Erik Poppe (Utøya: July 22) is helming the adaptation of Vilhelm Moberg’s classic novels which chronicle the one and a half million Swedes who sought a better life across the Atlantic in the mid-19th century. Production is scheduled to get underway in the Western part of Sweden in September.
One of Sweden’s biggest musical exports, Tove Lo’s hit singles include Habits (Stay High), which reached number three on the U.S. Billboard chart and has had close to 700 million streams on Spotify and Youtube, while she has also co-written songs including Lorde’s Homemade Dynamite and Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do, which was on the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack and was Grammy and Golden Globe nominated.
‘Utoya: July 22’ Director Erik Poppe Sets Cast For Adaptation Of Classic Swedish Tale ‘The Emigrants’
Speaking to Deadline, Lo said that getting into acting had always been “a dream rather than an intention” but that she was “very happy” to be a part of the project.
In The Emigrants she will play Ulrika, following in the footsteps of fellow Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund, who played the character in the Oscar-nominated 1971 film adaptation, starring alongside Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann. This time out, the cast is led by Lisa Carlehed (Until We Fall) and Gustav Skarsgård (Vikings), with The Bridge star Sofia Helin and Ullmann back to play a different character.
“It’s a classic told from a female perspective, which I love. I also love the character Ulrika, she’s a fighter but still vulnerable,” said Lo.
The singer has recently travelled out of the U.S. lockdown to Sweden ahead of filming, and she said the prospect of shooting an ambitious feature in the midst of a pandemic was not overly daunting. “Swedes are good at social distancing but they’ve clearly taken a different approach that I’m not sure would work in other places… I don’t really know how I feel but all the meetings/rehearsals so far around the film have been very careful and I trust the team to make sure we all follow the rules.”
“By getting to know the female characters and the relationships between Kristina, Ulrika and Judit, we get a new perspective in the understanding of The Emigrants journey, which I think will bring new dimensions to this well-known story,” added director Erik Poppe.
“We would not be doing the books justice if we didn’t have the ambition to make this project the major Swedish film of the decade,” said SF’s Fredrik Wikström Nicastro. “Kristina and Karl Oskar’s story will take audiences on a life-changing journey as we see the love and struggle they undergo when they embark together to start life over again in America, and Ulrika has a central role to play in telling this story. I am convinced that Tove Lo will be unforgettable in this role.”
Scandi powerhouse SF Studios has been around for more than a century, with credits including The Seventh Seal and Borg/McEnroe. In the pipeline are its first international feature film production Horizon Line, the Nordic co-production Margrete Queen Of The North and the Swedish original series Snabba Cash (Easy Money) for Netflix.
SF will also distribute The Emigrants in the Nordics and is aiming to release on December 25, 2021. REInvent, which is partnered with SF, is handling international sales.