Explorer tale follows Thor Heyerdahl's epic trip

Norwegian thesp Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen (“Max Manus,” “Troubled Water”) is set to topline “Kon-Tiki,” about Thor Heyerdahl’s epic seafaring voyage in 1947.

The pic, produced by Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co. and Aage Aaberge on behalf of Nordisk Film, follows the Norwegian explorer’s 4,300-mile expedition on a fragile raft from Peru to Polynesia, proving that ancient tribes could have made the trip.

“Max Manus” helmers Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg will direct, while Petter Skavlan has penned the script. Hagen plays Heyerdahl with Gustaf Skarsgard, son of Stellen Skarsgard, as a crew member

Nordisk Film has Scandi distribution rights while Thomas’ HanWay Films is handling international sales.

“Kon-Tiki” begins lensing on May 23 and will shoot in Norway, Malta, Thailand, Bulgaria and New York.

The film is backed by the Norwegian Film Institute and the Stenersen family, publishers of many of Heyerdahl’s tomes including “Kon-Tiki,” which has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide in 67 languages.

The project, budgeted in the low-to-mid seven-figure range, has been a long-gestating one for Thomas.

Aberge said, “The Kon-Tiki expedition is a story that never gets old. One man and his dream proved to the world that nothing is impossible. Although a true story, the dreamlike nature of this historic event makes it a perfect fit for the bigscreen.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more