s 2010 crime thriller Ég man thig (I remember you).
The sale of the movie rights has put her in the spotlight again but, in spite of how busy she is with her multi-faceted life, she came to the University of Victoria to give three lecturers as a Richard and Beck lecturer.
Yrsa is multi-talented. Most writers of prize winning murder mysteries would find that a full-time profession. Instead, Yrsa also writes books for children. More surprising than that and what intrigued an over-flow audience was that she is also an engineer and writes in her spare time. It was in her role as an engineer that she gave one of the lectures. She explained how Iceland‘s topography and natural resources combined to put Iceland at the forefront of the world‘s attempt to create and harness green energy. Large geo-thermal and hydro-electric projects have taxed both the imagination and the resources of a country with a population of just three hundred and twenty thousand.
In North America, Yrsa is best known for her adult fiction. He second lecture was on „Nordic Noir and the Writing of Crime Fiction“. Yrsa discussed the sudden, surprising emergence of Scandinavian crime fiction. She talked about what characteristics unite—and distinguish—the writers involved and what explains the world-wide popularity of their work. Yrsa also offered some „how to“ hints for aspiring crime writers.
Interest in Yrsa‘s work has grown with the purchase of movie rights. „When the author and her publisher Pétur Már Ólafsson at Veröld, were guests on RÚV´s Rás 2 radio morning show, Olafsson said he had been certain from the start that the book would be filmed but had decided not to accept any offers until the book had been translated into English.”
“But when a man who has worked with Robert De Niro, Nicholas Cage and Natalie Portman comes calling, you pick up the phone, don’t you?”, he said.
“The work on the screenplay has begun but many things are still undecided. It is possible that the film will be shot in Iceland and that parts of it, or even the entire film, will be in the Icelandic language.
“What appeals to Sigurjón is namely the Icelandic landscape. This is what makes it so special […] but naturally, at the same time, the story itself knows no natural borders,” Olafson continued. “So what he sees in it is a uniquely Icelandic international thriller.”
Sigurdardóttir herself said that she will not be invovled in the adaptation—she has complete faith in the screenplay writers. “It is a special genre of writing,” she explained. “But I look forward to reading it and mostly I look forward to seeing the movie.”
“According to visir.is, Sighvatsson has hired Icelandic screen writer Ottó Geir Borg for the job.
“One of the films Sighvatsson has produced, Wild At Heart (1990), as directed by David Lynch, earned the Golden Palm in Cannes.
“In addition to the aforementioned actors, Sighvatsson has worked with Hollywood big shots such as Harrison Ford and Jeff Bridges.
“Sighvatsson is not the first film producer to express an interest in Sigurdardóttir´s stories. The German film production company Team Worx Television & Film GmbH bought the movie rights to…Ashes To Dust“.
If members of your family enjoy reading murder mysteries, they might enjoy finding a novel by Yrsa under the tree on Christmas morning. There are four in English to choose from: Last Rituals, My Soul To Take, Ashes to Dust, and The Day Is Dark.
(Quotes with permission of IcelandReview.com. A slightly different form of this article first appeared in Lögberg-Heimskringla. This is the 125th anniversary of LH. Consider celebrating her birthday by buying a subscription.)