When Canadian director Sturla Gunnarsson and his cast and crew, including Gerard Butler and Stellan Skarsgård, set upon Iceland to film Beowulf & Grendel in 2004, they expected the usual complications involved in making a major motion picture.
What they encountered was a ruthless Icelandic winter on a foreboding landscape, financing complications and a bizarre run of bad luck that led some of them to believe they were in an epic battle with the Norse gods themselves. Filmmaker Jon Gustafsson was along for the ride. Hired to play one of Beowulf’s warriors, he’s one set with his camera as the crew battles hurricane force winds and he’s in the backroom as the producers scramble to shore up a collapsing deal, creating an intimate portrait of filmmakers fighting the odds in pursuit of a vision.
I really enjoyed Wrath of Gods. Not only is it good value for money (it has hours and hours of stuff to watch), but watching all the problems that they had making the film Beowulf & Grendel was bizarrely interesting, as was seeing what kind of sort of “normal” things go on behind the scenes. Like stuff to do with cashflow and accounting and health and safety and mud. And it make makes me want to see Beowulf & Grendel even more, because the little bits you get to see to do with the film look wicked cool.
Plus Iceland is a beautiful place.