Saga Shop Winter 2019

22 Icelandair Stopover BY LISA GAIL SHANNEN. PHOTOS COURTESY OF PEGASUS PICTURES. “You get Mads for your project but cover his glorious face?” bemoans YouTube commenter clouseaux 1141 about the latest teaser trailer of Joe Penna’s new survival thriller, Arctic . It’s not just Mads Mikkelsen’s eyes peeping out from between his hat and scarf tantalizing the viewers, though—the scenery is spectacular: Bleak, barren and impossibly beautiful. The film was mainly shot in the southern Central Highlands of Iceland’s interior, a howling wilderness of otherworldly vistas in all seasons of the year, but, come wintertime, a convincing stand-in for any remote corner of the Arctic. Many directors choose to film in this extreme part of Iceland exactly because it provides a realistic setting, and while the conditions are still more favorable than the true Arctic, the Icelandic interior has always been a brutal and uninhabitable place. In ages past, outlaws were sent there as a punishment; most of them perished. Penna’s thriller, starring Mads Mikkelsen as the sole survivor of a plane crash, features settings in the Bláfjöll mountains and Nesja- vellir geothermal fields, both close to Reykja- vík. However, the primary location was filmed by Fellsendavatn lake, just off the ancient Sprengisandur route through the Highlands (not far from Landmannalaugar). It’s a popular fishing area in the summer, but once frozen over and surrounded by a healthy supply of snow and ice it becomes a director’s winter dream. Einar Sveinn Þórðarson from Pegasus Pictures, who worked on the production, says, “We would normally go to a glacier to have guaranteed snow and ice, but the budget was limited, so we looked for other solutions. The area had to look remote, but we also needed it to be close enough to a road to be able to transport the plane and helicopter to the sites. The area around Fellsendavatn lake offered great scenery and the snow stays there longer than in lower areas, so we ended up picking that.” The challenges were mainly weather-related, with lots of snow clearing needed for getting equipment in and out, but, “Overall those locations really worked well and the end result speaks for itself.” Arctic premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and is set to be released in theaters in 2019. MY LOCATION: A DIRECTOR’S WINTER DREAM Filming Arctic in the desolate heart of Iceland. Mads Mikkelsen looking out over the frozen Fellsendavatn lake. Mads with director Joe Penna. n Bláfjöll n Nesjavellir n Sprengisandur

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