Cineuropa ræðir við Hannes Þór Halldórsson leikstjóra Leynilöggu, sem sýnd er á Locarno hátíðinni.
Frá vef Cineuropa:
The goalkeeper on Iceland’s national football team, Hannes Þór Halldòrsson, is also a filmmaker and has presented his first feature in competition at the Locarno Film Festival. Cop Secret [+] is an amusing commentary on major action-film productions, such as the Fast & Furious series, offering several layers of complexity and an intelligent way of dealing with important social issues. We talked to the director about the concept of the film, the production process and the challenge of juggling football with filmmaking.
Cineuropa: The film is a satirical commentary on typically big-budget action-film productions, and it also manages to look like them. What was the actual budget you had at your disposal?
Hannes Þór Halldòrsson: I am happy you say so, since the budget was very small. I made an advert lasting 30 seconds that had the same budget! And I calculated that we had something like 0.03% of the budget of Fast & Furious 9. We didn’t get the full grant that you can get in Iceland for feature films, but actually, I was happy that we got at least half of it, since normally only more artistic films get funding. The movie is pretty unique for the Icelandic market. We had only 20 shooting days and had to be very creative with the budget we had. For example, we didn’t have enough money for sophisticated lighting and had to shoot using daylight. But I wanted to make the film look as big as possible with the means we had. The score helped a lot there – I asked the composer to elevate the film with the sound.
Why did you want to make this particular kind of film?
Actually, it’s the kind of film I like to watch myself, and so it’s the genre I felt the most comfortable with. The two main actors are comedians I have known for a long time. This was the kind of movie that would naturally emerge from that collaboration.
How did you develop the concept for the film?
In the editing, I wanted to bring to life the link between the past and the present. The movie should feel like you are arriving on a different planet, as the title suggests. I immediately thought of fantastic films such as King Kong or Planet of the Apes when I was working on the material. I wanted to recreate this feeling.
When did the topic of homosexuality come into the story?
I wanted the characters to be as interesting as possible. I started with the concept of a comedy sketch, and while writing the script, I felt we had to give a soul to it, some substance and a special twist. It had to be, first and foremost, a funny movie, but I was looking forward to being able to also convey something positive through it and to shed light on important issues. I tried to treat the issue with as much respect as possible.
Why did you choose to feature the female football team? What is its status in Iceland?
Choosing the male football team might have been the obvious choice, since I am part of it and I know everyone. But there is already so much testosterone in the film, and I felt we had to balance it out with as many strong female characters as possible. Female football is actually quite popular in Iceland. The attendance levels are not yet as high as they are for the male team, but they’re constantly rising. So, the fully packed stadium we show is not yet realistic, but we are getting there.
Is there a real conflict between Reykjavik and Gardabaer?
No, it’s completely invented. Like a lot of other details, it’s something that only people in Iceland will understand the irony of. In the first place, we never thought the film would be travelling abroad. We are very happy to be getting reactions, though, and to see if the film works outside Iceland as well.
How did you manage to juggle your obligations as a football player with making the film?
It was very difficult. Football is my main profession, and I have three to four hours of training every day, plus the games at weekends. We had to do the shooting after the main season, and I had to take a few days off as well. Football is very inflexible. Moreover, the schedule was very unpredictable during the pandemic, which made everything even more difficult.
How did your team mates react to your film project?
They found it funny – I would always arrive at training sessions at the last minute, but they were impressed by how fast I was able to change clothes. The coach doesn’t know that my career on the side is this big, though. He might be surprised once the film comes out in Iceland!