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‘A ‘Fanny and Alexander’ on speed’: Swedish cult adaptation in progress

Wild Bunch has invested in Mikael Marcimain's prestige production

Mikael Marcimain’s $15 million-budgeted period piece “Gentlemen,” produced by B-Reel and repped by Wild Bunch, is one of Sweden’s most ambitious projects to date. After local distributor Svensk published a promo in December, Nordic Film Market in Goteborg is first to reveal clips. The romantic thriller set in an atmospheric post-war era of Sweden will play as both a feature film and four part TV series for Swedish Television, co-producer and main financier. Whereas the feature follows Klas Ostergren’s bestselling cult novel “Gentlemen” from 1980, the mini skein is also based on Ostergren’s follow-up “Gangsters.” Ostergren has also penned the script.

After a standard 2013, Swedish film heads towards a much more interesting 2014. Whereas new titles of Roy Andersson and Ruben Ostlund seem apt for Cannes, Marcimain’s “Gentlemen” will be ready in time for Venice and Toronto. Helmer’s “Call Girl” won the debut feature award in Toronto in 2012. Wild Bunch, unusual sales agent of a Scandi pic, has also invested in “Gentlemen,” a fact that producer Mattias Norhborg at B-Reel takes as an indication of the project’s international potential. “This is going to be a great film experience, emotionally and cinematographically,” Nohrborg said to Variety.

“Even if the novel, although translated into many languages, is mostly known in Sweden, ‘Gentlemen’ has a genuine international drive and ambition,” said Fredrik Heinig, producer and CEO at the Swedish shingle. “That is also Micke’s (Marcimain) ambition and that’s how we work at B-Reel.” True to the epic novel, pic will move back and fourth in time, between several epochs from the direct post-war era and 1979, film’s presence. Photography by Jallo Faber (“Pioneer”) combines color with black and white.

“Micke has a great eye for details, and his sense of time is outstanding,” Mattias Nohrborg said on Marcimain, merits helmer has previously demonstrated in acclaimed mini TV series as “The Laser Man” and “How Soon Is Now?”

“Gentlemen” fronts four strong characters played by talented Swedish thesps: David Dencik, Ruth Vega Fernandez, David Fukamachi Regnfors and Sverrir Gudnason, the latter receiving a Guldbagge Award for his role in “Monica Z” at the Swedish film gala recently. Mattias Nohrborg described David Dencik’s charismatic lead Henry Morgan, a worldly working class hero, as “a good Mr Ripley.”

“Gentlemen” is mainly taking place in Sweden. But it offers a valid picture of the entire European modernization, when people are started to get marginalized and left out of society,” said Mattias Nohrborg. “It has it all: romantics, mystery, politics and humor,” said Fredrik Heinig. “It feels like a film that can both divide and unite generations. A ‘Fanny and Alexander’ on speed, a fairy-tale for the 21th century.”

Svensk is handling local distribution, set for the end of 2014. A year after that the skein will unspool in Swedish Television. Wild Bunch will announce further material in Cannes.

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