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Harlin goes home for ‘Mannerheim’

Director returns to Finland for heroic biopic

STOCKHOLM — Helmer Renny Harlin is returning to his native Finland to make “Mannerheim,” his long-gestating biopic about the Finnish national hero.

Pic will be produced by Solar Film’s managing director Markus Selin, Harlin’s long-time collaborator and friend, who says he is in the final stages of financing the e10 million ($14.5 million) co-production, which will be shot in Finnish, Swedish, Russian, English and Polish. Script is by actor-scribe Heiki Vihinen.

Filming on Harlin’s first pic on home turf in 20 years is due to start early in 2008. It will be distributed in Finland by Nordisk in 2009.

Pic is about Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, the military and political leader who was Finland’s sixth president from 1944 to 1946. Mannerheim started his military career in the Imperial Russian army, becoming the leader of Finnish government forces in the civil war of 1918 and during the World War II. Pic will cover his life from the early 1900s to the 1950s.

The project is timely since Finland will celebrate the 140th anniversary of Mannerheim’s birth in June.

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