Death of an 18th-Century Rock Star

NEW PRODUCTION. Henrik Ruben Genz is currently shooting "Tordenskiold," a drama about one of the most famous naval heroes in Scandinavian history, with Jakob Oftebro embodying the 18th-century nobleman.

Henrik Ruben Genz, known for a string of darkly humorous dramas, including Karlovy Vary winner "Terribly Happy" (2008), has now turned his lense on the Danish-Norwegian nobleman Tordenskiold (literally, Thundershield) who won fame for his daring exploits in the Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy. Back in those days there was a union between Denmark and Norway that lasted until 1814 when Norway was ceded to Sweden after the Danish-Norwegian defeat in the Napoleonic Wars.

"Tordenskiold" is set in the year 1720. The Great Northern War is over and Vice-Admiral Tordenskiold, who is only 29, doesn't know what to do with his life. Eventually his trusted valet, Kold, persuades him to go to England to search for a bride, but soon the journey turns into a colourful odyssey that takes Tordenskiold from Copenhagen to south of the Danish-German border.

A Restless Hero

"Tordenskiold is a towering legend in our shared Danish-Norwegian history," director Henrik Ruben Genz says. "One thing about Tordenskiold always piqued my curiosity – his death! Tordenskiold dies at age 30 in an apparently accidental and pathetic duel. Why did this great hero end his days so ignominiously?"

Genz enlisted the Norwegian novelist Erlend Loe to help him get to the real person beneath the dust and veneer of history.

"Our story focuses on Tordenskiold as a restless, rootless hero whose phenomenal fame is akin to that of a modern-day rock star. In strange ways Tordenskiold reminds us of the likes of Sid Vicious and Jim Morrison, or a movie legend like James Dean. What is it that kills such young and eccentric dreamers?" Genz says.

Popular Oftebro in the Lead

Jakob Oftebro and Martin Buch play the odd couple Tordenskiold and Kold. Norwegian-born Oftebro had his big international breakthrough with Norway's Oscar-nominated drama "Kon-Tiki" (2012) and is on the cast of a string of Danish films this year, including Cannes participant "When Animals Dream" (2014).

Martin Buch has worked mostly in theatre and television and has appeared in supporting roles in films such as Martin Pieter Zandvliet's "A Funny Man" and Susanne Bier's "In a Better World".

"Tordenskiold" is produced by Lars Bredo Rahbek for Nimbus Film with support from the Danish Film Institute. Release is scheduled for January 2016.