Even though he is attached to direct big budget Hollywood features now, Troll Hunter director André Øvredal is also well into The Tunnel, the most complex special effects movie ever made in Norway.
André Øvredal’s short film The Tunnel is based on the sci-fi short story The Tunnel Ahead written by Alice Glaser in 1961. It was published in Norway in 1991 in an anthology edited by Norway’s leading sci-fi authors, Jon Bing og Tor Åge Bringsværd. The story takes place in a future with extreme overpopulation, and with people living in megacities. One way to cure the problem is to let the gates of tunnels leading into the cities close at random moments, and everyone who are inside them will be killed. The two main characters are played by Kyrre Haugen Sydness and Siri Helene Müller, who plays parents with two children on their way to the beach. -This is a story I have been dreaming of making a film of since I read it in high school, says director André Øvredal.
The film was shot in a studio with several greenscreens and the framework of a futuristic car, designed by university students. Everything else will be created with CG graphics, and the crew’s ambition is to create the most complext special effects movie ever made in Norway. -We will put on display what we can do in Norway with this movie. At the same time it is very exciting for me in terms of creating a very intimate and human setting inside the car itself, Øvredal says to Dagbladet. The film promises to be “dark and dystopian”, and the director is giving very specific instructions to the actors.
-André is very specific but he also gives us actors space inside this green room, actor Kyrre Haugen Sydness says to broadcaster NRK when asked about the movie. He is joined by Siri Helene Müller who says Øvredal is “a humble director with great visions and a clear image of what he wants”. She adds that she has to think of Bombay, with its great contrasts between wealth and poverty, to imagine how it feels for the characters to be in the car while the actors are surrounded by greenscreens, cameras and lights.
The script is written by André Øvredal (director of over 150 TV commercials) who won the Storyline competition in 2010 with this script, and received funding in 2011 as the winner’s prize. The Norwegian film institute, who funds part of the budget, motivates the grant by saying the script is “very relevant these days, and that the film is likely to be very thoughtful, disturbing and exciting”. The 10 minute film has a total budget of 443.000 dollars and shooting took place during one week in January. The film was expected to be finished in June, but is now delayed and on temporary hiatus “because of the vast amounts of special effects”. Øvredal now predicts news about the movie in early 2014.
Distribution is not decided yet, but the film will possibly be shown at festivals, including Grimstad and Sundance.
André Øvredal’s next feature film will be the UK horror film The Autopsy of Jane Doe, about a father-and-son team of coroners in a small-town mortuary, performing an autopsy on a young woman. They discover strange and bizarre leads as to what she died of.
August 26, 2015 update: According to the director, the film will be completed “in 3 weeks”, although no premiere has been announced.