Norway had a large contingent on location in Los Angeles this weekend, so that all the lead actors and crew members of the Norwegian film ‘Kon-Tiki’ could get as close as they could to the annual Academy Awards show. They were ready to party, even if ‘Kon-Tiki’ doesn’t win an Oscar.
Most of the cast and crew have been saying for weeks that they feel they’ve already won, since just being nominated as one of the five candidates for best foreign-language film was an accomplishment in itself. But they sure didn’t want to miss the celebration in case they do win.
All six actors who played the crew members on the famed Kon-Tiki expedition led by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl traveled to Southern California along with actress Agnes Kittelsen, who played Thor Heyerdahl’s wife in the film. In addition came their partners, the film’s directors and producers, its script writer and several members of the technical crew. Even Norway’s government minister in charge of culture, Hadia Tajik, planned to be in Los Angeles for the big event.
Only six of them actually could secure tickets to the Academy Awards ceremony itself on Sunday evening, reported newspaper Aftenposten, and they were issued to directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, producers Aage Aaberge and Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Petter Skavlan and the film’s star, Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, who played Thor Heyerdahl.
The rest of the Norwegian delegation had to be content with watching the show from the posh Four Seasons Hotel. The party there was backed by the Norwegian Film Institute, Nordisk Film, Aircontactgruppen and Norway’s consulate in Los Angeles.
Aftenposten reported that the head of Aircontactgruppen, Norwegian millionaire Johan Christopher Stenersen, has financed much of the travel and festivities to allow the the cast and crew to attend the party. Aicontactgruppen owns the Berg-Hansen travel agency group in Norway in addition to brokering aircraft. Stenersen and his company also invested in the film and in the rights to it. The Weinstein Company of the US acquired rights to Kon-Tiki for the US, Canada, the UK and Italy last fall, and had plans to release the English-language version of the film this year.
“It’s correct that we have done a lot of things to support profiling the film in connection with the Oscars,” Stenersen told Aftenposten. “We see it as a clear advantage for the film that they’re represented by the actors. It’s an extension of our engagement as an investor in the film project.”
Many of the cast members saw the weekend as a chance for a happy reunion after all have gone their separate ways and are busy with other film and stage projects. Kittelsen, for example, has been starring in the Norwegian TV series based on Lars Saabye Christiansen’s epic novel Halvbroren (The Half Brother, which just ended its run on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), and is involved in several other films as well.
“I haven’t planned any meetings in Los Angeles, and will just have fun with the Norwegian actors,” Gustaf Skarsgård, who played Bengt Danielsson in the film, told Aftenposten. “It will just be fun to be together again.”
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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