Lilyhammer, the dramatic comedy starring Steven Van Zandt as a mafia boss transplanted to Norway, was back on TV this week — much to the delight of fans and most critics. But one man was not laughing: The mayor of Vågan in Lofoten archipelago, who says he’s been cheated of publicity.
The new season of Lilyhammer features footage shot in Lofoten, but the finished show tells the viewers that what they’re seeing is Vesterålen, a rival region which competes with Lofoten over tourism revenue. The mayor, Eivind Holst of the Conservative Party, called the mix-up “totally sick.”
“I’ve been misled,” he complained, according to state broadcaster NRK.
Click below to view a trailer of season 3 of Lilyhammer: Warning: Loud volume and explicit language. The story continues below the video.
In the second episode of the new Lilyhammer season, Lofoten was chosen as location to introduce a new character who hails from Vesterålen. Once there, the merry gangsters from Lillehammer come across a stranded whale which they try to help. Several lines in the dialogue refer to Vesterålen. But the pictures are from Lofoten.
“This is so sad. The viewers are being tricked, and it’s a swindle towards us, who received them (the makers of Lilyhammer) with warm hearts,” mayor Holst reportedly said. He went on to assert that the confusion was deliberate. “Nobody can be so snowed-down,” he said, using an expression roughly meaning “clueless”.
He may certainly miss a bit of publicity for his home area. The first two seasons of the wildly popular Lilyhammer were distributed to 130 countries around the world. It’s produced by Rubicon TV for NRK.
Producer Anders Tangen told NRK.no that his team does know where it has been.
“The story is that the whale is found in Vesterålen and airlifted to Svolvær and Lofoten. Having footage from Lofoten was important to us. Locals helped us find something resembling Vesterålen,” Tangen said.
“Southerners like us think of this whole area as Lofoten. If I talk about Vesterålen, nobody will know where it is. Lofoten is much better known, but the way we have done this the entire region gets good PR,” Tangen claimed.
“We work with fiction so we have to cheat a little. We couldn’t afford to go to Vesterålen, too.”