TROLLHUNTER Production Notes
The government says there’s nothing to worry about – it’s just a problem with bears making trouble in the mountains and forests of Norway. But local hunters don’t believe it – and neither do a trio of college students who want to find out the truth. Armed with a video camera, they trail a mysterious “poacher,” who wants nothing to do with them. But their persistence lands them straight in the path of the objects of his pursuits: Trolls. They soon find themselves documenting every move of this grizzled, unlikely hero – The Troll Hunter – risking their lives to uncover the secrets of creatures only thought to exist in fairy tales.
From Norwegian writer/director André Øvredal comes TROLLHUNTER, a thrillingly entertaining creature feature filled with harrowing suspense – and the darkest of humor. Filmed in the stunningly beautiful countryside of Norway, from fjords to forests, TROLLHUNTER tells the story of a veteran hunter – and fed-up government employee – as he reveals the world of beasts known only to Norwegians in stories from their childhood. It’s not long before the students – and the audience – believe his unlikely tales.
TROLLHUNTER is distributed in the United States by Magnet Releasing, a division of Magnolia Pictures (THE HOST, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, MONSTERS). The film is available on Video On Demand and starts a limited theatrical run today. Check the Magnolia Pictures website for theater locations and dates.
The following press notes and images are courtesy of Magnet Releasing/ Magnolia Pictures.
TROLLHUNTER (Trolljegeren, 2010)
Directed by André Ovredal
Official Selection: 2011 Sundance Film Festival
103 min., 1.85, 35mm
Magnet Releasing presents TROLLHUNTER, a production from Filmkameratene AS, in cooperation with Filmfondet Fuzz and SF Norge AS. Written and directed by André Øvredal. Produced by John M. Jacobsen and Sveinung Golimo. Director of Photography is Hallvard Bræn, FNF. Starring Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck, and featuring Hans Morten Hansen, Robert Stoltenberg and Urmila Berg-Domaas. Film editor is Per Erik Larsen. Visual effects supervisor is Østein Larsen, visual effects and post producer is Marcus Brodersen. Sound design is by Baard Haugan Ingebretsen. Production design is by Martin Gant.
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details for a new movie.
Amid news reports of unusual occurrences in the mountains and forests of Norway, a trio of students from Volda College – Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) and Johanna (Johanna Mørck) – decide to investigate and cover the events for a school project. Toting along a video camera – operated by Kalle, with Johanna running sound and Thomas doing the reporting – they come upon one such scene where regulated/licensed hunters are told by a Wildlife Board official, Finn Haugen (Hans Morten Hansen), that the problems are all caused by bears, a dead example of which is found on the scene. But the hunters aren’t buying it – none of them killed the animal, and they suspect a rumored-of poacher, whom no one can find.
The students eventually catch up with the “poacher,” a quiet, weathered, middle-aged man named Hans (Otto Jespersen), who attempts to avoid them. But the persistent trio (“Do you think Michael Moore gave up after the first try?” says Thomas) follow him into the woods one night to find out what he’s up to. After a bright flash comes from over a hill, Hans comes running, shouting a single-word warning: “Troll!”
They run, but not before Thomas receives a swipe on the shoulder from… something. Regardless, they laugh off Hans’s persistent belief in such fairy tale creatures – that is, until a three-headed variety (a “Tosserlad”) comes out of the woods and is killed by the hunter with flashes of bright light, which turns the creature to stone. “Why hasn’t anyone ever heard about this?” Johanna asks. Hmm… good question.
Haugen – actually the head of Norway’s Troll Security Service – arrives shortly thereafter – incensed by Hans’s allowing the students to document his efforts, but is unable to stop them. A red van arrives, apparently offering the services of “Pioter’s Polish Paint Service.” Its goofy driver (Robert Stoltenberg) delivers the requisite bear carcass, stolen from a Polish zoo.
Hans finally agrees to allow the group to accompany him – and film his exploits – in order to expose the secret the government has been attempting to hide for years: the true existence of trolls. Hans, it turns out, is a former Navy Ranger who was hired years earlier as a troll exterminator. Burned out from countless years doing a thankless job, he explains the facts behind trolls: the varieties, what they eat, how one kills a troll, their love of chewing on tires, their intelligence level (“I once saw a troll try to eat its own tail.”). He chats over breakfast, while, like any government employee caught in a bureaucracy would have to do, he fills out the standard “Slayed Troll Form,” following the destruction of the Tosserlad.
The students are permitted to accompany him, as long as they follow his directions implicitly – including smearing “troll stench” all over their bodies, in order to blend in with the trolls. None of them can be a believing Christian, since – true to Norwegian mythology – the trolls can smell Christian blood, a fateful denial of which one of the trio offers.
After a discussion with a veterinarian, Hans pursues a beastly one-armed “Ringlefinch,” apparently suffering a disease, from which he is instructed to collect a blood sample. Donning an absurd “tin man” outfit (“God, I hate this”), he ensnares the creature on a bridge using sheep as bait, though not before taking a thrashing himself from the monster. He courageously goes after the Ringlefinch, again using a blinding light to kill it under the bridge, causing it to explode – the other form of death for trolls – its troll goo covering everything from the students to their camera lens.
They next go looking in a cave for a “Mountain King” troll, but find the cave empty. But a clan of the phallic-nosed creatures return, forcing the four hunters to hide until the bickering trolls fall asleep – though not before smothering the unfortunate observers with a blast of intestinal incense.
Hans and the students try to run for it, but the Kings awaken and make chase – and make a meal of cameraman Kalle. Shaken, the students decide the show must go on, and a new camera girl arrives from the school, aghast, of course, at their claims of the existence of trolls.
Her attitude changes after they hunt a giant “Jotnar” troll in the frigid, icy mountains. Hans lures the creature by playing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” over his loudspeaker, and, after a harrowing chase, eventually turns it to stone with a “lightning grenade,” before finally walking off into the blizzard. Finn soon arrives and takes the camera and its recordings from the students, who are never heard from again.
ABOUT THE TROLL HUNTER
“Fairy tales don’t always match reality.” –The Troll Hunter
Trolls. Aren’t they those cute little things in the gift shop with the wide eyes, big bellies and fluorescent Don King haircuts? In Norway, they are anything but. So when commercial director André Øvredal was searching for a subject for his first commercial feature film, he drew on a topic all Norwegians know about – trolls.
“I wanted to do a film about a Norwegian heroic movie character, but I wanted it to be grounded in something truly Norwegian,” he explains. “That meant placing the character in a world of trolls, but in a modern setting.”
Øvredal, like most Norwegians, grew up hearing fairy tales which included a mythology of trolls. “When I was very young, my grandparents used to read to me from a book written in the 1850s called The Fairy Tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe, half of which related to trolls,” he recalls. “They varied from cute little creatures to big monsters.”
It was the latter which inspired the writer/director to create TROLLHUNTER. The book was filled with drawings made by a Norwegian artist named Theodor Kittelsen. “They’re mostly of these monster-like trolls. Some are cozier and kinder, but some of them are really terrifying – more terrifying even than the trolls in our film.” It was that sense of trolls that Øvredal wanted to portray for audiences. “It’s a part of the troll mythology that hasn’t really been utilized since that book was published. Every time you see a troll cartoon or go into a gift shop, you never see those – you’ll see those cute, little, gnome-like things. I wanted to make a monster movie based around trolls.”
TROLLHUNTER (or Trolljegeren in Norwegian – pronounced “troll-YAY-geren”), though, doesn’t focus on trolls as much as it does on their hunter, Hans (along with his three student observers). “It’s really a portrait of the troll hunter, more than anything,” Øvredal says. The director drew inspiration from the 1992 Belgian film, MAN BITES DOG, which features a film crew following the exploits of a serial killer. “It has an extremely dark sense of humor,” something Øvredal and his cast brought to this film, as well.
Hans is a burned out government employee who spends his days dealing with ferocious, gigantic and immensely dangerous trolls, but much in the manner of an Animal Control Dept. officer who might be called upon to dispose of dead possums left on the roadway. He even, like so many American hunters driving about in their trucks, listens to American country music while hunting for trolls. Notes Øvredal, “That culture is very much the same in Norway, believe it or not. I mean, people love country and western music here. So it’s probably not so dissimilar in demographical music taste.”
But Hans has been at it too long. “He is really tired of his job,” Øvredal explains. “He actually has a spectacular job, but he doesn’t see it that way.”
Thomas, the student “host” of the videotaping, regularly points to Hans’s exploits as no less than heroic. “He’s a guy who regularly – and routinely – does amazing things and should be recognized for it, but never is,” Øvredal says. Hans goes about his business, like a depressed Eastwood or Wayne, simply taking care of business and doing the dirty work no one else will – or can – do.
Though it wasn’t his original plan, Øvredal decided to create the story using a mock-documentary style, similar to that seen in The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. In this case, the story is viewed through the lens of one of the students, Kalle, whose character is operating the video camera through which we observe the story unfolding. “The documentary approach actually came later – more out of the necessity of wanting to create something that should feel like a big budget effects film – but, unfortunately, without the big budget,” he laughs.
But unlike BLAIR WITCH which he notes had a rougher look to it, Øvredal sought to back away from the handheld look of that film, and to preserve more of the storytelling he wanted to portray, as well as capture the beautiful natural scenery and, of course, the trolls themselves.
“It’s structured exactly according to classic three-act structuring,” he explains, noting that the first troll isn’t revealed until the second act of the movie. “That transition is the first big transition of the film – to turn Hans and have him decide to allow the three students to accompany him. Then we needed to turn them, to believe what he knows.”
An important balance had to be struck between a “tag-along” documentary and a real movie. “We needed to make sure that it felt like a documentary, but it needed to drive like a motion picture. Following that, then the documentary madness could take care of the rest.”
The documentary approach is key to telling the story – and is perhaps the only way to give the audience the sense that trolls, in fact, exist. “It brings an incredible sense of realism,” the director explains. “We’re insisting that this is real. The trolls are part of a dirty reality.”
The insistence on reality, in fact, is what has made the film so incredibly popular since its release in October 2010 in its country of origin, Norway, where it is considered by fans as not simply a monster movie, but as a dark comedy. “These are figures from fairy tales being explained scientifically, in a matter-of-fact manner, as if they really exist. I mean, we’re explaining how a troll works, why they turn to stone, and the actors deliver it perfectly. You have to be completely dry about it – the flatter the delivery, the funnier it is. And the Norwegian audiences see this, and they laugh, because it’s so ridiculous to have all this explained in a film that pretends to be so serious.”
To play the serious role of Hans, Øvredal actually turned to Norway’s most famous comedian, Otto Jespersen. “What I wanted him to bring was his sense of humor. He’s well known for this kind of really crass, dark, negative sense of humor that everybody laughs at, because it’s just filled with sarcasm. I just thought that was perfect.” The director actually wrote the part for Jespersen. “Every draft of the script was written after he was cast, so it was written with him in mind.”
It is Jespersen’s flat delivery, in fact, that helps bring Hans so realistically to life – by having so little of it. “We discussed back and forth how much humor of his own he should add,” says the director. “And we decided it would be so much better to keep it completely flat. The flatter he talks about his job and the trolls and everything, the more ridiculous it is. He simply plays it extremely matter-of-fact, as his day-to-day job – killing monstrous trolls.”
For the three students, Øvredal and producer John M. Jacobsen decided to go with three relatively unknown young actors. The students represent three different character types. Thomas, played by standup comedian and improv actor Glenn Erland Tosterud, is the go-getter of the bunch, constantly pulling the others along, and, as a result, the one who drives the film, as well.
Kalle, who operates the students’ camera for the majority of the film, and played by Tomas Alf Larsen, constantly doubts the group’s plans and loaded with sarcastic barbs he tosses out from behind the lens. “I actually based him on a cameraman I worked with once,” Øvredal explains. “He was standing right next to me, constantly giving me these sarcastic comments about everything – that’s what Kalle does.”
The young actor had one particularly tough scene, in the cave with the Mountain Kings, where he was supposed to be immensely frightened, fearful that the trolls might discover a secret which makes him particularly vulnerable. “The whole scene took us about an hour and a half to shoot, and he had to maintain that look and that terror the whole time, which was pretty tough.”
Larsen had appeared in two previous Norwegian horror films, COLD PREY and its sequel, COLD PREY 2 – joined in the latter by Johanna Mørck, who plays Johanna in this film. “Johanna is really the most grounded person of the three,” the director explains. “She’s the one who brings sense into everything and keeps the other two guys’ feet touching the ground.”
Rounding out the cast are two additional popular Norwegian comics. Playing Finn, the government’s director of the Troll Security Service, is Hans Morten Hansen, who, according to Øvredal, is the Guinness World Record holder for longest standup comedy act ever. “I actually didn’t cast him because he was a standup comedian,” the director says. “He just has the kind of face that gives you the feeling that he’s a government bureaucrat.”
Another famous Norwegian comic, Robert Stoltenberg, plays the Polsk bjørnejeger, the lunk-headed Polish thief who delivers the wrong kind of bears to Finn Haugen’s troll scenes. “He’s an extremely experienced guy. He shows up on set, he’s in the clothes, we talk a little bit, and he does his thing. A very, very funny actor.”
Stoltenberg has the distinct pleasure of having the same last name as another VIP who has a cameo in the film – Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg. The latter is seen at the film’s end, giving a press conference – and mentioning trolls, appearing to acknowledge publicly the existence of the creatures.
The Prime Minister actually was filmed at a real press conference some months prior to completion of the film, talking about electric power lines, a hot political topic in 2010 for the politician. “When he mentions the word ‘troll,’ he’s actually talking about a huge oil field off the coast of Norway – called The Troll Field,” Øvredal explains. “We actually had another ending for the movie, but this was too good to pass up, so we bought the footage and used it accordingly,” even doing a set extension in post production to allow the insertion of Finn Haugen giving a surprised look at the Prime Minister’s apparent troll faux pas.
In keeping with the realistic documentary spirit of the film, the cast was called upon to do one very important thing: improvise the entire movie. “The whole film was improvised on set,” says Øvredal. “It was the only way I could really make a film that was going to have this level of documentary feeling. We couldn’t have acting; we couldn’t have direction. We couldn’t have a feeling that this had been planned.”
Øvredal, of course, had written a script, but, as he explains, “Before we shot each scene, we discussed the content and the wont of each character, and then I let the actors play it out with their own words. A lot of times, in fact, I specifically told them not to use the words that were in the script. Anything but.”
There were no rehearsals, per se. “It was mostly just discussing stuff,” the director says. “I don’t like directing acting; I like to direct characters.”
Otto Jespersen’s “breakfast speech,” where Hans tells the students of his background and the effects of killing trolls year after year was an especially poignant shoot. “We discussed Hans’s background for weeks, during shooting. So when we came to that scene, I just let him improvise the entire piece, with Glenn (“Thomas”) and I throwing him questions. It was one continuous 30 minute take, and we just took the best bits and put them together. Otto was brilliant.”
A later scene allows a further look inside the workaday Hans, as he describes a troll massacre he was once forced to perform. “On one hand, it’s ridiculous – again, he’s talking about trolls. But it was very important to me to have this one scene where we get to create depth for him. It’s a surprising twist to his relationship to the trolls – I think it’s something that even surprises Hans when he talks about it.”
The three young actors playing the students were given one particular direction that makes their portrayals all the more real onscreen. “We all agreed that they would simply use themselves as the character, instead of playing somebody they’re not.”
To assist the cast in reacting to non-existent trolls, whom would only later appear in post production visual effects, Øvredal acted as the beasts’ stand-ins. “We would put up markers to show them how high up the troll would be, where its face was, etc.,” he explains. “Then I would roar and yell and scream, and they would use their imagination as best as possible.”
So for the scene in which the Mountain Kings, uh… have a problem with gas, requiring the actors to portray an authentic reaction to the unbreatheable air, did the director produce the requisite effect on set himself? “No, that was, thankfully, pure imagination!” he laughs. “But I had to make a lot of sounds.”
The actors would vary their reactions within scenes from take to take, varying from simple to involved to outrage. This posed a substantial challenge to cinematographer Hallvard Bræn (pronounced “Brine”), who, being the film’s single camera operator, would have to bounce back and forth between actors improvising lines within single shots. No “coverage” cuts here – remember, this is real life.
Bræn, by the way, in a sense shared the role of Kalle with actor Tomas Alf Larsen. Øvredal’s longtime commercial director of photography, Bræn was called upon to portray the camera moves the student cinematographer would be making. “He was basically playing Kalle,” the director explains. “All the actors were always on set for the entire six week shoot. Tomas was standing right behind Hallvard, so when the other actors turned to Hallvard, my camera guy, they would get a response from Tomas, who was right behind his back.” Bræn was also involved in any rehearsals that did take place, since he was required to understand Kalle’s character and portray it with the camera.
As mentioned, Bræn had to be ready for anything, due to the improvisational nature of the shoot. If, for example, Johanna Mørck decided to react and dash off into the woods, with Kalle hot on her trail with the camera, it was Bræn – as Kalle’s “eye” – tailing after her. “It was a great challenge for him, but I know his range and his abilities – he did an amazing job.”
Though Øvredal and Bræn tested the popular RED One HD camera system, they opted instead for Panasonic’s AJ-HPX3700 Varicam. “It’s incredibly sensitive to light in dark settings, which we needed for the many night scenes we were shooting. The RED, which we also tested, has a larger image sensor, which gives it a shallower depth of field, and we needed Hallvard to be able to shift quickly without having to adjust his focus.” The RED also has a beautiful cinematic look – which was exactly opposite of what was required for the project. “We wanted it to look like these guys were filming with their student video camera.”
Filmed from September 21 thru October 31, 2009, the first three weeks were spent driving the 10-truck production caravan up and down the northwest coast of Norway, capturing the breathtakingly beautiful Norwegian landscape. “We would sometimes just stop and say, “Wow – we gotta shoot here! This is brilliant,” Øvredal describes. “We would either invent a scene there, or just flip through the script and pick one and say, ‘We can shoot that here.’”
Those scenes took place during the daytime, requiring only natural light to capture the beautiful nature of the Norwegian landscape. For the many nighttime sequences, however, the image needed to authentically portray a sense of the darkness in which the characters were entrenched.
“We had a 100,000 Watt lamp which the grips mounted on top of an old fire truck that was basically used as a very tall light stand,” Øvredal says. “We just raised it up as far in the sky as we could, and used it to light our night scenes.” This, along with the camera’s incredible sensitivity, was augmented occasionally by a fixture mounted directly to the camera – either a simple, dimmable 150 Watt camera lamp or small daylight 5600 K Litepanels. The narrow beam of those lights thus allowed the audience – once again, seeing from Kalle’s “camera” point of view – a “now you see it, now you don’t” experience of the trolls, whenever he is able to catch a glimpse of one with his camera in the dark.
To produce the huge flashes which light up the night as Hans hits the trolls with a bright light to exterminate them, the crew used a Luminys Lightning Strikes lighting instrument, known for its ability to reproduce the look of true lightning.
The entire film was shot in a smooth handheld fashion by Bræn. “We didn’t want to go too ‘BLAIR WITCH,’ which has a grainier, very rough handheld look, which wasn’t quite what we were going for.” One exception to the handheld style was the film’s single crane shot – the troll’s point of view as it lifts up Kalle and his camera before devouring him. “Our budget didn’t allow for us to have the shot facing the other way,” Øvredal chuckles, “but this is nonetheless effective. It’s quite creepy.”
As mentioned, the spectacular Norwegian landscape portrays itself in TROLLHUNTER. Locations included Vaatedalen (or “The Wet Valley”), for the film’s rainy sequences; Juten Heiman, home to Norway’s tallest mountains, and Sogn og Fjordane, site of Norway’s beautiful fjords and waterfalls. The town of Volda appears in the first six minutes of the film, representing the town where the students’ Volda College is located.
The icy final act – where the terrifying Jotnar is hunted down – was filmed in the mountains of Dovre, in realistically frigid weather. “That was a very hard shoot – we were out there freezing our butts off,” the director recalls. “And the cast were such amazing sports about it. We had actually misjudged the design of their costumes, not realizing how cold it was going to be. The crew stood just outside of frame, throwing warm clothes on them as soon as the shot was over.”
The weather affected the shoot in other ways. “We were driving that Rover without six or seven of us in the vehicle – sound people, camera assistants, the actors and myself.” Fortunately, Otto Jespersen was at the wheel – which he did for the entire production. “Thank God he used to own a car like that when he was younger. It was not an easy drive” on the icy mountain highways.
Blizzard-like conditions forced at least one complicated scene to be shot more than once. “The weather kept changing. We could have four different weather situations in one day. The day we shot the scene where Hans kills the Jotnar, we pretty much spent the whole day inside the cars, and then shot the whole scene in an hour and a half.”
As mentioned, Øvredal drew inspiration from the drawings of Theodor Kittelsen for the design of the film’s trolls, as well as on the common Norwegian troll mythology itself. “In our story, the trolls are based on animals, while they’re much more human in the fairy tales,” he explains. “In the fairy tales, they talk, they can be fooled into things, and they’re all in clothes. Here, they’re naked, and they’re basically animals with slightly more intelligence.”
Øvredal used four trolls in his story, providing four different set pieces for the film. The trolls were designed by two artists – Håvard S. Johansen and Ivar Rødningen. Johansen first created detailed pencil drawings, based on descriptions in the script and in the Asbjørnsen and Moe book, Rødningen then taking those drawings and creating working maquette models. A number of small Norwegian post production houses then used Rødningen’s maquettes to construct three of the trolls in digital 3D design space, the fourth – the Jotnar – being constructed directly from Johansen’s drawings by 3D designer Rune Spaans.
Key to the design of the trolls for Øvredal was a sense of a worn quality to each. The Jotnar (or Larde Jutne in Norwegian), though gigantic, is hunched, like an old man. And the ferocious Ringlefinch, whom Hans fights on the bridge, is missing an arm, apparently the result of some long-ago battle with another troll.
The three-headed Tosserlad’s heads are disturbingly grotesque – for the sole reason that the faces are based on those of truly deformed humans. “We looked at a lot of deformed human beings as a reference,” Øvredal explains. “We wanted it to have a humanesque quality, but not real.”
The Mountain Kings (or Dovre Gubbe in Norwegian) are based on the troll characters in Henrik Ibsen’s classic Norwegian play, “Peer Gynt,” known, among other things for its music by Edvard Grieg, especially “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”
These Mountain Kings – besides their digestion issues – have one unique characteristic in their appearance: noses that appear like parts of the human male anatomy. “I laughed when I first saw the design,” Øvredal recalls. “I was thinking, ‘God – that’s a penis.’ But after a while, we just thought it was funny. I don’t know if the designers did it on purpose, but it’s perfect for helping them look goofy.”
A great deal of effort went into the trolls’ behavior. Øvredal worked very closely with animation supervisor Nina Bergström to help develop the right approach. “Nina is quite amazing – she’s actually an actress by trade. She researched animals, how different animals behave. We researched movies together, monster movies, etc. And because of her acting background, she was really into character motivations. We wanted to express, through their behavior, through the animation, what the troll thinks. She saw them as I saw them – as characters, not monsters.”
Though mainly animals – of the big and stupid variety – they also have a sense of humanity. “That was very important,” Øvredal says. “They have about 10-15% humanity in them.”
Everything from the trolls’ facial expressions to their annoyed reactions to a simple scratch of the behind while standing around was carefully orchestrated. “I sat with the animators day and night, had daily meetings, for hours, going through the trolls’ movement and behavior. We worked on it quite a lot.”
The trolls – according to Hans – also like to chew on old tires. “That’s something our cinematographer, Hallvard, came up with – that there’s something from our culture they enjoy.”
Though the method for killing a troll basically comes from fairy tales – daylight – Øvredal took it a step further. “I researched it a little bit: what in daylight could kill a troll? I started reading about calcium production in the body, Vitamin D and that kind of stuff. And I came up with, ‘Okay, if they just get a UV-B ray, then you can explain, medically, why trolls can’t take daylight.” A quick flash from something akin to the bulbs of a tanning light, and you’ve either got yourself a stone troll, ready for demolition, or one that explodes for you from the inside out.
Once destroyed, as mentioned, Hans must complete a “Slayed Troll Form” – a prop which has turned out to be one of the more popular destinations on the film’s Facebook page. “That’s actually based on a form I found on the internet while doing research on animal behavior,” Øvredal says. “It’s actually a form you have to fill out when you’ve shot a bear. We just adjusted it to have troll information.” The person completing the form must provide such information as height, width, length of the troll’s nose, how many heads, troll race, whether it turned to stone or burst when killed – you know, the usual stuff.
The sounds made by the different trolls once again required a careful balance between humanity and animal. “That mix was tricky to get right,” the director says. “I wanted to have a feeling of language in their sounds, however rudimental.” The three-headed Tosserlad can even be heard arguing with itself. “It’s kind of a schizophrenic troll, because it has three heads. When it passes Kalle in the forest, you can hear them chattering between each other, arguing. So they needed to have a very, very simple language. You have to humanize them, and make them into animals. You can’t think of them as monsters.”
It wasn’t long before he and sound designer Baard Haugan Ingebretsen figured out that no animals could produce such sounds, eventually bringing in voice actor Paul Hartmann to create the various troll voices. “All the trolls in the film are voiced by one guy,” Øvredal says. “We sat for days with him, going through each scene, moment by moment. I directed him like he was saying stuff, acting it out.” Hartmann voiced countless different types of sounds, adding layer upon layer for each troll.
Ingebretsen was also given the duty of creating the sound of the overpowering troll farts produced by the Mountain Kings. “I remember telling Baard, ‘that fart needs to be 10 times as big as anyone can imagine – and lengthy – or else it’s not gonna work.’ It had to cut right through the middle of that situation, breathing in this air that is just unbreathable. The joke would never be funny unless it was completely over the top in every direction. And it is. It’s ridiculous.”
TROLLHUNTER brings to life a careful balance of humanity and animal sense – both in its title character and in his prey. Says Øvredal, “He’s a true Norwegian hero – even if he doesn’t know it.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
ANDRE OVREDAL – Director / Writer
André Ovredal (born 1973) has made a name for himself as one of Norway’s most successful directors of commercials with almost two hundred commercials for clients in Norway and abroad to his credit. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooks Institute of Photography and Motion Pictures in California where he co-directed the first feature in the history of the school. This thriller FUTURE MURDER was released as one of 80 first-time films in a special DVD series in the USA, and became the second biggest seller in the series. It was also shown at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 1997 and released in several countries. Since then he has focused on his commercials career, as well as directing award winning short films. He has participated in the acclaimed course Method Acting for Directors held in Oslo by New York University drama teacher Marketa Kimbrell.
TROLLHUNTER is Ovredal’s first feature film.
JOHN M. JACOBSON – Executive Producer
John M. Jacobson entered the Norwegian film industry in 1959. He has worked in exhibition, distribution and production producing more than 20 films since 1983. Among his productions are:
MAX MANUS (2008) – the biggest Norwegian box office hit in 30 years.
ONLY CLOUDS MOVE THE STARS (1998) – the most nationally and internationally honored Norwegian film of all times.
PATHFINDER (1987) – nominated for Academy Awards as Best Foreign Film
ELIAS – THE LITTLE RESCUE BOAT (2005-2009) – animated television series for children which was nominated for an International Emmy.
Jacobson was named Commander of the order of St. Olav by the King of Norway for his work on behalf of Norwegian Film industry, and was awarded an honorary AMANDA (Norway’s Oscar equivalent).
Jacobson is currently President of AGICOA in Geneva –an international rightholder’s organization for film and television producers. Jacobson was also Chairman of the Norwegian Film and Television Producers Association for 15 years.
SVEINUNG GOLIMO – Producer
Sveinung Golimo (Born 1975) has been working for Filmkameratene AS since 2001 as a producer. He is a graduate of the Norwegian Film School. Since his first film THE WOMAN OF MY LIFE (2003) he has been a credited producer on every film from Filmkameratene AS. They include several box-office blockbusters like TROLLHUNTER, MAX MANUS and the animated TV-series and two features about ELIAS – THE LITTLE RESCUE BOAT which is shown in more than 100 countries around the world.
Golimo is responsible for day-to-day management of Filmkameratene AS. He has acted as chairman of The Norwegian Film and Television Producers Association since 2006.
FILMKAMERATENE AS – Production Company
Filmkameratene AS is Norway’s most successful film production company. It has been active since 1986 and consistently delivered box office hits to Norwegian cinemas. The company is also known for a unique series of “firsts” in Norwegian film. It was the first company to make a film in the indigenous Sami language, the first to co-produce with a Hollywood Studio, the first to get a film remade in Hollywood, the first to make a full length animated feature, the first to produce a CGI special effects movie and the first to produce a 3D animated television series for children. Filmkameratene’s latest film before TROLLHUNTER was the World War II drama MAX MANUS, the biggest box office success in 30 years in Norway.
Filmkameratene has won a number of national and international awards and been nominated both for an Oscar and an International Emmy.
ABOUT THE CAST
OTTO JESPERSEN (The Trollhunter)
Otto Jespersen is a comedian, actor and satirist known for his participation in several well-known comedy shows on television and radio in Norway. His monologues in the TV show THE THURSDAY CLUB and some of his stunts from shows in the 90’s were considered extremely controversial.
He has had three popular scene show and many TV series. He was also the Norwegian voice of Manfred in ICE AGE 1, 2 and 3.
GLENN ERLAND TOSTERUD (Thomas Schøien)
Glenn Erland Tosterud is an actor, director and comedian. He played in the Norwegian film APPELSINPIKEN a.k.a.THE ORANGE GIRL based on the book by Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World).
Glenn Erland has directed several short films. He was nominated for an Amanda (Norway’s Oscar equivalent) for Best Short Film; SCENE FROM A RELATIONSHIP: #2, in 2010. He is also a stand-up comedian and runs the production company Revolt Film AS.
TOMAS ALF LARSEN (Kalle Stensvik)
Tomas Alf Larsen had one of the leading roles in the Norwegian movie FRITTVILT a.k.a. COLD PREY in 2006. He has written and directed the short film GRATULERER a.k.a CONGRATULATIONS, which was shown at the Haugesund Film Festival Autumn.
JOHANNA MØRCK (Johanna Pedersen)
Johanna Mørck is educated as an actor from GITIS Scandinavia Academy. She has had several important parts on the Norwegian stage and acted in the FRITTVILT 2 a.k.a COLD PREY 2 before she got the part of Johanna in TROLLHUNTER.
URMILA BERG-DOMAAS (Malika Malay-Olsen)
Urmila is a graduate of University of North Dakota with a Bachelor in Acting. She has mostly acted on the stage and on TV in Norway. In 2010 she participated in the annual staging of the story of Viking King Olav the Holy, which is performed where the event actually took place a thousand years ago.