A fellow Norwegian, Tommy Wirkola, saw his movie "Dead Snow," about Nazi zombie hunters (tagline: "Eins, Zwei, Die"), become a minor hit at Sundance in 2009. That landed him representation with Creative Artists Agency and a spot on the Scandinavian hot list. Wirkola is now set to direct a new dark take on the Hansel and Gretel legend (the idea: they grow up to be witch hunters). Will Ferrell is producing the movie, and Jeremy Renner is attached to star in it.
And Adam Berg, a Sweden-based commercials director, has caught the eye of A-list actor Ryan Reynolds on the basis of a short he made for the electronics brand Philips that's evocative of "The Dark Knight." Reynolds has tapped Berg as a front-runner to direct his big-budget superhero movie "Deadpool" — even though Berg has never directed a feature before.
At a time when Hollywood is being maligned for its lack of creativity, those at the fore of the movement to hire Scandinavian directors and remake their movies see it as an avenue to keep originality alive — even if it is originality derived from other countries. "People will go and see a play like 'Romeo & Juliet' many times if each time they are given a different take. If we're doing that, we're doing our job," said producer Carl Molinder.
Molinder made "Let the Right One In," an acclaimed coming-of-age vampire tale, but he was not content for the moody Swedish-language film to be merely a cult hit in the United States. So he set out several years ago to find a company to remake the movie in English. "Let Me In," from director Matt Reeves ( "Cloverfield"), came out this fall to glowing reviews, albeit less-than-glowing box office.
The disappointing box office could indicate that translating Scandinavian movies creatively will be easier than translating them commercially. But, if nothing else, Hollywood likes a good franchise, and many of the Scandinavian properties come with plenty such possibilities. As with Larsson's Millennium trilogy, there are three "Snabba Cash" novels (and plans to shoot two more Swedish-language films). Working Title, the British-American powerhouse behind hits such as " Atonement," has just snapped up rights to a novel about a loose-cannon cop titled "The Snowman" from Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo that's part of an eight-book series.
But ultimately, the Hollywood-Scadinavian nexus, say those involved in it, may be as much about an evolution in American consciousness as it is about anything else. "Americans have been through a lot the last few years," Lichter said. "I think we're just a little bit darker ourselves."